A lot of small businesses assume that they should be on Twitter – because everyone else is. They have no idea whether Twitter is the right thing for them. These businesses join Twitter and struggle to engage their audience in conversation.
The Flowtown blog has an infographic flowchart which steps you through the main questions to ask yourself when you are considering using Twitter. For small businesses the main questions to ask are:
- Do you want to distinguish your business account from your personal account? Having two Twitter accounts can take up significant amounts of time if you want to communicate using both accounts regularly. Using separate account for personal and business might leave your business account cold and unfriendly. Consider including a few personal tweets amongst the stream to make the feed more friendly.
- Do you want to communicate with customers and send brand updates? If so , then a corporate account is probably right for you. You can create a corporate Twitter feed and ask members of your team to update it regularly. You’ll have different voices contributing to the main corporate feed so the Twitter stream will start to get a personality of its own. Appending each Tweet with the initials of the team member will make the stream more personalised. ^EB is the annotation used by services such as CoTweet.
- Are the majority of your Tweets related to your business? Try not to only talk about your work and special offers. Talk about ‘we’ a little. It gives your followers an insight into the team behind the company and gives your Twitter stream a personality
- Do you want to proactively engage with your customers? Read and respond to tweets from others. Engaging proactively will bring you much greater returns than just responding to tweets. If you use your Twitter account for customer service then try going back to the customer after their problem has been solved to make sure that they are still happy with you. It’s shows extra care – even after the case has been resolved.
- Do you want to engage regularly? Make sure you have enough time to engage with your customers. Tweeting infrequently will make the relationship between the brand and the customer harder to nurture. Frequent engagement – without being spammy – will encourage better dialogue. Its about quality over quantity.
If the answer to these 5 points are yes, then Twitter is certainly an option worth considering…
However, Twitter might not be for you if your business involves government security or defence clients or involves legislative, auditory or regulatory work.
Twitter might also not be right for you if you don’t have the time or energy to put into making your communications interesting or engaging. Repetitive tweets can be seen as spam – as can automated quotes and ‘motivational’ messages sent out by apps such as Tweetlater, Bufferapp and Hootsuite.
Think before you tweet – or think before you sign up for Twitter.
it might not be the app for you..
Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.