By Chris Crum

Small businesses are still trying to figure out if Twitter can have a significant impact on their ability to grow their customer bases and ultimately their sales.

Social media has become ubiquitous in recent years, and Twitter is certainly among the top players, but it provides a very different environment than its behemoth competitor Facebook, for both users and businesses.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter has yet to become profitable itself, and its advertising offerings pale in comparison in terms of options and targeting abilities. And really, how could it even compare at this point? Twitter simply doesn’t get the same kind of data about its users that Facebook does.

Twitter is public by nature. Facebook is private, though either can be used in the opposite fashion if the user so chooses. But because Facebook caters more to private, intimate sharing (among friends rather than strangers), people share more about themselves. The very way Facebook accounts are set up encourages users to share as much info about themselves as possible.

Twitter accounts really don’t even attempt to gain significant amounts of data from users, though that could change now that Twitter is a public company with investors to please – investors who are going to want to start seeing the company make some money.

Twitter knows it needs to cater to small businesses to be successful, and promotes its effectiveness to them.

“Smaller businesses everywhere use Twitter to connect with existing and new customers. It’s a truly easy way to share, promote and drive word of mouth communication about your business,” the company says on its Small Business hub.* “Whether you’re new to Twitter or an old pro, we’ve got what you need to help you reach your goals. Connect with your target audience, get your messages out there and find easy and fun ways to grow your business.”

At that destination, it gives businesses pointers on how to better engage with followers, reach new customers and be a “marketing wizard.”

It even has a bunch of case studies, which you should probably take a look at if you’re trying to find success using Twitter.

Twitter offers promoted accounts, promoted tweets, and promoted trends, but they’re really starting to expand the ads’ targeting capabilities and availability to small businesses.

Earlier this year, Twitter made a couple of major announcements in that it launched enhanced mobile targeting, and began making ads available to small and medium-sized businesses in the UK, Ireland and Canada.

76% of Twitter’s 230 million users access the service with a mobile device, and before, advertisers were only able to target users by operating system, but now they can segment audiences on iOS and Android by OS version, specific device, and WiFi connectivity.

That makes it easier for small business to reach the right audience, but they’re going to have to do better than that if they want to compete with Facebook and gain the confidence of the small business owner.

But again, we’re looking at the beginning of the public Twitter era. It stands to reason that the company will look for new and improved ways for Twitter to be more effective as an advertising platform, and a small business tool.

We’ll see what happens. Right now, businesses are a little skeptical about Twitter.



Chris Crum has been a featured writer with the team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. He writes about social media, search, and what’s new for small business.

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank.