Of tweets and twirps

Of tweets and twirps

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This is a guest post from Twirp Communications
(Member since 2011)

Contributors:

Zack Metcalfe

Social media consultant earns nomination for small business award

The waters of social media can be treacherous to navigate, even for those of us who grew up sailing them, so when it comes to the small business community and their need to advertise online, it’s fortunate there’s someone out there turning Facebook posts into marketing tools and viewers into clients. You may call her Twirp.

In 2011, Halifax resident Anita Kirkbride put to rest a 14-year career in charity fundraising, deciding instead to put her considerable public relations experience and Internet savvy toward self-employment. There was a niche, she realized, for someone like herself to instruct local businesses on the effective use of social media.

“There are a lot of businesses in Nova Scotia who are just figuring out social media is where they need to be and there are even more already on there who don’t understand how to use it,” says Kirkbride. “They’re still trying to treat social media like traditional advertising, [which is like] fitting a square peg into a round hole.”

She named her enterprise Twirp Communications, following the quirky example of the social media platforms she most often employs — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Their resources and features are Kirkbride’s full-time profession and even for her it’s sometimes difficult to keep up. Since founding Twirp, she’s enlightened hundreds of clients to the ways of online marketing and for a select few she’s taken over their social media operations entirely.

“Small businesses need to understand that people want more than just advertising,” says Kirkbride, also known as Head Twirp. “On social media, users want to get to know the people behind the business, especially with local and smaller businesses. They don’t expect to get to know the CEO of Coca-Cola, but they do expect to see the people behind the local coffee shop, the people behind the local restaurant. Small businesses need to be willing to show their behind-the-scenes imperfections, to show the realities of their business — and if they can do that, people will appreciate them, talk about them and bring them business.”

Her services extend beyond simple consulting into the realm of teaching at conferences and seminars, a practice she’d like to expand as her business continues to evolve. In the next year, she’s also hoping to offer her clientele “chatbots” — an automated customer service program, which could answer a client’s questions over, say, Facebook Messenger. While Twirp Communications has felt the growing pains of early success, Kirkbride doesn’t see full-time employees in the near future — but anything’s possible.

For the past three years, Twirp Communications has been nominated for the Halifax Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year Award, but the first two Kirkbride turned down, preferring to let her results speak for themselves. This year, however, she felt her work was of a sufficient calibre to merit recognition.

“This year, I felt there was enough change and growth — and enough of a new direction — that brought Twirp to that next level,” she says, placing proudly among the final five nominees at the Halifax Business Awards on Jan. 25, 2018.

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