I had read the book Social Media Marketing for Dummies on my iPad in the March/April 2010 timeframe…and believe me, I was the quintessential Dummy when it came to social media. I didn’t even have a Facebook profile at that time. See, I had written a children’s book that was scheduled to be released the following year (April 2011) and was in the process of researching my options for a marketing plan. I have a full-time career in corporate America and would not be able to go from school to school doing readings during the day to promote my book. I needed to find another way to get the word out and after reading numerous blogs on book marketing I decided I would use social media as my main platform.
It started off with a personal profile on Facebook so I could get my feet wet, followed shortly by a fan page. (As a positive consequence of getting on Facebook, I ended up reconnecting with many friends from high school and college with whom I have developed some pretty close relationships!) After some time had passed, I felt pretty adept with Facebook and decided to venture into the wonderful world of Twitterland…it was a GREAT decision!
Whether you are a full time working mother (the traditional definition) or a work at home mom (WAHM) who is trying to deal with balancing life, work, a significant other, and the kids, Twitter can be a huge help in marketing your business. BUT…and I mean a big, huge, ginormous BUT here, if you don’t know how to manage it properly, you can easily get lost and it will take over your life. Did you hear that? WARNING…getting lost in Twitterland is easily done and it can end up dominating your already limited time!
The best way to start any journey is to have it well mapped out; something I didn’t do, the result of which was me wandering aimlessly in what I erroneously believed to be the right direction. Well, I’m glad to report that thanks to a few relatively simple course adjustments that I am now traveling down the right road. Having been down this path, I’m going to share with you a few tips that will hopefully help you to steer clear of the potholes, speedbumps, and wrong turns…ultimately saving you a lot of wasted time and energy that could be better spent on other activities.
1. Identify Your Niche
Most products out there today, in particular those that are being marketed by mompreneurs, have a niche customer base to which they would appeal. I know, right now many of you are saying, “That’s not my situation. My product appeals to a broad range of individuals. Anyone would want to buy it.”
Reality check here ladies…perhaps anyone might want to buy it but keep in mind, you are a working mother and have very limited time to devote to marketing your business so even if that is the case (and I might even challenge you on that), you need to get more specific. How? Ask yourself this question, “Who needs my product the most or who would experience the greatest benefit by having my product?” In my case, the answer is working parents who have children between the ages of 4 and 8. That part I knew right off the bat…easy enough, right?
The next step is to ask what the best way is to reach that audience. I decided that I would cast my net wide to try to find as many ways possible to reach that potential audience. Good idea, right? WRONG! Identify two, maybe three target areas where you will spend your time initially. Don’t completely forget about the other potential options but start somewhere small and when you get some traction there, that’s when you can move on and expand your efforts. Read the next tip to find out how to do that effectively.
2. Streamline Your Target Audience
To do this, I suggest you sign up for a service such as Hootsuite which in addition to allowing you to monitor and post to multiple social networks via a dashboard, also lets you create up to 10 streams (mentions, sent tweets, keywords etc.). (By the way, Hootsuite was recommended to me by one of my long lost friends, April Bowers, with whom I reconnected thanks to getting on Facebook!) Think about your two or three target audiences and what words or phrases you think might attract them to a tweet. Mine were working mothers, working parents, daycare, and pre-school. Next, set up a stream by keyword (it’s really easy to do). Basically, it’s like performing a Google search but just within Twitter. Spend some time reading through to see if the content being tweeted by those using your keyword fits something your niche target group would be interested in. If not, move on to another keyword or phrase.
3. The Ultimate Twitter Tip: The 5 Minute Twitter Check
As busy working moms (yes, I mean you too WAHMs!), I’m sure you’ve all heard of The Five Minute Face. In addition to being a book, it’s also a readily used phrase to describe a quick, bare bones make-up routine for when you have even less time than usual.
Well, when your day is crazier than normal, you don’t have to ignore Twitter completely either. Remember the streams you created above? Well, it’s time to open them up and change a couple of things. For those individuals whose tweets interest you, pay attention to what hashtags they use in their tweets. Hashtags are something that I didn’t really begin to understand until just recently. You recognize them because they begin with #. If someone is going to tweet something about a specific topic, then they will use # followed immediately by the key word. For my target audience, I found that the hashtags #workmom and #parenting were being used a lot.
Once you’ve identified those key hashtags, replace your previous keyword or key phrase streams with streams using those hashtags. On a regular day I will peruse my “home feed” which will include the tweets of all of the people I am following. On my days that are crazy, I go right to those streams because at a bare minimum, I want to make sure that I am keeping up with those individuals whose interests most closely align with mine. One word of caution here is not to completely ignore your “home feed” altogether as there are also many people out there that don’t use hashtags. This tip is simply for those days when the choice is either a little something or nothing.
4. Follow, Interact, and Engage…GENUINELY!!
Start to follow people and interact with them…and by all means people, be genuine! Do not, do not, do not just start spamming everyone that follows you back with information about your product. Wait…did I mention to not start spamming everyone about your product or business? Just checking.
Basically, treat your followers and those that you follow with the same level of courtesy and respect as if you were meeting them face to face. Think about it this way, the first or second time that you meet someone the first words out of your mouth aren’t going to be a sales pitch. You need to develop a relationship with that person which in many cases, will lead to him/her naturally inquiring about your business/product.
Click through tweets and read the stories that interest you. Comment on the blogs of those you follow with helpful information. Reply back to tweets of particular importance. Of course, make sure to re-tweet tweets that have meaning for you. That’s how others will get to know you better, even if it is only 140 characters at a time. You’d be surprised at the relationships you can develop with such limits. Perhaps it’s because with only 140 characters, you’re able to really get at the core of who a person is based on what he/she chooses to share there. Once you have established yourself, feel free to send a tweet here or there about a special offer or where your product can be found. Those tweets, however, should be the vast minority of what you send.
Hopefully those four tips above will help to reduce the amount of time it takes for you to get your feet under you with Twitter marketing. I promise that if you follow the above advice, you’ll knock at least a few weeks off of the time it takes before you start seeing a positive impact by marketing your small business on Twitter.
Jennifer Pereyra has sought balance between her career and home life. While working as a Regional Account Manager for one of the largest manufacturers of healthcare products worldwide she also serves on the Board of Directors for the New Jersey chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives. Her mompreneurial spirit drove her to seek publication of her recently released children’s book, Mommy & Daddy Work to Make Some Dough in order to help the children of working parents understand why their parents must work each day. As a working mother who has a multitude of experience working in an office, working from home, and surviving corporate relocations, she also enjoys speaking with other working mothers about the challenges they face while attempting to “do it all”. Jennifer has been quoted in numerous articles of varying topics ranging from issues facing working women to raising bilingual children. In addition, Jennifer was recently featured on ABC6 Philadelphia news. Jennifer and her husband Ignacio currently reside in Columbus, NJ where they are raising their two young daughters.