Bad weather closed schools, offices and workplaces across the Southampton area this week.
As a result of the snow I’ve seen lots of businesses putting special messages on their website home pages warning customers of reduced opening hours, longer delivery times, unmanned phones and closed offices.
Quick and easy access
This is all very well if you can get in the office and easily update your site. But in my experience, many small business websites are not set up to allow quick and easy page editing – in many instances they have either no easy access via a CMS, or only have access to product or catalogue pages, or pages that are updated regularly.
There’s also a question of design – will a special message or announcement fit easily into your home page layout?
So in many instances, you’d have to ask your web developer to update the page. This usually costs money and time even if it’s a relatively simple job.
A Twitter widget could be the answer
A widget is basically a chunk of code you can add to your site, which is updated every time the source (this case, your Twitter feed) publishes new content.
Here’s an example of a Twitter widget for my Twitter feed which I’ve embedded in this post:
Here’s another example of a Twitter widget in action on the Velvet Buses website (a bus company based in Eastleigh). See the widget in the left-hand menu on each page.
If you’re not very tech-savvy, you’ll probably have to ask a web developer to add it to your home page. But once it’s there, it will update each time you update your Twitter feed. And the beauty of Twitter is that you can update from anywhere as long as you have access to a web connection. You can even text your updates to Twitter – handy if you’re stuck in a snow drift on the way to the office.
Engage, engage, engage
Of course, with Twitter and other social media, you can’t just set up an account and hope for the best.
And while keeping customers up to date with company news is one good use of Twitter, you have to actively participate in conversations and engage with the Twitter community to get the best out of it.