The use of twitter for business is one which has been widely debated in recent years but the micro-blogging site has fast become a prerequisite for engaging with customers and potential customers online if you operate in a B2C market.
How businesses should use twitter though is not a simple question to answer. There is no blue print and no one size fits all solution. There are many considerations as to how you should use twitter some of the first being:
- What sector or industry you operate in?
- Are your customers on twitter and what are they tweeting about?
- How much resource have you got to manage the account?
- Are your competitors on twitter?
- Do you have a corporate identity you want to portray?
There are a lot of business to business (B2B) companies which may see no use for twitter. If their customers are not engaging in discussion about their products and services on the platform then it may not be worthwhile. That said just because the contracting company isn’t, the decision maker may be. So if you sell broadband services the customer company might not be on twitter, but the IT manager might. So do your research and think about who might be there who you want to engage with.
Your twitter persona
Some companies, like smoothie company Innocent, take a very tongue in cheek approach to twitter. They have a persona for their brand and tweet out jokes and engage with individuals in a fun and engaging manner. But not everyone is Innocent. They get away with it by being amusing, and because nobody is really deciding whether to buy a smoothie or not based on their feed. Aside from an offline PR disaster there is not much risk to them tweeting in this way.
If you are an accounting firm I wouldn’t suggest you take the same approach. Twitter should be used to portray your professional capabilities, case studies, tips and advice. Nobody wants to see their accountant tweeting out funny cat gifs!
If you have a twitter account, you can be pretty sure at some point it will get customer service enquiries. A lot of companies have benefited from this as it reduces burden on a call centre and can be used to provide very quick simple answers to questions. It can also be used to generate sales when a customer may be enquiring about a product or service.
The worst thing you can do in these instances is not respond. Back to the question about resource you need to make sure you have enough in place to answer any queries that come through. Even if it is just to direct the customer in the direction of your support line or into their nearest store.
Feel your way through it
The best advice I can give you is get going and feel your way into it. Make sure you keep on top of the account and tweet every now and then. See if people engage with you first, before going head long into any discussions that may be going on as once in, it is difficult to retract.
Once you have played around a bit decide whether it works for you and your businesses. Many companies have great success with twitter but they also invest time and effort over an extended period of time to do so. Good luck!