How to use Twitter in Business?

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a mini-blogging site that is used to share simple ideas, thoughts and news amongst virtual connections.

How does it work?

Twitter works on a simple concept of social chatter. You write something that is short and simple and let other people on your network read it. If they find it interesting, they converse with you or share your update with their contacts.

Why is it important?

It can easily disseminate information about a product, news or event in a fast and cost effective manner.

What should I Tweet about?

You can tweet about anything that is relevant to your social network. Remember Twitter is about conversing – so unless you are a hot-shot celebrity, no one really cares to listen to your monologue. So what you tweet about has a lot to do with your Twitter objective.

What is your Twitter Objective?

It’s important to understand what you want out of your tweeting effort.  You need to prioritize your goals and work towards them. Some typical objectives are:

  • Shaping company/product brand
  • Part of overall PR strategy
  • Lead Generation/driving up sales
  • Reading news/events/hot topics
  • Publishing news/events/hot topics
  • Engaging/socializing with customers
  • Offering customer service

Twitter Strategy

After you’ve figured out your objective, you need to work on an implementation strategy. Are you working towards a quality network where you are close with your contacts or a large lose network? A good idea is to try a hybrid approach that delivers your objectives.

Who do I follow?

  • Existing customers and Potential customers
  • Competitors and Partners
  • Industry related organizations
  • Influencer bloggers, reporters and news outlets related to your industry
  • Social heavy weights and trend setters on Twitter

What Twitter metrics should I monitor?

  • Followers: This showcases the social importance of a Twitter account.  All the important brands (famous people, big companies, news publishers, etc) have followers in the hundreds of thousands.
  • Lists: The number of lists indicates social influence. The higher the number, the more influential the Twitter account.
  • Following: This indicates how many other twitter accounts are being followed. A small number means that the Twitter account is not interested in expanding his/her social network too much.
  • Following to Followers Ratio: A lot of accounts on Twitter are used for spamming. They tend to follow a lot of people and not many people follow them. This ratio indicates if the account is a possible spammer or not.
  • Updates: A high number of updates indicate how active that account is. Active accounts are good to add to your social network.

Common Twitter-Speak

  • Updates: Everytime you share a new message with your network, you make an update. An update can be seen by everyone and is public.
  • Direct Messages: Direct Messages are personal messages that a user can send to another.
  • @ Replies: These are public messages that are directed towards a user. They are posted as a regular update. Example: “@TargetInfoLabs Good day. Thanks for your Twitter suggestions. Loved em!”
  • # Topic Tags: Hash tags indicate a topic on Twitter. This is useful in ensuring your tweet is found by others interested in the topic. Example: “Who’s going to #InterOP this year? How do you expect the show to be?”
  • RT (ReTweets): To tweet something that has already been tweeted once before. It’s ok to rephrase the tweet if you are running low on characters. Example: “RT @Zaki_Usman Pride comes before a fall via @TargetInfoLabs”

Tips and Tricks

  • Update as often as possible, without going overboard. The more active the account the more valuable it is – but don’t make irrelevant tweets that no one cares about.
  • Use Twitter mobile apps to make updates from remote locations. Just make sure your updates are relevant to your network.
  • Use the ReTweet feature. It helps converse with your network.
  • Send a welcome note to any new followers. There are tools that will automate this for you.
  • Add new followers who are relevant to your industry, business and geographic location on a weekly basis.

How do I promote my Twitter Profile?

  • Add your Twitter profile on your website and blogs.
  • Link your Twitter profile with LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networking sites.
  • Add your twitter profile in your email/forum signatures.
  • Don’t be shy to run contests on Twitter (especially if its a corporate profile).

Additional reading materials

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Zaki Usman

Hello, I'm the founder and CEO at ShoutEx. I like to blog about marketing, mobile and web topics. Feel free to connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Comments (3)

  • Avatar

    Dieter K

    |

    What type of tool would you suggest? Is Tweetdeck any good for Android?

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Tess Gibbler

    |

    Twitter is useful, but Facebook is even better. I recently read that Facebook Like is more important than a Tweet. So I think business can benefit more by using Facebook and not just Twitter.

    Reply

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