Top Twitter Tips for Business: #7 & #8

Have you noticed a rise in business press exploring the benefits of using Twitter? Business Week just joined the wave of Twitter promoters with a recent blog post announcing “Why Twitter Matters:”

Businesses such as H&R Block (HRB) and Zappos are now using Twitter to respond to customer queries. Market researchers look to it to scope out minute-by-minute trends. Media groups are focusing on Twitterers as first-to-the-scene reporters. (They were on top of the May 12 China earthquake within minutes.) Loads of new applications and services are growing around the Twitter platform, leading some to suggest that the microblogging service could become a powerhouse in social media.

“Responding to customer queries” is part of it, as you already know if you’ve read tips #1 & #2, #3 & #4, and #5 & #6. But these next two tips focus on building visibility for the conversations you create on Twitter, so that you attract and keep “Followers”…people who choose to add your Updates to the stream that fills their Twitter Screen.

7. Open up and integrate your Twitter presence. When you are as committed to a Twitter presence as you are to a mobile number or an email address, then it’s time to get the word out.

Reference your Twitter profile link in your blog, email signatures, newsletters, biz cards, more—anywhere you’d include that phone number or email address. Add a Twitter badge to your page or blog (from Twitter’s directory of “how to” hints) so that visitors can follow you on Twitter. Ribbit.com’s blog features a Twitter stream and “follow” button, and it has definitely generated followers. Remember, Twitter hasn’t quite yet broken out to the masses, so don’t give up if you don’t get tons of uptake.

Guy Kawasaki (follow him on Twitter) has written an in-depth post on his experiences with Twitter as a traffic driver. Recommended reading.

If you are committed to entering the social conversation, you want Twitter in your outreach and community-building efforts. Over time: “if you build it, they will come.”

8. Give more than you take. Offer information. Ask questions. Make offers. Be generous. Please don’t look at Twitter as yet another advertising platform. If you’re blasting, spamming, or overtly marketing, you will be “outed” by the collective, and you will lose followers. Beyond that, you’ll miss opportunity to build, and learn from, a Twitter community.

Watch some business Twitter mastery (a “Getting Started on Twitter” guide) in action here, once again from Zappos’ CEO. Note that he also is open about the list of Zappos employees who also Tweet and a few other juicy tidbits that are worth navigating through. How does this open up conversations and increase Zappos’ visibility…and credibility? What from this example might help your business begin a dialog with users, potential customers, and other people you can learn from?

Your Twitter activity will work best if it comes from a place of authentically wanting to communicate something that matters: your value to your users; tips and inspirations for using your product or service; a genuine desire to understand your customer community and deliver a relevant product or service to them.

Next: Twitter Tips for Business #9 & #10. Stay tuned!

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