Twitter, the 140 character micro-blogging platform, is all the rage among social media lovers. Using Twitter and a range of ancillary services, businesses of all sizes are quickly disseminating and responding to information and misinformation; sharing special offers; recognizing employees; recruiting new workers; responding to crises and joining the conversation with naysayers and lovers of their products and services.

Are you new to Twitter? Take a look at this short informative video “Twitter in Plain English” to learn more.

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As the Mashable Twitter Guide Book explains:

“As a Twitter user you can post updates, follow and view updates from other users and send a public reply or private direct message to connect with another Twitterer”.

Tweets (the name of the 140 character message) are proliferating and impacting businesses both positively and negatively as consumers generate a wide range of messages and questions from smartphones, Wi-Fi enabled netbooks/laptops or broadband connected desktops at homes or in offices. These tweets can be mined for trends, opportunities, problems; and by adding your own tweets you can join the conversation to support your corporate, marketing, communications and customer service strategies.

If you haven’t discovered Twitter yet, the only way to appreciate what it does is to jump in and set up a Twitter account so that you begin down the path of making sure that your company is ready to use the service. Make sure to select your company name or other brand identifier as your Twitter feed address before someone else “hijacks” the name.

Twitter Bird

 

Twitter Tips for Business

1. Determine your Twitter strategy
If you’re a larger company, consider multiple Twitter feeds to serve different conversational needs and interests – special offers, President chats, customer service, jobs (see TDS), business milestones, new products, new hires, history, industry insights, customer service responses, etc. Develop a list and examples of tweets that you’ll be generating to meet your selected objective.

If you’re a smaller company, you can probably go with a single Twitter account. For some creative examples of how small businesses around the country are using Twitter see “Marketing Small Businesses with Twitter”.

2. Select an official “tweetmaster” and approved staff that can use Twitter for business purposes. Set up Tweeting guidelines, much like you would for other public communications and conversations. Remember that if you have multiple people tweeting, you want to make sure that they are doing so appropriately and in line with your objectives and culture.

3. Decide on the style for your tweets.
Go for warm, friendly and personal if possible. Remember it is a conversation.

4. Make sure that you are listed in Twitter directories.
A couple to consider are Twellow – (http://www.twellow.com/), the Twitter Yellow pages and Twibs.

5. Customize your Twitter background to support your overall brand strategy.
See the Wisconsin Union Theater (http://twitter.com/UnionTheater) and United for examples of custom backgrounds.

6. Monitor what people are saying about you.
To help you track what is being said about your company or organization you can search Twitter on keywords like your company name, competitor’s name, product and brand names etc. and use conversational monitoring tools like TweetFeel  or Tweetbeep for an aggregation of tweets.

7. Benchmark against the big boys and others in your industry.
Among national business leaders in retailing using Twitter as part of their social media strategy are Zappos (now part of Amazon) and Whole Foods.

8. Follow other Twitter feeds and lists.
The more Twitter feeds and lists that you follow, the more followers you are likely to get in return.

9. Retweet (RT) the good tweets that support your business philosophy, strategies or marketing initiatives to spread and validate your message.

10. Promote your Twitter feed on your website, your blogs, your business card, your e-mail signatures and other promotional activities.

11. Read Twitter 101 and/or The Twitter Guide Book to find out more about how Twitter is and can be used in business.

12. Start tweeting and try to tweet a couple of times a day and multiple times a week.

13. Have fun and keep learning and trying new things with Twitter.

Interested in finding out more about e-business and marketing, including Twitter? You can follow me on Twitter @thewebchef. I look forward to connecting!