What 'tweeting' can do for business, here are the keys to using Twitter.
For those who don't know: Twitter's a micro-blogging site that allows
users to communicate with each other in 140 characters or less. Think
of each "tweet" as a text or instant message -- not really directed at
anyone but visible to everyone. And those who want to follow particular
people's tweets can simply subscribe to their feed for real-time
But don't mistake it for a fluke: In the last year, Twitter traffic
has multiplied almost 15 times over, with more than 37.3 million unique
global visitors in May, according to comScore. And as tweeting becomes
hotter, companies feel more pressure to join the social-networking tool
in order to stay competitive. But many are struggling to understand
Twitter culture and, as a result, their tweets can come off as desperate
or inadvertently turn away potential customers.
So to help you avoid any Twitter faux pas and maximize your tweeting
potential, here are five rules for using this social networking tool
that'll keep your company ahead of the competition.
1. It's a two-way conversation
Well, don't let that persona take over your Twitter
feed. Remember to listen. Too many businesses are just blasting out
press releases over and over again -- or worse, have an automated
tweeting system and wind up ignoring communication from their followers.
That's the worst mistake you can make on Twitter,
"It's like these companies are standing out on a mountaintop with a
megaphone broadcasting how wonderful they are, but Twitter is an
intercom, not a megaphone."
Uuse Twitter regularly, and consider
assigning a specific person to tweet on a daily basis. This way,
companies can follow users who mention their business, engage users
through direct messages, and actually build relationships with
followers, rather than inundate them with information.
2. Your Twitter and company voice should sound the same
Twitter may be a casual medium, but that doesn't mean your company
has to be casual about it. Businesses should do what makes the most
sense for their brands, experts say.
The key? Make sure that your Twitter voice reflects your company
Twitter is all about transparency, so it's important to be authentic
when you tweet so that your company's personality -- whatever it is --
comes through clearly. Comm likens the Twitter experience to a
water-cooler conversation: Being relatable and fun is crucial, but
staying true to your company's core values matters most.
3. Tweet to attract and retain customers
Twitter can boost customer service to a new level, In a recent
correspondence with a customer on Twitter, Comcast tweeted the same
questions a representative would ask on a technical support hotline and
received answers via Twitter. But instead of leaving the customer on
hold for hours, Comcast was able to identify the problem immediately and
send out a technician.
Consumers are impressed -- and often surprised -- by a company that
openly and directly addresses customer-service problems. Twitter allows
businesses, big and small, to take that extra step whether it's about
complaints or simple product queries. For example, Take Zettler
Hardware, the oldest hardware store in Columbus, Ohio, which fields
questions on common plumbing problems on Twitter, often responding to
photos uploaded on Twitter (Twitpics), and replies with recommendations
for replacement parts and repair strategies.
This kind of instant and robust customer service builds loyalty
that's hard to come by through traditional methods, says Rodney Rumford,
co-founder of TweetPhoto. "The biggest sin," he says, "is being
4. Twitter's just the first step
While Twitter should be part of any savvy company's daily marketing,
it's only the beginning of a successful social-networking strategy.
"Twitter is a way to get your foot in the door," Rumford says. "It's the
start to building a relationship."
For business-to-business companies, Twitter's a great way to network.
easily lead to formal business meetings -- and
eventually, company growth.
5. Have fun and be creative
The very nature of Twitter -- attracts users with a short-attention span, so the
best tweets keep users coming back. Interactivity can be a great way to
do that: Auntie Anne's and Dairy Queen ask customers about their
favorite pretzel dips or Blizzard flavors through tweets, while at Home
Depot (HD), confused shoppers can tweet for help as they search the aisles for particular products.
Twitter's GPS function can also point businesses in the right
direction. Cupcake Stop, a New York cupcake truck company, tweets its
location to customers as it moves throughout Manhattan, and Union
Pacific (UNP) lets fans track a historic steam engine road-trip across America.
The experts agree there's no right way to use Twitter, but with these
strategies, you won't tweet the wrong way. Time to start the
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