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Should your small business be using Twitter?

 Should you be using the social network site Twitter for your business?

With more people using Twitter every day we think all small businesses should be looking at Twitter even if it's just to keep an eye out.

For those who haven't been bitten by the Twitter bug yet the site allows users to send messages of upto 140 characters to other users who 'follow' them. For example, I could 'tweet' a short message about a blog post and the people who have chosen to follow me will see that message in their feed.

People on Twitter tweet about all sorts of things from important news they've just heard to where they just ate lunch. By the way, a few Tweeters have eaten at River Cottage in Axminster lately.

A Twitter search for the word AxminsterThe beauty for small businesses is that Twitter provides a search engine that allows you to search for tweets from the entire Twitter community and you can use that to find out what people are saying about your business, good or bad.

If a tweet shows up saying good things about your business, you can respond to the tweeter and thank him or her. This helps your customer to feel more in touch with you and have an affinity with your business making it more likely that they will come back to you and recommend you to other people.

If you see a tweet commenting on a problem someone had with your service or product it is even more important to strike up a conversation with them and try to rectify the problem. Even if you're unable to correct the problem after the fact just saying sorry and explaining why the problem occured will help to calm them down and you may even be able to turn a bad experience into something good. Take on board what the customer is saying and show that you are trying to put it right and stop the problem happening in the future.

To search Twitter and see if your business is being mentioned just go to www.twitter.com/search and type in your business name, you dont even need to sign up for an account to search, though you do need a free account if you want to reply.