Twitter, it would seem, is here to stay. And as communicating at 140 characters a pop becomes increasingly commonplace, it’s no surprise to see businesses flocking to Twitter in droves.
While businesses have just as much of a right to tweet as pro athletes, your 10th grade niece and politicians do, it’s only natural for us to regard a company’s use of Twitter as a late-to-the-game move to attach itself to one of the day’s hottest trends.
So how can a business positively contribute to the Twitter community, while leveraging the site to more closely connect with customers, attract new prospects and expand its reach?
There are countless resources to help companies get their feet wet on Twitter – including lists of dos and don’ts, as well as 7, 50 and even 62 tips to follow – but common among these are a few simple rules any business looking to make the best use of Twitter should follow:
- Embrace the sense of community Twitter provides – Like all social media, Twitter exists to help unite like-minded individuals. To this end, think about your tweets as a conversation starter. Have one of your chief technologists tweet about the accomplishments of a peer. Discuss an emerging industry trend. Follow, and be followed by, people and organizations with similar interests. Keep the discussion rolling. Whatever you do, build as many relationships as possible. You never know which connection will make 140 characters worth their weight in gold.
- Don’t use Twitter for blatant self promotion – While Twitter can be a powerful marketing tool, the public will see through any attempt to tweet the virtues of your company to any and all who may read it. Instead, think of Twitter as a way to gain visibility. The more you engage the community, the more your name is seen on the tweets of people and organizations alike, the more likely the public is to want to learn more about who you are and what you have to offer.
- Use Twitter to drive organizational improvement – Twitter offers businesses a truly unfiltered dose of public opinion. It may seem a bit scary, but search for your name in recent tweets. People are far more likely to be blunt and truthful over Twitter than they would be over a formal customer-sat survey, so seek out what consumers have to say about your products and services. This type of straight-from-the-horse’s-mouth opinion can really help your company make some significant improvements.
With some simple planning, Twitter can become a useful tool that, with little to no investment, can help your organization achieve great things. Just follow these simple rules and you’ll be well on your way. And remember – tweet like you mean it!