8 Ways To Use Twitter To Grow Your Small Business

This past week was a big week. First a major review of my new book  came out on the website one of my favorite business magazines Black Enterprise with the title: Now Read This: Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, If entrepreneurship is your objective, Melinda Emerson offers a step-by-step road map” which was written by Alfred Edmond Jr. Editor in Chief of BlackEnterprise.com. As a first time author, it was a real thrill to read a review like this.

I also had an amazing opportunity as “Smallbizlady” to be a presenter at Jeff Pulver’s #140 Characters Conference; Exploring the State of Now in New York City. My assignment at the Twitter conference was to talk about how Twitter has changed small business. I only had ten minutes, so I had to make it count.  You know my advice always focuses on actionable steps, so here’s the video of my talk from #140conf. Many people have looked at this clip and retweeted it, and I thought you would enjoy it.

Here’s some tips help you grow your small business using Twitter:

Know your niche customer: Before using Twitter to promote your small business it is really important to know your customer, and more importantly know where your customer hangs out online. Make sure anyone could determine who your customer is by reviewing your Twitter stream.

Give to Get: Twitter and all of social media is about giving to others and adding value. When you help others by promoting their content and programs that will attract people and incentivize others to do so.

Use 4:1 ratio: Be slow to overtly sell on Twitter. It really can be the kiss of death. Here’s a rule of thumb: Promote other people’s content 4 to 1 over your own.

Participate in Twitterchats: One of the best ways to demonstrate your expertise in a non-obnoxious way is to answer questions about your expertise. I host #Smallbizchat every Wed from 8-9pm ET on Twitter for emerging entrepreneurs. Many participants and guests attract many followers after delivering great content on a Twitterchat. How to participate in #SmallBizChat:

Use @ replies: Open tweets build relationships on Twitter. Do not just retweet articles, reach back to the person who wrote them and start a conversation.

Use Direct Messages: Well-written direct messages (DMs) particularly automatic direct messages can get you business.  Perfect your 140 character commercial. Tell your followers who you are and what you can do for them. Do not to give links or ways to connect to your blog, Linkedin or Facebook. It’s the equivalent to drive-by networking.

Engage & Interact: You would not ask someone for business the day you meet them don’t do it online either. Build real relationships and the sales will come.

Consistency & Persistency: The key to building your business on Twitter and any other social media network is showing up consistently giving quality information. Push yourself to listen and give your expertise.  You will  grow your brand little by little everyday. Follow these simple tips and you can’t go wrong with Twitter.

Do you have any other Twitter tips and strategies? Share your experiences.

Melinda Emerson “SmallBizLady” is a Veteran Entrepreneur, Small Business Expert and Social Media Coach who hosts #Smallbizchat on Twitter.  #Smallbizchat is the trusted resource on Twitter to discuss everything entrepreneurs need to know about launching and running a profitable small business.  Melinda’s first book, Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-By-Month Guide to a Business That Works was released by Adams Media in March 2010.

Become Your Own Boss Now!

Order SmallBizLady's new book Become Your Own Boss, 2nd edition! It includes everything you need to launch a small business and new chapters on crowdfunding, build a great website, content strategy, and leveraging social media.


  1. says

    Thank you for these very pertinent reminders. I think as a starting entrepreneur it’s easy to be anxious and want to sell, sell, sell. Thankfully for me, I started on twitter pretty ignorant, so started off getting to know people in the course of getting to know twitter. It has served me well.

    • Melinda Emerson says


      Thanks for your comment. Sounds like you typically do my listening than talking which is an extremely important skill. I wish you much success with your business.


  2. Fiona Smithe says

    Would tell me, how be apathetic to candidly advertise on Twitter. It absolutely can be the kiss of death. Here its a aphorism of thumb: Promote added people.

  3. says

    Hi Melinda,
    Thanks for the useful tips. Question – could you give some examples of what you consider to be “well written” DM’s, particularly if they are to be used as automatic DM’s.

    • Melinda Emerson says

      Hi Jo—

      Thanks for your question.

      Here’s my DM: Hi I’m Melinda Emerson @smallbizlady I am a smallbiz coach & my mission is to End Small Business Failure. Join me every Wed 8p ET for #Smallbizchat

      Another example: Thanks for following! Let me know if you have any social media or blogging questions.

      Another example: Thanx kindly for following. We traded traditional business for an online franchise. How about you?

      Last example: Thanks for following! Please tell me the most interesting thing that I could tweet about you.

      I hope these examples are helpful.


  4. says

    I have a question, too. I have more than 100 followers, and you have nearly 8000. How do you choose which people you want to “engage and interact” with? There are literally thousands of potential clients out there. Is there something particular that you look for when you decide who you want to pursue a relationship with? It’s impossible to be personal with thousands of people.

    • Melinda Emerson says


      Thank you for your question. I follow most people back on Twitter who follow me, and I don’t look at them as potential customers. When people re-tweet my stuff or send me an open tweet I respond if I can. There are times like last week when I spoke at the #140conf and over 100 people tweeted out what I was saying in my talk. We’ll I followed all those people, but I only interacted with people who I spoke with personally. Sometimes I just say Morning Tweeps, and new people pop-up and respond and I interact with them. I really do not have a formula, but I treat everyone like they are important and if I can give a quick business tip I do.

      I hope that helps,

  5. says

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