My first article for TechRadar Pro, on how small businesses can make smart use of Twitter, has just been published. Thanks to Patrick Neale at Jaffe & Neale bookshop and cafe, and Sarah Warman at craft brewer and bar manager BrewDog, for their time talking about this.
I picked up some useful ideas from talking to Patrick and Sarah, and looking at how they run their Twitter accounts. BrewDog – a ‘big’ small business, with Sarah spending a fair proportion of her time on Twitter – uses it among other things to gather ideas from its customers/fans, and is currently asking them to name its new beer. It works; click on the date in the tweet below to see the replies:
*#MASHTAG CURVEBALL!* Tomorrow, we let you choose the name. But tonight, we want YOU to make the shortlist! So! What do we call this brew?
— BrewDog (@brewdog) March 28, 2013
Patrick Neale has less time and need to use Twitter – customers (disclosure: including me) go into the bookshop in Chipping Norton because it is nice to visit and features excellent coffee and cake – but does use it for photos of what’s going on in the shop, by using the Twitter background as a one-page summary website (in Penguin bookspines – an idea I have pinched for my account) and to stay in touch with authors and, crucially, their PRs:
— Patrick Neale (@Jaffeandneale) March 19, 2013
Both Sarah and Patrick emphasised the importance of getting across personality through Twitter. My summary of how businesses should use it: “Twitter can be used like selling from a market stall to an interested crowd, with the rest of the world passing by.” And the market stalls that work best are those run by traders with big personalities, aren’t they?