Twitter for business just makes sense. Why? Twitter instantly connects people everywhere to what is most meaningful to them at that moment. It satisfies our human "instant gratification" needs, and using Twitter for business can help you satisfy your customers' craving for immediacy, as well. We're quite a globally connected species, and with 600,000 people a day creating Twitter accounts, you can hardly doubt that using Twitter for business is a smart response to the popularity of this social channel.
There are lots of reasons to join the conversation on Twitter.
- It makes the world smaller, and makes everyone in it a potential user of your company - "Twitter is a place where one person can help another person anywhere in the world" – Dave Larson, @TweetSmarter
- It's inexpensive and easy to use. There are rules, but they're easy to learn. The most important things you need to do when using Twitter for business are: write in 140 characters or less; use @mentions and #hashtags; and leave some space left over to make retweeting easy for others. This process trains you to see the most important and weed out everything else.
- It's real time and immediate, no waiting. Ask for rapid feedback, do a quick survey. Arab Spring was a perfect illustration of what can happen when news moves quickly through an interested audience. If a political revolution can take place on a social channel, it follows that businesses can also find it beneficial.
- It's predictive–you can spot trouble or leverage good news. Don't let trouble catch you unaware; don't let good news go unnoticed. You'll see issues and be able to take action. All it takes is thoughtful monitoring and intervention.
- It's humanizing–Twitter jumps over corporate speak and stilted business jargon and makes it easy to be a person who is trying to interact. Be genuine, be helpful. Talk person to person.
- It's agile–your message can turn on a dime. Change any messaging you want on Twitter and see the reception in real time. Or float a product idea. You'll get feedback and crowdsourced ideas galore–for free–from people who are really interested in your brand.
- It's a way to inform and enrich–share helpful information. Be a curator of really useful information–information your followers may not have time to find on their own. Your followers will appreciate it, and the authors and subjects of the news you spread will, as well.
- It's versatile, Use Twitter to advertise, build good will, promote your blog content, brainstorm, spot trends....
- It's a great adjunct for customer service. Using a social help desk to quickly to customers online can be a tremendous competitive advantage. If you use Twitter, use it to respond to customers (even if that response is to get them off Twitter and onto email) so you can address their issues.
- It's helpful in a crisis. Update your customers in real time and keep them in the loop when there's an interruption or other timely issue. People really don't expect perfection; they just want to know that you're on top of any situation and will keep them up to date.
- It helps you spot industry trends (and keep an eye on competitors). Ah, competitors–Twitter is a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of what customers want, what you have (or don't have) that they want (or don't want), and get a clear picture of what competitors have put front and center.
- It's great for networking. Surprisingly, people you reach out to on Twitter are just as likely to respond to you there as on email. It's casual, quick, and unfussy to practice a bit of networking this way.
- It's an investment in future business. It's not only your current customers who are keeping an eye on your business–it's prospective customers, too. Give them something to bring them back when they're ready to move forward with your product or service.
- It helps you build your brand. Twitter, just like any other social channel, speaks to your corporate values. It's another way to cement the image of your company as genuine, transparent, and focused on customers.
- It helps you find influencers
- It makes it easy to amplify compliments and promote messages that are important to you. Retweeting complimentary tweets is fine, as long as you don't do it too much. And, when a message comes across your tweetstream that supports what you believe, well, you can send it out again to show you agree.
Build your foundation for Twitter by connecting to others organically. Don't build followers or follow others just to add numbers. A high-quality Twitter presence is a genuine reflection of your business goals. If you are paying attention to the landscape of social business today, watching a whole new generation become powerful customers, you will find it hard to deny that using Twitter for business makes tactical and strategic sense. A follower on Twitter is more likely to buy from you, and more likely to recommend you to others. And that will make any bluebird sing.