If you’re a freelancer, however new or old, and you’re not on Twitter, then… well frankly, you should be. Where have you been?

If you’ve just answered, “Humph! I’ll tell you where I’ve been! Working hard and growing my freelance reputation, not gossiping about celebrities or going cross-eyed staring at that infernal contraption all day, that’s where I’ve been!” then… actually, there’s no hope for you. Why are you even reading this article, when it’s on the Big Bad Web?

However, if you’re quite computer savvy, but just not sure how Twitter can help your business (or if the results are worth your time), then pull up a chair, because the results certainly are worth your time. Having a presence on Twitter means that:

Existing Customers Can Share Their Positive Experiences

If your product had made someone’s day or your service has been second to none, hopefully your customers will tweet about it. Their followers will see their tweets and may retweet or favourite them, or even start a discussion with your satisfied customer about why they’re so happy with you. With luck, their followers may retweet, and on it goesTa-da! Word-of-mouth marketing, with its inherent ‘trustworthiness,’ but now powered by modern technology!

Existing Customers Can Share Their Negative Experiences

I know, I know. This sounds like a bad thing. And if they name you in a tweet rather than tweet you directly, their followers will see their whinge too. But how you deal with negative feedback will say a lot about your business; this could be your chance to publicly deliver some fantastic customer service, quieting the whinge or maybe even turning it into approval and gratitude! If nothing else, the instant feedback you get from Twitter can flag up areas where you need to improve. Try to see it as an opportunity.

Twitter will feed you breaking news and hot trends

Often, news breaks on Twitter before it breaks anywhere else, because it’s instantly relayed by people ‘on the ground’, who may be onlookers rather than directly involved – meaning they have time to tweet about it! You can also see trending topics at a glance and get an idea of what people are discussing, which gives you the chance to post a tweet that (tastefully) connects a trending topic to your business.

It gives your customers an easy and accessible point of contact

85% of Twitter users say they feel more connected to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) after following them, according to the “Small Business Customer Insights Study” carried out by Twitter and DB5 last year, and it’s not surprising. Contacting a business through Twitter is less formal than going through ‘customer service’ (which is probably you!), and you may be able to quickly resolve issues or add value to their experience with helpful tips, the promise of a replacement for a faulty product, or product suggestions etc. – all things that can do wonders for your reputation.

Twitter also allows you to give customers a look ‘behind the curtain,’ seeing what goes on in your business and giving interactions a personal touch. Posting a picture of a rainbow you can see from your office window shows customers the human face of your business – and can sometimes be a more effective marketing tool than those half price promotions! Talking of which…

You can offer discount codes and highlight promotions and sales

Making these offers time-limited and exclusive to Twitter will make followers feel they’re important; they’re in a special privileged club. That means they’re more likely to buy.

You can check out the competition

What are their customers saying? How’s their service, and what special offers are they advertising? If they’ve failed to deliver and left a customer in the lurch, could you swoop in and be the superhero that can deliver a bouncy castle tomorrow, or supply those vegetarian marshmallows for your son’s party? (Personal experience, that last one. It’s surprisingly difficult to source vegetarian marshmallows).

You can be ‘present’ on Twitter outside the 9 to 5

Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you should put in a full day’s work and then spend your evening chatting up potential customers on Twitter. You can schedule tweets to post at a later time or at regular intervals, meaning you can be ‘present’ on Twitter outside the 9-5 without being there – it just means you’re not around for the more personal, rapid interactions. Don’t bother too much about posting too late at night, though; stats suggest Twitter goes relatively quiet after 8pm.

Twitter For Business

So far, so free. But if you decide to spend money promoting your business on Twitter, there are several ways to do so. If you’re at that stage, visit https://business.twitter.com/.

So go forth and engage with your customers, both present and potential! Dazzle them. Laugh with them. Use witty hashtags! Tweet and retweet links to content that’s likely to interest them, and most of all, make them ‘Remember Your Name’. It worked for the kids in Fame


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