I’ve been using Twitter for a while now, and I’ve used it mainly to connect with friends, bloggers, and geeks alike. Although it’s not ubiquitous, it is slowly becoming more and more popular among celebrities, scholars, politicians, and journalists. As more people are starting to spotlight Twitter, it’s inevitable the marketplace is also starting taking advantage of it. Businesses are starting to pay attention to it. There are successful companies on Twitter, such as Zappos, South West Airlines, and Comcast. However, since Twitter is such a new medium, most companies don’t know where or how to start.
I maintained marketing web sites for more than 11 years. I learned the process a company must do to succeed in marketing their product on the Internet. Twitter’s approach to product marketing is fundamentally similar to a web site promotion, with a few unique differences:
- Have management, or executive level approval. It will serve as an insurance, or a due dilligence, if you will, in case something goes wrong and the finger-pointing starts.
- Form a social media committee. Choose the right people to handle Twitter updates. If possible, choose folks who understand Internet Social Media.
- Set an engagement policy. Everyone’s must be clear on what information (and when) to share with the public.
- Have direct lifeline to the support teams, both technical and business, to escalate difficult questions. These questions need not be handled on Twitter, but can be taken offline via phone, or e-mail.
- Create a professional looking Twitter profile. Update the Twitter profile’s background picture to include company logos, or brand images.
- Twitter updates (or tweets) must contain only useful information. Tweets must have value. A good example is OC Register’s @ocreggie. They hand picked the articles posted on Twitter. The human attention to detail is important.
- Start slow, and not rush into getting thousands of followers right away. Followers will come when they see the company’s updates are important to them.
The above are steps in the right direction for a business to adopt Twitter as its new communication and customer service tool. There are other suggestions on how companies can succeed with Twitter. There are also questions to ask if Twitter is right for corporations. Either way, when business takes Twitter seriously, it will reap the benefits, and work out the disadvantages. As long as it focuses on providing creative and valuable information, using Twitter is going to feel natural and easy.