How-To: Effective Marketing on Twitter

Four strategies to grow your business

LaShanda Henry uses Twitter to strategically market her businesses.

For entrepreneur LaShanda Henry, being on Twitter means more than posting mindless jabber about the minutia of her day. Henry is a Website developer, online marketing guru, and founder of Sistasense.com a Website geared to young women, and MYBBWO.com a community site for black female entrepreneurs.

For the North Carolina-based Webpreneur, Twitter is about strategic marketing to engage current and potential customers, driving traffic to her Websites, and ultimately boosting revenue. A recent study on Twitter usage by Edison Research shows that African Americans make up a disproportionate percentage of Twitter users when compared to population data: while accounting for about 12% of the U.S. population, blacks constitute 24% of Twitter users. The study also breaks down Twitter users by age and education level. Given that businesses now have this information about who is on Twitter, how can entrepreneurs and businesses leverage this breakdown and effectively reach out to their target demographic?

Know your target: While it’s possible to target nearly every demographic on Twitter, the key to leveraging your Twitter network is knowing specifically who you are trying to reach and tailoring your tweets to that audience, says Henry. To do this, she set up two accounts for her main business ventures, SistaSense.com and MYBBO.com. While Sista Sense is more of a personal site that expresses her passions in online marketing and gives tips and advice, MYBBO is a community site for black women business owners with more than 7,500 members.

Get them to your site: “The purpose of using Twitter and other social media platforms is to push users to your Website. Take them to your space,” says Henry, who often tweets information relevant to her followers and includes links with more information which lead followers to her site.

Ask questions: When it comes to engaging your network, remember, it’s not about you or your business. “Many companies come on Twitter as an information powerhouse and there’s nothing wrong with that,” but it’s important to talk to your audience as well, says Henry. To do this, she recommends posing questions as opposed to statements. This way you create dialog among your followers and can possibly gain new ones through intriguing discussion. Also, keep an eye on trending topics to see how you can create conversation amongst your followers and gain more who may also be a part of your demographic.

Push the steals and deals: Aside from pushing traffic to her Websites, Henry also reaches out to black female entrepreneurs to promote her marketing e-books. Oftentimes she’ll post deals and promo codes via all her networks. Henry says the revenue generated from social network marketing accounts for a third of her overall revenue.

Renita Burns is a writer and content producer for BlackEnterprise.com.