It is no secret that most companies are looking at how they are going to engage in social media if they haven’t already. It seems that one of the biggest sticking points for many companies is how to use a corporate twitter account. They know it is being used by a number of businesses successfully, but they can’t get past viewing it as a means of sending meaningless trivia. A comment I have heard often is “Why do my customers care that I had a cup of coffee at Starbucks?” The answer, perhaps a little oversimplified, is they don’t.
Don’t be confused into thinking Twitter is only a cult of personality where people follow the daily minutia of their favorite celebrity. When used as a part of an overall content and outreach plan, Twitter is a great mechanism for businesses to promote their own original content and corporate activities.
Below are five common questions I come across when it comes to how to use your corporate Twitter account.
Q: How should I get started?
A: In my opinion there are two top priorities for companies using Twitter. First, to promote your blog. This necessarily assumes that you have fresh, regular blog content. For companies, you should target at least one or two posts per week. If you are going to engage in social media, you shouldn’t do so without a blog. Second, to monitor your brand. There was a great example of monitoring your brand by P.F. Chang’s I posted about a little over a month ago. The basic concept is you should reply to people mentioning your company. This is an opportunity to engage with your early supporters and prospects and create viral support of your offerings.
Q: Should I tweet as myself or on a corporate account?
A: Both. Your corporate account should focus on promoting your content, corporate events, webinars, and relevant news from your industry. You can also use your corporate account to retweet positive tweets about your products as well as reply to and promote fans of your company. Personal accounts are good for companies to put a face to their leaders and provide a means of direct communication. Where the corporate account should be more informational and promotional, your personal accounts can provide opinions and links to varying points of view on topics for your industry. Personal accounts are best used to give insights from your daily activity in your business and what relevant topics you care about. A word of caution. Be sure to remember that Twitter is a public forum. Even if you delete your tweet it can be retrieved so choose your words and topics wisely.
Q: Should I be concerned with how many followers I have?
A: Yes and no. You want as many followers as possible who are in your industry and might care what you have to say. You should promote your Twitter account on your website, blog, and newsletter. Follow people that tweet interesting content in your industry and a good number of them will follow you back. Under no circumstances should you subscribe to one of those hair brained services that get you followers. You want the right followers, not just any followers.
Q: How can I manage multiple accounts?
A: Use a third party Twitter platform. I use TweetDeck personally, but there are many different solutions for businesses like CoTweet. The key is that you want to be able to manage and monitor tweets, mentions, direct messages, replies and searches for multiple accounts from one same interface. CoTweet allows you to set up multiple users for a single corporate account, for example.
Q: Should I use reply or direct messages for tweets that mention my company?
A: This is based upon whether your reply has broad interest or whether it is personal. Use reply for tweets that have broad interest and direct messages for tweets that are more directly applicable to only that person. For example, reply when someone asks you if you will be at an upcoming trade show or what your booth number will be. Use direct message if someone asks what time you would like to meet for coffee.
This is just a starting point and if you search on this topic you will find a wealth of advice. The best way to figure out how to use Twitter for business is to create an account and get started. You will learn more from doing it than you will from reading about it. Good luck!