2152131094_579d12c7b2_tThe latest article on how small business owners can benefit by using Twitter comes courtesy of the New York Times and it backs up what we have been preaching here at OCBizBlog.

Namely, that Twitter is a cheap and simple tool that can generate sales if you are willing to devote some time to it.

With 50% of small business sales coming from word-of-mouth, Twitter makes sense as as the digital equivalent.

Opening an account is easy but then two questions need to be answered:

Who will tweet and how will they tweet?

There are lots of advantages and appeal to being yourself on Twitter.  Many small business owners are able to translate their personality quite easily and connect quickly with followers.  Twitter generally has an intimate feel and sending out messages that signal you are a real person makes connecting that much easier.

But small business owners are notoriously busy so often the smart thing to do is to delegate someone to be your “Community Manager”.

We know of numerous businesses that assign someone 10 hours per week to tweet and that seems to work very well.

But owners need to direct and monitor what is being said to ensure the purpose of joining Twitter in the first place is being pursued.

And that begs a bigger question.

What goal are you pursuing on Twitter?

If you can take the time to answer that at the outset it will drive what you say and who you connect with.  It will determine how much time you spend on it.  And it will alleviate any potential frustrations.

From the Times article:

“For many mom-and-pop shops with no ad budget, Twitter has become their sole means of marketing. It is far easier to set up and update a Twitter account than to maintain a Web page. And because small-business owners tend to work at the cash register, not in a cubicle in the marketing department, Twitter’s intimacy suits them well.”

Think about that first line for a minute… their SOLE means on marketing.

That is big.

Why?  Because it costs you nothing but time and the upside can be massive.  There aren’t many marketing or advertising plans that can claim that.

If you’re a small business owner and not yet on Twitter, don’t waste another second and jump on board.