Small businesses need to communicate their holiday hours. Social media makes it quick and easy. So why do so many business owners neglect this?
Without fail, I always find myself with a restaurant conundrum every Easter long weekend. I've shown up at places which boost that they never close only to find out that they do in fact shut down. I've turned up to Happy Hours and found the place hopping (not unlike the Easter bunny itself I suppose...) only to learn that their usual menu has been replaced, or that the Happy Hour specials have been cancelled, or that the only available option is a buffet. And I've even stayed away from restaurants, convinced that I won't be able to find breakfast early on the morning of Easter Sunday, only to learn that they were indeed open the whole time.
What do all these frustrating scenarios have in common? They all could have been prevented with social media.
There's more to these parties than snacks and drinks...
Have you ever seen a flurry of activity around a certain word or phrase on Twitter? The source may be a Twitter party. These activities generate buzz, reflect trends, and present huge opportunities for small businesses - if you know what you're doing.
Twitter parties and Twitter chats are not the same thing, despite the names being used interchangeably. Twitter chats are fun, informal opportunities for building social media relationships and small businesses absolutely should participate. These regularly occurring, mostly non-commercial conversations bring together participants from all backgrounds and embrace variations of a reoccurring theme each week.
Twitter parties are one time or periodic events that are almost always sponsored by a brand, business, or organization. Hosts are hired, prizes are offered, and, while the tone can range from casual and fun to serious and educational, there is almost always an element of self-promotion for the sponsor.
I think Twitter parties can be an excellent part of a social media strategy - if done right. Sadly, most parties rarely offer the desired ROI or results. If you're thinking about hosting a Twitter party, here's how to reap your desired rewards and have a great time as well!
Why Should Businesses and Brands Take Part in Twitter Chats?
When people ask me what my number one tip is for social media success, I always say the same thing: You can’t be on social media and not be social. And for brands and businesses, this is even more important. Posting nothing but sales pitches is the virtual equivalent of having an insurance salesman who knocks on your door several times a day – it won’t take long before you keep that door shut.
But for those who are new to social media or who come from a more conservative corporate culture, the idea of being social on social media doesn't come naturally. It can feel a bit awkward and forced to hang out on social media all day, not knowing what to say or who to say it to. If that social media channel is Twitter, you’re in luck! Twitter chats are an efficient, effective, and –dare I say it – FUN way to flex your social media muscle.
How #Hashtags Can Help Ottawa Businesses
Are you looking to expand your audience on Twitter but aren't sure where to start? Incorporating hashtags in your tweets is a great way to get going. Originally used for the purpose of highlighting a word and making it more searchable, hashtags can also be employed to help your audience grow.
Expand Your Reach
There are Twitter accounts, like @OttawaRetweeter, who constantly search for the hash-tagged name of your community (#Ottawa). They will automatically retweet your hash-tagged post to all of their followers. This is a great way to reach a new, local audience. Consider the power of this tweet: “Hey #Ottawa – we’re selling cupcakes for charity today. All proceeds going to the Mission!”
Another great way to expand your reach? Thank new followers and influencers each Friday with the hashtag #FF (Friday Follow) – others will do the same for you.
What Does Your Twitter Bio Say About YOU?
“Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD ...” Could Hilary Clinton’s Twitter biography be the best ever written? The New York Times certainly thinks so. Describing Twitter bios as a post-modern art form, The New York Times dissects the traits they deem worthy of the wittiest of profiles.
While you may never capture the Time’s attention, every Twitter user can use the following tips to polish up their bio, charm their reader, and capture a wider audience.
1.) Check your spelling. Spelling and grammar errors look tacky on a platform as witty as Twitter. You have to be wickedly clever to get away with abbreviations and acronyms looking sharp on a Twitter bio – best to avoid them.
Vanessa Chiasson is the founder and senior digital strategist of Sculpt Social.