Social media is the new water cooler, where customers talk about local businesses and share recommendations

Word-of-mouth recommendations from customers have always been important to small business owners’ marketing plans. In the digital age, social media sites like Twitter are where many of those conversations happen. Many of us no longer gather at the water cooler or in the produce aisle to share our thoughts about a local business—we go online to tell our friends and followers about it.

Twitter provides tremendous word-of-mouth marketing opportunities. Here are a few easy ways small business owners can increase engagement and connect with customers to help get the word out about their products and services.

Quick Promote

092716_totd_how-to-use-twitter-to-boost-word-of-mouth-marketing-chartTwitter’s Quick Promote tool lets you get your content in front of more (and more targeted) eyes, fast. Whether you’re live-tweeting an event or just noticing unusually high engagement, Quick Promote is an economical way to find more for your content.

There’s no long set-up or complicated fee structure. Simply enter your payment info (for first-time users), determine your target location and budget, and you’re all set. You get an amplified message along with valuable data and insights about your promoted tweet’s performance and audience.

Reward Your Customers

Conventional advertising is all about reaching new customers. But Twitter is about conversations and engagement, and that starts with your current customers.

The best way to get followers to tell their friends about you is to activate your biggest fans. Thank them, engage with them and politely encourage them to share your news or content. A happy customer will naturally rave about a great experience, product or sale. Discounts, incentives and rewards that motivate referrals will further motivate your best customers to sing your praises.

What Are Your Customers Talking About?

A local sporting goods store in Columbus, Ohio, might create a list of the best biking accessories in the run-up to the city’s huge Pelotonia charity bike race, and share them on Twitter. It’s a way to join an existing conversation and add value that is likely to be shared by your customers.

Media-rich posts (with photos or videos), polls and questions are other great ways to join popular conversations. Scan your Twitter feed to see what your followers are already talking about, and monitor local trends. Posting authentic, passionate and relevant content will show that you’re listening to your customers and that you’re interested in the same topics they’re tweeting about.

To learn more about connecting with customers, visit Twitter’s “2016 Customer Insights Whitepaper.”