This is a primer for people within organizations looking for practical ways to use Twitter in a business context.
As part of my onboarding series, this guide highlights five ways organizations can start using Twitter right away. I suspect other organizations will relate to a lot of the same challenges we’ve faced at Softchoice in terms of seeing Twitter as a legitimate business tool. (Hint: it is!)
Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you and like-minded people find interesting. Twitter is based on 140-character messages called Tweets that people share in real-time.
1. Be a Voyeur
You can get a lot of value from Twitter without signing in or creating an account. Spend the first few days at search.twitter.com looking for things you’re interested in – brands, news sources, vendor partners, customers, prospects – and even your co-workers. Then search for the topics, ideas and pain-points you discuss every day with your customers – you might be surprised what you find.
2. Follow People and Create Lists
Once you’ve found interesting accounts to read, follow them. When you do, you subscribe to their tweets. This also means their updates will appear in your timeline.
You can also create lists of people you follow. For example, you might make a list of co-workers or vendor partners. You also might make a list of your customers, news sources, like industry pundits and news/media. You can share these lists publicly, or keep them private. Over time, you may feel like some accounts just make noise. You can always unfollow someone – that’s okay! The idea is to only follow accounts that you find interesting and bring value to you.
3. Share and Reshare
As a thought leader, you share smart things with your customers every day. so post links to things you you feel are awesome. Stuff like your opinions, articles, solutions to customer problems, and business success stories.
Your challenge is striking the right balance between personal and work stuff. And when you find something that’s worth spreading, reshare it by retweeting it. How often should you tweet? You should tweet only when you have something interesting to say, or are engaging others in conversation.
4. Reach Out and @ Someone
People say lots of things on Twitter, and sometimes you want to say something back. You’ll get the most enjoyment and satisfaction from Twitter when you engage in meaningful exchanges with other people.
So when you’re ready to mention or reply to someone: Be authentic. Be respectful. Be responsible.
These three principles protect your company’s brand and the reputations of your vendors, partners and customers while enabling everyone to share and learn from each other.
5. Take Twitter With You
Twitter is ideal for staying connected with people on the go. Use free or paid twitter apps for mobile devices like iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile to collaborate and update your status wherever you are. View, post and reply to messages, manage your lists and even perform searches.
Here’s a handy version of this post as a presentation. Feel free to use and download it. You can make it full-screen by clicking on the icon in the bottom-right corner of the slideshare embed.