Twitter Has Down Day As Online Progress Mixes with Setbacks

Despite much progress, Twitter experienced technical glitches last week that kept the microblogging site down for hours, proof that these kinds of problems can impact any online business, large or small. Opportunities continue to expand for entrepreneurs on the Internet with new ways for marketing and getting your message across, but beware of the setbacks, technical and otherwise, that can impede your progress.

Twitter Troubles

Stop breaking down. Twitter experienced a worldwide outage last week for several hours. Mazen Rawashdeh, vice president of engineering with the microblogging platform, addressed the Twitter community afterward via the company blog to explain the problems and apologize for the inconvenience to its users, an important step for any business when things go wrong. On the positive side, Rawashdeh explains that the community’s reliability is improving steadily, with between 99.96 and 99.99 percent reliability over the last six months. Twitter Blog

Keep customers in the loop. During Twitter’s downtime, the biggest beef from users seemed to be a lack of information about what was going on. Twitter did finally explain in a couple of tweets and ultimately, in a longer but not necessarily more informative blog post. The most important thing when problems occur is to keep your customers in the loop. As we reported above, Twitter certainly did that, but the reaction of fans and pundits proves you can never go overboard when keeping your community informed. TechCrunch

Putting the “fail whale” behind you. Focusing on the downside of a business failing is always a temptation, and of course, small business owners must always work to avoid problems when possible. But, as in the case of Twitter’s major downtime last week, it’s also important to see how far you’ve come. Trouble is, that with each new step forward the stakes get higher, more people rely on your business, and there is more to loose if you fail. Strive for excellence, but put failure into perspective. Just be sure to put the “fail whale” behind you. All Things Digital

Show a sense of humor. When your business is clearly wrong and a customer calls you out on it, be big. It’s no time to get over-sensitive when you’ve made the mistake. This is another lesson small business owners can learn from Twitter’s unfortunate outage last week, when the social site found itself taunted by a heckler using the Twitter handle @CascadedBug. Folks at Twitter apparently suspended, then unsuspended, then suspended, and again unsuspended the user, all for having a bit of fun with the microblogging platform in 140 words or less. Los Angeles Times

Online Business Risks & Solutions

How to loose your credibility online. Technical problems along the lines of what happened to Twitter last week are only one example of the problems that can affect your business online. There are some credibility issues that no cascading bug can explain. They have to do with the professionalism and attention to detail every business owner should show when creating and maintaining a Website or blog, establishing a social media presence, or engaging in any conduct online that will reflect on your brand. Small Business Trends

The content that will make your online business thrive. Non-technical issues that can make a big difference in how your Website is perceived often come down to content. Most important is to be sure that content is compelling and intriguing, created for your audience’s needs, credible and trust building, and clear and direct. Your Webpage titles should grab a reader’s attention. Your content should be easy to consume for visitors in a hurry. You should build credibility with readers using testimonials and whatever other techniques work for you. You should have a clear and effective call to action. Amelia Champion

Some Steps Forward

Twitter to Mac, with new app. Despite the technical problems of last week, Apple users may be excited to catch a glimpse of the new Tweetbot app for Twitter on the new MacBook Pro. Though few details about the app are available yet, reviewers think it will be similar to the Tweetbot app already available for the iPad. If you are a big Twitter user for your business and have a MacBook, this tool may add significantly to your productivity in the very near future. The Verge

Twitter ad offerings expand. Twitter also announced last week the roll out of products like promoted tweets, promoted trends, and promoted accounts, features previously available in only a handful of countries. Some of the first to receive the service will probably be users in Latin America and Western Europe, said Twitter chief executive, Dick Costolo speaking at a press conference at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity last week. Small businesses online have long been using the service for global networking and communications, but soon, greater advertising scope will also be a possibility. The Guardian

More Online Ad Possibilities

New Google ads bring local back home. The search engine and online advertising company says a 100 percent increase in click through rates is one of the big benefits of its redesigned local Google ads. Calls to action have been made more prominent, new hyperlocal markers show users how close they are to a business location, and when a users click on the ad, they will be taken to the advertiser’s Website within the app. The new local advertising formats were introduced last week on newer versions of Android. WebProNews

Facebook mobile ads real money makers. Of course, Twitter isn’t the only social network looking to develop a workable advertising system to monetize the incredible amount of social activity happening on its site. Facebook has been at the advertising game for some time now with mixed success. The good news, however, for businesses trying to advertise on the premier social media network, is that the company’s mobile ads seem much more effective. Mobile ads are clicked 13 times more and earn 11 times more than their PC counterparts. TechCrunch

Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.