Twitter: How to Stride Confidently Through the Intersection of Writer’s Block and New Language Way

If you’re tired of reading about what Twitter can do for your business, may I suggest you pause, take a deep breath, and consider one more source. A recent Fortune Small Business article, “Tweeting for Profit,” profiled the success of a skeptical, first-time Twitter user and business leader at a small Emeryville-based company Fliqz. 

The point of the article: not only will Twitter not “go away,” but it’s growing, it’s free marketing, and is NOT a time suck if done properly.

Setting up a Twitter account for your business takes mere minutes. So what’s stopping people? What are the Twitter trigger-pull barriers? Business owners often cite reluctance to tweet because of the transparency and immediacy. They also fear properly translating their company’s offerings into a brief message.  I don’t think immediacy and transparency fears are the barriers. Companies, particularly small businesses, know the value of nimbleness. I think “Twitter block” lies at the intersection of writer’s block and a new language way. 
Tweets are definitely a language in which marketers and business leaders must become fluent. The good news: the tweet learning curve is a mere 140 characters and yields massive rewards. “What will I say?” you think. Answer: Not much, so don’t fear writer’s block, because you’re not really writing, merely Tweeting. And Tweet block is quite surmountable with a (very few) flicks of your fingers.

Getting Past Twitter Block

Here’s how to unblock and learn the basics of this new language: when composing a Tweet, consider the success of the San Francisco bakery Mission Pie. Think of your business as a bakery of ideas and services. Tweets are hot fresh offerings. Your tweet simply broadcasts a) the availability of your “pies”; b) their attributes, like an irresistable wafting hot apple smell; c) and a call to action. For the bakery, it’s a countdown that the pies are selling out. 
Here is an example: Today’s pie: Granny Smith crumb top crust, 10”, heat @ 350 for 12 mins to bring out scent of crisp apples, cinnamon and brown sugar. 14 left.  This is exactly 140 characters! Victory!

 “Okay,” you are thinking, “but what about my business (let’s call it) Accounting Expansions Strategies? It’s much more complex than pies. Our latest offering, which we’re launching with a webinar, is a newly packaged marketing program to help small and midsized accounting firms expand their footprint into China.”
Try this: 
Gain global reach in 10 wks w/free webinar China by the Numbers. [Insert your tiny URL here]. Head East with AES!
Notice how you didn’t have space or need to describe the market segment that you’re targeting, which is small and midsized accounting firms? Your Twitter followers will know your target market sufficiently to be interested in your latest hot pie. New prospects are armed with enough “Twit”-formation here to click through to your webinar. You’re done with that Tweet after mere moments and 140 or fewer characters. And you’ve set up the opening for a Twitter cycle.

Note: A best practice is to make sure your next tweets are NOT always all about your company. Alternate promotional tweets with news and facts that bring value to followers. For example, the next few tweets in this cycle could be fresh news stories impacting small and mid-sized accounting firms; then a tweet teasing the webinar content; then persuasive opinions from other business leaders about the potential value of doing business in China. With a little practice you will stride right through the intersection of Writer’s Block and New Language Way into the land of Twitter. Welcome to the Twitterhood!' About jlombard

Jean Lombard is WIC's Online Marketing Director for 2010.


  1. Thanks for giving me the courage to “jump in.” Clearly, this is a valuable marketing tool for businesses large and small. I plan to be tweeting soon with news about a
    new service I’m introducing. (Oops, that’s 161 characters…)

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