Top Twitter Tips for Business: #3 & #4

Taking up from the first Two Top Twitter Tips…here are Tips #3 and #4.

3. Begin with the end in mind. Before you even Tweet your first “hello!!” consider what you want to accomplish on Twitter. Establishing a Twitter presence is as important as voicing your business over any media platform. Before you get started, brainstorm on objectives and decide what you want to achieve. Do you want to:

  • Identify and engage in conversation with a community of, say, developers? Or other partners?
  • Open up a dialog about how people are using products like yours (be sure to provide plenty of insight and info in return)?
  • Shout out to potential customers?
  • Be open, transparent and collaborative about the business you are building.
  • Or???

Each of these possibilities is achievable on Twitter, but each would require a unique approach and very different actions.

To attract customers, developers or other partners, search Twitter and TweetScan for key words, then check out some profiles, “Follow” and send requests to be followed back (see Ten Top Twitter Tips). Then, you might start sharing updates on what’s happening in-house: your dev process, insights to your platform or roadmap, links to related media or products. Put a passionate technical person, support team member, or exec (but only one, or it will get spammy!) out there and have them build a dialog. Look at how JetBlue does this. It’s awesome.

JetBlue\'s Twitter Profile Page

Business-to-business can work, too. (disclosure: I’ve done some work for them) Tweets well. So do big bloggers. Visit Mashable, TechCrunch, Technorati, VentureBeat, and SocialTimes and see how they do it. You’ll note different styles, but you’ll get a sense of what might work for you.

If you’re looking to build buzz and energy around a persona or product, keep your content fresh and lively: good enough that people wanted to share it—and they won’t with spam. Highlight milestones, meetings, news and ask your community to submit their own. Tell people how things are going with your work. Highlight use cases and showcase PR. Put an exec out there and build some buzz around that.

MCHammer does this well, working his celebrity, staying in touch with tech glitterati, and keeping DanceJam in the limelight while he’s at it.

Shouting out to potential customers would probably require you to offer online promotions and incentives, along with a call to share them virally. Zappos showcases this Twitter style.

Open, transparent, collaborative sharing? Go on with a slow, steady build in mind, and lots of ideas, question-asking, dialog about things related to your business objectives. I was looking for a good example of this, but then it hit me—this is how most people use Twitter. See for yourself: here’s my Twitter profile. Hang out for a while, ask questions, follow up on updates. You’ll get the feeling. It’s a great place for open dialog.

In summary: think about how you would want to talk with potential customers—and non-customers—if you showed up in a room full of users and prospects and had time to talk. What would you want to ask them, tell them, learn from them about how they would, or would not, use your product? Imagine that scenario shaping over time and use that as your objective as you step out on Twitter.

4. Integrating. If you’re committing to Twitter, treat it as you would a phone number or email address. Integrate it into whatever online and offline activities involve customer connection. Add your Twitter profile URL to your email signatures and put the URL on social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn; ask others who work with you to do the same. Integrate Twitter as a badge, a feed, or even to suggest a viral Tweet on your Web site in a way that lets your community know you’re there, and “Follow” if they wish.

Remember, you probably won’t get a huge following at first—but you’ll begin a process that will go with time, that might align you with some good partners and that will probably become a source of good information. Mention Twitter if you’re visiting customers or speaking at conferences; better yet, live Tweet from your mobile, as appropriate, when you’re in the spotlight, and ask others in the room to Tweet on your behalf. Add your Twitter profile URL to handouts or presentations and ask people to follow.

If you’re going to be on Twitter, use it to differentiate and to add value to your exchange with customers, partners, and the expanded community. With time, you’ll get the traction you’re looking for.

Next: Tips #5 & #6: “One Voice Only” and “Tweet Often.”


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