To tweet or not to tweet: Why is Twitter so popular?

Understand why Twitter is used by millions is key to using Twitter successfully. You must assess whether Twitter is the right social media tool for your business, farm or farmers market to reach out to customers and community.

Many understand that Twitter is part of the “social media” world. Unless you’ve taken the time to learn all about it, however, you might not understand if you should invest time in it as a way to reach customers. This article will address the “why” of Twitter (See also articles on the "what" of Twitter and the "how" of Twitter).

More than 115 million active users are on Twitter.  There are Twitter users all over the world but how do you know if there are users that you need to reach with your business or farmers market?

Before you sign up for an account go to Twitter and search for users in your area or the area in which your business is located.  You can search for the name of your town or surrounding area and look at the users associated with your area.  If you are a farm business, look to see if the farmers market in your area is utilizing Twitter.  Maybe there is a local news outlet or a local organization listed in the search that is using Twitter.  Find out how many people are following that user and gauge whether there are enough users to justify your time signing up.  Twitter also has an advanced search option that will allow you to search for your area and specific keywords to gauge the interest.

It is also a good idea to scan Twitter for similar businesses that are utilizing Twitter and see how many followers they have, what kinds of messages they are sending and how often they are sending something out. If you are organizing a farmers market, find out if your vendors are using Twitter and how they feel about the time they’ve invested in it.  Even if you don’t have an account, you can still benefit from Twitter because you don’t have to be a user to have your business mentioned on Twitter.

To find out more about how to get started with Twitter and how it can help your business, look for the next article in this series from Michigan State University Extension labeled “Part 3”.  For more information on marketing your farm, food, agriculture or natural resources business, contact the Michigan State University Product Center at 517-432-8750.

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