A Twitter Primer for Business

The social network known as Twitter has been around for a while now. At first it seemed quirky and trendy. After all, who would want to read and write in 140 -character constraints? It turns out, millions are, all around the world! People have a lot to say! We have been forging this new territory for a few clients with a surprising amount of success. In so doing, I’m here to tell you that it’s not going away and it has many potential applications for business.

As with everything, what appears simple has nuances to it that can spell success or failure as a business tool. There is a learning curve and there is a “ramp-up” period. These two impediments require you to learn and have a healthy amount of patience on hand. Twitter is nothing more than a wide-open forum. You know forums. They have been around since, well, before the internet. Remember BBS? Forums are the purest form of “people power” aka user generated content.

It’s been proven the internet is here to stay and social networking plays a major role and Twitter is a major player in social networking it could be time to get started with it at your business. It makes a lot of sense to have a company like ours get you started and headed in the right direction. This can phase into a coaching role if the client wants to take a more active role later.

But if you want to do it yourself, here is our short list of getting started at Twitter:

1) Set up an account for the business and one for yourself personally. Say whatever you feel like saying on your personal account. Stay focused on what it is you are doing with your business account.

2) We recommend that you use your logo for your icon that identifies you in various places on Twitter. A decision has to be made as to what to call your business. If your business name is very short it makes sense to use it. If not, what do you offer in two short words.

3) The #1 goal for being on twitter is to acquire an audience of people who are interested in what you offer and secondarily as a touchstone for existing customers. You never stop trying to acquire followers. They represent your audience and the “core” or your reach in this medium. There are a variety of ways to find an audience.

4) From a community standpoint you are here as the representative of your company. Available to answer questions and help with challenges and problems. So it’s important to set up various keyword terms to keep track of conversations going on. By “listening” to the conversation you will find questions you can answer and problems you can help solve. Plus, by spending your time listening, if someone has a complaint or question about your company or its products, you will be there to help sort it out.

5) This is not somewhere you just go and shout out loud catchy 140 character advertising messages. That does not mean you cant engage in selling. It means you have to gain credibility in the community before you include your message. Learn how to ReTweet (RT) other people. Learn how to join in the “Follow days” like #Travel Tuesday or #Follow Friday. Bring value to the table every time you post a tweet and never post more than 1 tweet every 15 minutes. All of these little things help show you respect your audience and contribute much more than make more advertising noise.

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