I am a passionate believer in the power of social networking for small business owners. I have spoken many times at conferences and teleseminars about small business owners can use Twitter to create relationships and expand their sphere of influence.

One of the things I notice in my travels is that there is a misplaced reliance on Twitter as a marketing tool. If I had a dime for every time a business owner told me that he or she had not blogged in months because they had been spending all of their social time on Twitter, I think I'd be rich.

Twitter Is Not A Panacea

As good as Twitter is, it is not a panacea. Twitter will not swoop into your business and fix problems that are already there. For example, if you do not already have a blog, Twitter will be of little use to you. If you do not have or do not want to have genuine relationships with other small business owners, Twitter will be no use to you. And if your website is a messy collection of blurry photos and spelling and grammatical errors, Twitter will not only be useless to you, but it could also actually hurt your business.

Neither Twitter nor any other social media tool owned by a third party should form the platform for your marketing outreach. The core of your marketing strategy should be supported by content that you own and control: your e-commerce site, business card, email newsletter, brochures, blog, podcasts, etc.

Twitter Cannot Save A Lousy Marketing Plan

Twitter should supplement a marketing machine that already works reasonably well on its own.

While Twitter is no substitute for an innovative, attention grabbing, system that markets a fabulous product, it does a heckuva job at supplementing a system that is already getting results. Twitter is like cake frosting. It's useless unless there's a cake to frost. But put it on top of a rich and scrumptious slice of cake and it's hmm hmm good for you and your customers.

Question: Are you perplexed by Twitter and how it can possibly work for your business? If so, check for holes in your existing marketing armor and plug them up. Chances are that, when you do, Twitter will take on a whole new meaning for your business. What do you think? I'd love to hear your comments, experiences and even questions on this topic in the comments section below.

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