Twitter has taken hold. Whether you like it or not, there are 18 million people who actively tweet (once per month). Some of these tweets are complete garbage, while others are pure gold. Some Twitter users who are producing gold, believe it or not, are actually businesses. Previously the large majority of Twitter users were individuals, however, companies are now understanding that Twitter is a cost effective and efficient way to reach those interested in their products/services, and they aren’t wasting precious time twiddling their thumbs thinking about how to engage – they are already locked, loaded and are encroaching upon enemy (competitor) lines as we speak. That means you. Your competitors are already tweeting, and if they aren’t, it’s a great opportunity for you to be the first.
Twitter gives businesses the power to establish relationships and build brand awareness faster than ever before. By simply starting and joining conversations via Twitter, a company can quickly establish credibility and gain loyal customers. How do they do this? They are providing real value to their followers by publishing tweets talking about new product developments, company news, product info, special deals, giveaways, breaking news, customer service and much more. Being able to generate awareness and brand loyalty using a simple 140 character tweet can be more powerful than a multi-million dollar marketing campaign. For example, look at what Best Buy and Comcast are doing with their Twelpforce and Comcast Cares Twitter accounts. They are building consumer confidence by quickly answering and assisting those that need help. Customer service has become a lost art, and Twitter is bringing sexxy back (that might be overboard, but couldn’t resist). Starbucks is another example. They are using Twitter in an interesting way to help generate excitement about their brand. They recently hid large ads around 6 different cities and asked their Twitter followers to find the ads, take a picture and post it via Twitter. This is a great way to get your brand in front of a large number of folks, very quickly. Now granted, this did cost Starbucks a lot of dough to put together, but the point is a major corporation is utilizing Twitter and doing something fun and interesting.
On the flip side, however, Twitter can also have a negative impact on your business. Social media isn’t a place to sit back and relax. Companies must be very active in engaging, as well as monitoring their efforts and conversations taking place. If Twitter, and other social media sites, aren’t being monitored, it’s a pretty safe bet that someone is talking poorly about your brand and/or products. Before these negative comments have any chance to gain momentum and snowball, a company should be jumping in to provide their perspective, and hopefully clear up any misinformation being said. If a company chooses to do nothing, potentially thousands, if not millions, of people will hear a one-sided story that may end up damaging your business so badly that it will take years and millions of dollars to recover.
Unfortunately there are many, many businesses that jump into Twitter, and social media in general, without understanding how to do it. If you do it incorrectly, you may end up damaging your reputation and credibility even more, so it is extremely important to first understand the etiquette associated with social media sites. Since this post has focused on Twitter, I’ve listed several Twitter faux pas that businesses (actually everybody) need to keep in mind while tweeting. By ignoring the below, you’ll wind up with a Twitter account that has no followers, and you’ll be talking to yourself. In my mind, that’s a waste of time and resources – and a bit crazy.
- Overtweeting – you will lose your follower base very quickly if you inundate them with too many worthless tweets
- Tweet stealing – you must never take someone else’s tweet and turn it into your own without giving them the proper credit
- Snubbing – this one is debatable but general Twitter etiquette says you should follow someone if they are following you, unless this person has broken either of the above
- Hashtag abuse – don’t start creating random hashtags to be clever or witty, it doesn’t do you any good
- Unfollow trickery – don’t unfollow someone once they’ve started following you as this is bad Twitter etiquette
- Confidential information sharing – be careful not to divulge too much company information if it can be damaging
- Deception – don’t pretend to be somebody you’re not
- Ego Tweeting – don’t tweet just about you, your company and products as Twitter’s real value is in conversations and relationships
If there are other faux pas you want to add to the list, please feel free to do so in the comment section.