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Social Media Networking in Business

X, or as it was formerly known, 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 X is useful

X 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, X can be used to broadcast your company’s latest news and blog postsinteract with your customers, or to enable easy internal collaboration and group communication.

How to use X for businesses

As a communication platform, X 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 X 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 X for business

First Steps

  1. Build an account and immediate start using ‘X Search’ to listen for your name, your competitor’s names, words that relate to your space.
  2. Add a picture to make it personal.
  3. Talk to people about their interests, too. It doesn’t sell more widgets, but it shows us you’re human.
  4. Point out interesting things in your space, not just about you.
  5. Share links to things in your community.
  6. Don’t get stuck in the apology loop. Be helpful instead.
  7. Be wary of always pimping your stuff. Your fans will love it. Others will tune out.
  8. Promote your employees’ outside-of-work stories where applicable.
  9. Talk about non-business, too, but keep it mildly professional.

Ideas about what to Tweet

  1. Instead of answering the question, “What are you doing?”, answer the question, “What has got your attention?”
  2. Have more than one twitterer at the company. People can quit, people take holidays, and it’s nice to have a bit of variety.
  3. When promoting a blog post, ask a question or explain what’s coming next, instead of just dumping a link.
  4. Ask questions. X is great for getting opinions and starting debates.
  5. Follow interesting people. If you find someone who tweets interesting things, see who s/he follows, and follow her/him.
  6. Tweet about other people’s stuff. Again, doesn’t directly impact your business, but makes you more approachable.
  7. When you do talk about your stuff, make it useful. Give advice, blog posts, pictures, etc.
  8. Share the human side of your company. If you’re bothering to tweet, it means you believe social media has value for human connections
  9. Don’t blow your own horn too much
Or, if you do, try to balance it out by promoting others, too.
  10. You don’t have to read every incoming tweet.
  11. To reply to every ‘@’ tweet directed to you.
  12. Use direct messages for 1-to-1 conversations if you feel there’s no value to Twitter at large to hear the conversation.
  13. Use services like ‘Twitter Search’ to make sure you see if someone’s talking about you. Try to participate where it makes sense.
  14. 3rd party clients like Hootsuite and Twhirl make it a lot easier to manage.
  15. If you tweet all day while your co-workers are busy, you’re likely to build some resentment.
  16. If you’re representing clients and billing hours, and tweeting all the time, you will build resentment.
  17. Learn quickly to use the URL shortening tools like TinyURL and all the variants. It helps tidy up your tweets.
  18. 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.
  19. 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

  1. X takes up time.
  2. X takes you away from other productive work.
  3. Without a strategy, it’s just typing.
  4. There are other ways to do this.
  5. X doesn’t replace customer service.
  6. X is buggy and not enterprise-ready.
  7. X is just for nerds.
  8. X’s only a few million people – only!
  9. X doesn’t replace direct email marketing.
  10. X opens the company up to more criticism and griping, but only if customers cannot complaint elsewhere.

Some positives to throw back

  1. X helps one organise great, instant meetups (know as tweetups).
  2. X works well as an opinion poll.
  3. X can help direct people’s attention to good things.
  4. X at events helps people build an instant “backchannel”.
  5. X breaks news faster than other sources.
  6. X gives businesses a glimpse at what status messaging can do for an business.
  7. X brings great minds together, and gives you daily opportunities to learn.
  8. gives your critics a forum, but that means you can study them.
  9. X helps with business development, if your prospects are online.
  10. X 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 X for Business.

Glossary: Blogging, Instant Messaging, Microblogging, Short Messaging Service, Social Media, Tweet, Twitter, X

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