I get asked by just every client “Can Twitter benefit my business”. The short answer is “yes”.

Twitter started as a social network allowing people to communicate socially in 140 characters or less, but businesses are increasingly using it to engage with people who might be interested in their product or service. However, it’s not a channel to be used for direct selling.

“If there’s no measurable ROI why tweet at all” is a question I’m often asked by business owners. My answer varies, depending on the type of business but could be along the lines of one of the following:

  • Because you can connect and seek to engage with people on a much more personal level than through broadcasting alone. They, in time, may help you reach a wider audience of people.
  • Because it’s a less time consuming networking activity than trailing around lots of face-to-face networking events.
  • Because you can continue to engage with people you’ve met face-to-face at Networking events and can keep the conversation going.
  • Because you can identify and follow your competitors and monitor what they’re doing.

So how do you start?

You could come along to a Workshop and learn alongside others all asking the same question “Can Twitter benefit my business”?

Twitter can definitely benefit a business if you can develop a personality people respond to, as in life. Whether your Twitter input is actually best to be you, or you from behind a company logo is debatable. There’s a school of thought that suggests that the “real person” is preferable, to which I tend to agree. However, I’ve seen businesses use Twitter effectively using a corporate persona, but it is a little more challenging.

Success is a lot about “personality” and it’s important to follow basic rules of etiquette. I advise clients to “keep it nice” and “don’t tweet when you’re p’d up or p’d off”.

Twitter can be fun, but it’s also public with a capital P. Watch what you say doesn’t insult anyone or the consequences can be unpleasant. Only this week I tweeted an offer of a virtual cup of tea and a biscuit to someone who had had become embroiled in an unpleasant interchange with some “celeb” I’d never heard of, but obviously thought their celeb status counted in the stakes of  “my viewpoint matters more than yours”.

Tweet wisely, tweet well and you’ll be rewarded with a growing band of followers who are actually interested in what you’re tweeting about. “Build it and they will come” may well be true in terms of gaining growing numbers of followers over time. However, if they’re not interested in what you’re about, hoping you’ll just follow them back, then it’s unlikely to provide much in terms of ongoing engagement.

Finally, in answer to the question “so what’s best practice for using Twitter” , I would suggest:

  • Consider the online personality for your company or brand, before you start.
  • Ask questions to provoke engagement
  • Respond to questions to create engagement
  • Comment on other tweets, especially positively. They may retweet that to their followers, who could be many!
  • Retweet (RT) tweets you find amusing, interesting or you think would be valuable to your followers.
  • Share news/useful information about your business sector.
  • Keep people up to date with what’s going on in your own business.
  • Thank people who RT your tweets, follow you or mention you in their tweets.
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