Nope, Twitter is most definitely not just for letting people know what you had for dinner last night or who you thought was the best dressed at the Oscars. Businesses are rapidly incorporating social media into their marketing strategies, and Twitter - the micro blogging service with millions of users worldwide - is by no means being left out of the game. Whether you're a one-man shop or a big corporation, social media for business can be the way that you connect with your current or potential clients, and Twitter is a quick, easy and increasingly popular way to do this. If there are people out there that have an interest in what you do or what you offer, the Internet allows them to look for this, and by using social media with interesting content and a little marketing, your Twitter account could be where they choose to get what they want.
Hatching the egg
So how can make Twitter work for your business? Firstly, the simple act of creating an account and maintaining regular posts will enhance your brand and name. Not only are you showing the public that you are ‘on trend' and savvy to the newest online technology and ideas, but by giving yourself a place in amongst the online community, you are positioning yourself for more interaction and more relationship building - which can't hurt, can it? The idea is that customers (or potential customers) will visit your Twitter to not only follow your progress and see what's new and what your offering, but will interact with you with feedback - both positive and negative. That way, your using of social media means you can respond quickly with a solution to mend that relationship, rather than the alternative, which may very well be that disgruntled customer posting slander about you all over other public forums. And you don't want that.
The big bosses
A major business using Twitter to their advantage is US home-wares giant Home Depot. Their Twitter account is run by a PR spokesperson and two customer care consultants, who do three things: respond to posts, offer solutions to common problems, and give general commentary on issues relating to their industry. With just under 19,000 followers, this is one business that is using Twitter to connect with their customers, securing loyal relationships by doing so. As a result, Home Depot is being praised in online forums for its' attentive customer service and prompt responses to customer problems. What this ultimately means, is that Home Depot have now established themselves as a reliable, customer-focused business that is using social media, at the same time as putting themselves in the rare position to monitor what is being said about their company in a public forum. This is what social media for business can do. All thanks to Twitter.
Doing it for the right reasons
So really, you need to be using Twitter for a variety of things. Try to avoid merely posting tweet upon tweet about your latest product or award, as people can visit your company website to see what you have to offer. What you need to do is get involved in the discussion - whether you're starting that discussion or responding to someone else. This is the interaction that Twitter fans are after - people want their voices heard, and if you are a company that not only listens but responds, you are on your way to Twitter success. When it comes to social media for business and who manages it, you may choose to do it personally - indeed, perhaps your Twitter account will be under your own name rather than the company's, as a representative of the business. An example of this is iQuantum's CEO Rob Lawson, who can be found at Twitter under roblawson. Or you may have a general company Twitter and have someone within responsible for maintaining it.
Another way businesses are weaving Twitter use into their work lives is internal collaboration - that is, using Twitter as a way to communication with employees and colleagues, especially when it comes to general office business and issues that apply to the whole company. Rather than sending email after email, many are finding it easier to send instant tweets, especially when sending simple reminders or updates. Remember, you can choose who can view your tweets. Using social media for business, and Twitter as a company communication network, can create a sense of unity within a team too, in turn boosting team morale. Sound simple enough.
Tweet and progress
Twitter is the ultimate base for terrific communication between a company and their public. You can interact directly with your customers, maintaining that all-important customer relationship management. Plus it's a bit like having a stage set up for you with a microphone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with a constant crowd of people all interested in your company, waiting to hear what you have to say next - whether that's answering a query, or promoting a new product, service or special. Not only that but you can also monitor what is happening in your competitors' quarters, ensuring you're on top of new issues and concepts as they arise. The best thing, it's all instant. Using social media for business means there is no waiting around for a monthly newsletter or even a routine blog entry - Twitter is the place to be for instant interaction that will boost your business. So what are you waiting for - get your Twitter on.