Monday, July 13

How can Twitter benefit my business?

So, I’ve been getting the question rather often: Have you found any good use for Twitter? Phh. I ask, “How much time do you have?”

So often, we get stuck looking at the big picture. I find this a lot when I review resumes and cover letters. People tell me: “I was only a camp counselor” or “I just worked at a convenient store.” After a little prodding (courtesy of my reporter days), I help them indentify some of the obvious. That job as a camp counselor had you looking out for the health and well being of 25 children. That position at the convenience store had you handling the owner’s deposits and withdrawals for 10 years. Doesn’t that count for something? It sure does.

Twitter is the same way. I’m asked: “How can you get your message across in 140 characters or less?” Hmm. My response: “What’s to say you need to have your message on Twitter? Why not at a blog or your website?” That’s when a light bulb comes on. Twitter for businesses has a variety of great uses.

Take, for example, Ford. Their social media guru sets up discussions with the CEO on a somewhat regular basis and opens it up for the world to ask him questions. Kind of on a big scale, I know, but you get the point.

The key to starting any great social media experience is listening. What are people in your field/people who are your customers talking about? If need be (and the situation calls for it), interact. Follow them on Twitter and 7 times out of 10, they will follow you. Online conversations are much like offline conversations. You see someone at the same function as you, you want to know why they chose to be there. With Twitter, you want to know why they are asking what they are asking and if you could be of assistance.

After listening and taking an interest, use your account to promote “off-Twitter” content. Send a teaser with a link… much like a headline in a newspaper. For example: Chicago’s best food listed here. Did ur fave make it? In 80 characters, I’ve teased the reader and shot them to my website. That’s good once in a while. Do that too much and people will turn your “follow” button off.

Be human. Give some real-life experiences. There’s flexibility with your brand on social networking sites like Twitter, facebook and more. Have fun with it, but don’t get too carried away. No one wants to see their beautician doing a keg stand last weekend through twitpics. Let them know you have a human side, a sense of humor and a family. People are more receptive to those they can relate to.

We have barely scratched the surface here, but I’m hoping you get the picture… even if it’s the little one!

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