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Twitter for business – so what’s that all about?

July 28, 2010

For all you Twitter cynics, who think it’s all about what Jonathan Ross and Stephen Fry had for breakfast etc, I’ll begin this blog article with some very good reasons to be tweeting!

10 good reasons to Tweet for your business

1. Meet like-minded people. Introductions and new business relationships can begin in a social network, as you can talk about things you have in common.
2. See what’s going on in your sector and see what your competitors are talking about
3. Personal growth – there are some very clever business bods on Twitter who share their daily insights
4. It’s about “real time”. Catch breaking business news and stay ahead of the market
5. Traffic building for your website and blog
6. Build a brand personality
7. Special offers using unique codes
8. See where people are. Meet ups (or Tweetups) are easy
9. Get instant answers and advice on business sector issues
10. Understand what others are saying about your product/services or brand

Like anything, you will get out of Twitter what you put in

And just like we advise with our Extravision email marketing campaigns, if you just send pointless spam, people will soon “unfollow”. Oh and before you dismiss Twitter with “I haven’t got the time”, that’s no excuse as it’s entirely up to you how much time you allocate. As a rule you need to be having a look two or three times a day, but as with everything, there are some addicts out there. One thing is for sure, that if you’re not tweeting, rest assured that your competitors will be!

Our “Twitter journey”

With around 700 followers, we’ve been more successful at developing a following and engaging our target audience of B2B marketers than I initially expected. We even made the shortlist in B2B category of The Drum magazine’s Golden Twit awards! So here are a few things you should think about if you’re just starting out.

Watch and learn

First of all, to start getting a handle on how to build a group of Twitter followers, we followed our competitors and a number of more experienced B2B Twitter accounts and simply watched for patterns. 

The first thing I observed is that a lot of “personal” Tweeters were following some basic interpersonal rules to help grow their following. Here’s how that works – as in life, if someone wants to be your friend, the polite thing is to shake hands, say “hi”, and try to find a common interest and be friends – most people would consider it pretty rude to walk away. So the social etiquette for individuals on Twitter is, that if someone follows you, follow them back. Bearing in mind; that you can always hit the “unfollow” button.

However, I soon realized that the business tweeters with 5000 followers were mostly larger companies using Twitter as a mass communication channel, where it’s perfectly acceptable and even expected for the relationship to be one-sided or interactive only on demand (such as when a customer has a question). Of course, no way can they be reading and processing 5000 tweets!

The harsh reality

Twitter for business is really about mass communication. So you can kind of forget those interpersonal rules, because Twitter is OK for starting business relationships, but not great for building on – this usually happens elsewhere. The thing is that 140 character tweets are great for finding interesting people/content and asking/addressing simple questions, but for establishing more meaningful business relationships it’s not easy. So, establish a basic Twitter presence, make your prospects and customers aware of this new channel and let them use it, whilst keeping an eye on relevant businesses and people for you to follow.

Focus on tweet quality over tweet quantity

Tweeting interesting things (e.g., tweets with links that more people click on) has a much bigger, positive influence on follower growth rate than does tweet volume (e.g.: making sure you tweet very frequently to keep your tweets in front of your followers). In other words, the best practice for getting people’s attention and interest on Twitter is the same as it is across other business communication channels – talk when you have something important to say. Bombarding your followers with tweets doesn’t work any better than does bombarding the media with press releases about non-issues or hammering a direct mail list with irrelevant offers.

If you’ve already tried Twitter for your business and struggled to make it work, it’s most likely because the B2B social media rules are still being written, so it’s still a lot of trial and error!

Hope this first blog piece has convinced a few non-believers to at least consider Twitter as a communication channel. Next week, I will take the lid off some of the Twitter jargon that can put people off and will also share some useful advice about getting started!

Meanwhile, goes without saying….you are more than welcome to follow our Extravision tweets!
 

Posted by Jenni Malley
Social Media


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