Small Business Owners: Launch a Twitter Campaign Before you Launch Anything Else

I’m working on a new business project that won’t release until the beginning of November (2011). However, three weeks ago I launched our Twitter account and have been steadily building a community of followers, with over 200 followers at the moment of writing (I won’t take the opportunity to shamelessly self-promote here, but will tell you that we’ll be producing online video content).

What’s more, our followers are excited and looking forward to our release. We’ve had multiple direct messages telling us how “original” our concept is and how much people are looking forward to it. Influencers in the niche we’ve entered have mentioned us a number of times, and many of our daily tweets have been retweeted—all indicators of a successful Twitter strategy.

Thinking of this experience I realized how perfect Twitter is for launching projects at the concept and not the content phase. This is what’s going on in our case. After all, we have no product—no pictures, no blog posts, no videos, no content—only the promise of it. What we do have, though, is a concept (and one that has apparently struck a chord with some people).

And it turns out I’m not alone in this conclusion. Past examples demonstrate that Twitter can increase the success of most brands launched, especially when used well before the launch itself.

As far as the Facebook versus Twitter debate, when it comes to launching a product, brand or business, others agree that Twitter is much better than Facebook for initially generating excitement. After all, Facebook demands content. Integrated utilities put image galleries, videos, and other information at the top of pages. In Facebook, it’s about rewarding people who like you with your original content.

But on Twitter it’s about community, and a concept can grow a community. So, looking at what other brands have done and mixing it with the project we’re currently working on, here are five strategies to implement in Twitter while your product, brand or business is still just a concept.

1. Provide a profile image that symbolizes if not demonstrates your concept, and a full description in your bio. Obviously the worst thing you can do it leave the ugly egg profile image. But another mistake would be to use an image that has nothing to do with your concept. Likewise, you need a bio that accurately describes what you’re launching, when, where and why you should be followed.

2. Appeal first and foremost to your niche. Chris Anderson proved in The Long Tail that not only is there a niche for most anything, but there are die-hards within the niches that will become evangelists for your concept if you connect with them. Each niche has a community, and in every community there are influencers. So reach these people first of all.

3. Tweet regularly about your progress. You should tweet regularly anyway, but let your followers know what you’re doing to make progress. Tell them about setbacks you are having, victories you’ve achieved, and obstacles you’ve overcome. Remind them of the launch or release date, and include them in decisions when possible by asking them their opinion.

4. Provide content as it becomes available. Don’t hold content back and then spring it all on them on the release date. Get them excited about it by giving them pictures, articles, anything you can as you get it. In fact, give them this content the moment you get it—reward them for following you .

5. Be genuine. Lastly, be as genuine as possible in the way you represent yourself. Don’t try to be something you’re not. Let’s face it, at the moment you really don’t have much of anything anyway: just an idea at most. But, you are giving your followers a rare glimpse of the wonder of entrepreneurship by letting them see the magic, sweat, toil and tears that happens when the concept—the idea—of a brand, business or product becomes reality.

Article first published as Launch a Twitter Campaign Before Anything Else on Technorati.

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