Twitter is live, public, conversational and widely distributed. The platform has more than 255 million active users worldwide and is used by brands to engage with existing customers and reach new audiences. South African companies, like frozen yoghurt brand @Wakaberry, with more than 26,000 followers and @skinnylaminx with 11,200 followers, are already using Twitter to listen to their customers and market themselves organically.Research shows that Twitter is made for SMEs* with 72% of people more likely to make a purchase from an SME after they follow or interact with them on Twitter and 30% are more likely to recommend a business that they follow on Twitter.
"The self-serve platform will enhance their activities on Twitter. The beauty of the self-serve platform is that SMEs only pay when someone interacts with them or retweets their tweet. With this platform, SMEs can manage their advertising according to their budget and needs, but they are still getting the same product as a big brand or company. What we have effectively done is remove the many barriers SMEs encounter on other online platforms"
To assist SMEs webinars and case studies can be downloaded from business.twitter.com. While these are overseas case studies, as local SMEs take up the offering, local case studies will be added.
He also anticipates that the local Twitter handle for SMEs, @TwitterZA_SME, will increase in popularity with the launching of the product.
The Twitter self-serve platform is claimed to be easy to use, highly targeted and cost-effective - businesses only pay per engagement such as a retweet, reply, favourite or click - and there is no minimum spend. SMEs get the same functionality as big brands, and organic activity stays free.
Twitter also provides analytics for SMEs to track their performance on Twitter, learn more about customer behaviour and adjust campaigns to drive better results.
For more information on Twitter, click here.
86% of respondents said they are more likely to visit an SME if a friend recommends them.
One-third (34%) of respondents say they have interacted with an SME after seeing an ad that included the business's Twitter handle.
People who see a Promoted Tweet from an SME that relates to their interests or needs are also more likely (32%) to visit that business.
**Barry Collins, Twitter director of SMB EMEA, joined in 2013 to work with Small Business across EMEA get the most of out the Twitter platform. He has extensive experience in the technology industry having previously held senior positions in Dell, Skype and Microsoft. He is @BarryCollins on Twitter.