You are not hep if you are not on Twitter. Talk to any social media expert and they will tell you all the right reasons to be on Twitter.
But, before you go full speed on Twitter, understand what can you do with Twitter and what homework needs to be taken care of, in order to achieve the results.
Twitter Guide for Businesses – The What and Why of Twitter
Why Tweet? Forget about all your personal stories, why would a corporate tweet? Here are some of the salient points that companies need to understand before talking in 140 characters.
Conversation with potential/existing customers/window shoppers
Twitter is not a system where you can publish your rss feeds and get away. It’s a two-way road which enables you to converse with your customers and at the same time, open oneself to customer feedback/questions.
Homework – Who in your company can walk the talk? Marketing team? PR? Figure out, before you go down this road. What about senior management? Are they willing to invest some amount of time in sharing insights/tidbits of the company?
Monitoring Brand Activity
Who is talking about your brand? What and when are they talking about you? For instance, if you are Van Heusen, are you following the B-school conversation during campus recruitment ? Can you sell your products to them?
Homework – Does your marketing analytics team has enough resources to track these conversations? To filter noise and how closely they work with sales (we are talking about turn-around-time here)?
Track Competition/Sell Products
What are they talking about your competition? Good/Bad? Can you pitch in when somebody talks bad things about your competition?
More specifically, who is talking about your competition? Is it the CIO (maybe, he is about to decide against you in favor of your competition? ) Can you pitch to him before he nails the final decision?
Homework : You need a SME (subject matter expert) or pre-sales team to handle some of this. Somebody who understands the topic being discussed and can converse in the same language as your client.
Track Industry News?
One of the smartest ways to use Twitter is to track industry news (subscribe to keywords), in order to get a feel of ‘what’s happening’. For instance, some of the corporate use Twitter to decide on their research subjects (i.e. whitepapers).
Homework : Who in the org can work on this? Before you start working out the signal/noise ratio, figure out the research strategy (which area/who are the researches etc).
As far as news is concerned, it’s alright for personal consumption, but what is the final output after listening to all the news (chit/chat) on Twitter? A weekly newsletter? Decide.
What if you start sharing news related to your industry on Twitter? Be it your competition, but how about a aggregator of sort?
Homework: Highly advisable, but ensure that you know ‘who and why’ are you doing this.
Support only if you can. Very few companies are able to successfully use Twitter for support purpose – point that needs to be noted here is that Twitter is not a just another support channel. It’s far more personal (and open) than any other existing channel (i.e. telephone/web) and you cannot afford to screw up @twitter.
Homework: Have you figured out your Twitter support strategy? Why do you want to support consumers on Twitter, when there is already a queue of support tickets waiting for your attention. It’s always great to please consumers, but ensure that you have a support strategy planned out (wanna triage tweets?).
Share company culture/HR
This is one of the most important aspect of being present in Twitter. Look at some of the companies (e.g. pinstorm) and how they talk about new hires/company culture. The important part to understand here is that if your employees are happy and you strongly believe that you have a unique work culture/style, let the floodgates open.
Get your employees to talk about the parties etc..but ensure that the primary condition (i.e. happy employees)is met. How do you measure results? See if potential hires tell you ‘I just love your co. culture…am dying to see that your cafeteria graffiti that you guys talk about on Twitter’..blah..blah!
Homework: Zappos does a great job of support + sharing culture – and that’ because twitter like conversation is part of the company DNA. If you do not have a fun-filled culture, why bother yourself?
The point I am trying to emphasize here is that Twitter looks like a sexy service to use (just because everybody is saying so), but as a corporate, a lot of things are at stake when you open yourself to public.
So before you do that, do your homework. Do not jump in, just because everybody is doing so. You might end up as the first casualty, i.e. a case study everybody will tweet about!.
And at the same time, do not wait for the right time/team to get your twitter experience started!
If you are a corporate and would like to continue the discussion, you can email me [ashish at pluGGd.in] [You can also folllow @pluGGdin on Twitter]
Next in the series: How smart businesses use Twitter.