Twitter for Business
Social Media Networking in Business
Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author's profile page and delivered to the author's subscribers who are known as followers. Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow open access. Since late 2009, users can follow lists of authors instead of following individual authors.
The 140-character limit on message length was initially set for compatibility with SMS messaging, and has brought to the web the kind of shorthand notation and slang commonly used in SMS messages. The 140-character limit has also spurred the usage of URL shortening services such as bit.ly, goo.gl, and tr.im, and content hosting services, such as Twitpic, memozu.com and NotePub to accommodate multimedia content and text longer than 140 characters.
Twittering is also a less gated method of communication: you can share information with people that you wouldn't normally exchange email or IM messages with, opening up your circle of contacts to an ever-growing community of like-minded people.
Why Twitter is useful
Twitter has many uses for both personal and business use. It's a great way to keep in touch with your friends and quickly broadcast information about where you are and what you're up to. For example, "I'm in town and gagging for a pint. Anyone like to join me?"
For business, Twitter can be used to broadcast your company's latest news and blog posts, interact with your customers, or to enable easy internal collaboration and group communication.
How to use Twitter for businesses
As a communication platform, Twitter helps businesses stay connected to their customers. As a business, you can use it to quickly share information with people interested in your company, gather real-time market intelligence and feedback, and build relationships with customers, partners and other people who care about your company. As an individual user, you can use Twitter to tell a company (or anyone else) that you've had a great - or disappointing - experience with their business, offer product ideas, and learn about great offers.
Businesses of all kinds, including major brands, increasingly find that listening and engaging on the service leads to happier customers, passionate advocates, key product improvements and, in many cases, more sales.
50 ideas on using Twitter for business
- Build an account and immediate start using ‘Twitter Search’ to listen for your name, your competitor’s names, words that relate to your space
- Add a picture to make it personal
- Talk to people about theirinterests, too. It doesn’t sell more widgets, but it shows us you’re human
- Point out interesting things in your space, not just about you
- Share links to things in your community
- Don’t get stuck in the apology loop. Be helpful instead
- Be wary of always pimping your stuff. Your fans will love it. Others will tune out
- Promote your employees’ outside-of-work stories where applicable
- Talk about non-business, too, but keep it mildly professional
Ideas about what to Tweet
- Instead of answering the question, “What are you doing?”; answer the question, “What has got your attention?”
- Have more than one twitterer at the company. People can quit, people take holidays, and it’s nice to have a bit of variety
- When promoting a blog post, ask a question or explain what’s coming next, instead of just dumping a link
- Ask questions. Twitter is great for getting opinions and starting debates
- Follow interesting people. If you find someone who tweets interesting things, see who s/he follows, and follow her/him
- Tweet about other people’s stuff. Again, doesn’t directly impact your business, but makes you more approachable
- When you do talk about your stuff, make it useful. Give advice, blog posts, pictures, etc.
- Share the human side of your company. If you’re bothering to tweet, it means you believe social media has value for human connections
- Don’t blow your own horn too much. Or, if you do, try to balance it out by promoting others, too
- You don’t have to read every incoming tweet
- To reply to every '@' tweet directed to you
- Use direct messages for 1-to-1 conversations if you feel there’s no value to Twitter at large to hear the conversation
- Use services like ‘Twitter Search’ to make sure you see if someone’s talking about you. Try to participate where it makes sense
- 3rd party clients like Hootsuite and Twhirl make it a lot easier to manage, but some have also been outlawed (like TweetAdder")
- If you tweet all day while your co-workers are busy, you’re likely to build some resentment
- If you’re representing clients and billing hours, and tweeting all the time, you will build resentment
- Learn quickly to use the URL shortening tools like TinyURL and all the variants. It helps tidy up your tweets
- If someone says you’re using twitter wrong, forget it. It’s an opt out society. They can unfollow if they don’t like how you use it
- Commenting on others’ tweets, and retweeting what others have posted is a great way to build community.
The negatives some people will throw at you
- Twitter takes up time
- Twitter takes you away from other productive work
- Without a strategy, it’s just typing
- There are other ways to do this
- Twitter doesn’t replace customer service
- Twitter is buggy and not enterprise-ready
- Twitter is just for nerds
- Twitter’s only a few million people - only!
- Twitter doesn’t replace direct email marketing
- Twitter opens the company up to more criticism and griping, but only if customers cannot complaint elsewhere
Some positives to throw back
- Twitter helps one organise great, instant meetups (known as tweetups)
- Twitter works well as an opinion poll
- Twitter can help direct people’s attention to good things
- Twitter at events helps people build an instant “backchannel”
- Twitter breaks news faster than other sources
- Twitter gives businesses a glimpse at what status messaging can do for an business
- Twitter brings great minds together, and gives you daily opportunities to learn
- Twitter gives your critics a forum, but that means you can study them & learn
- Twitter helps with business development, if your prospects are online
- Twitter can augment customer service
If you are planning to use Twitter as part of your social media marketing, then contact Jack Marketing Solutions today to find out how we can help you succeed with Twitter for Business.
Glossary: Blogging, Instant Messaging, Microblogging, Short Messaging Service, Social Media, Tweet, Twitter