Ok, you finally caved to all the ranting from your employees and have launched a corporate twitter account. so now what? Are you actually using your Twitter? How Are you using it? Who’s using it? there’s many considerations. All too often I see a company launch a Twitter, post a couple of tweets and that’s basically it. Simply put, these guys have failed to plan and their Twitter efforts are likely going to fail as well. Like anything else online (a blog, facebook page, website) your Twitter account needs attention, needs to be managed, and needs a life (and a personality). Your company needs to determine who has access to the Twitter and what kind of information will be posted. But don’t stop there.
Tell People About It – You need to tell your clients and potential clients that your twitter account is there. Be sure to include your twitter name on all your corporate information, particularly in your staff email signatures, on your company contact page, include in your press releases, and if you blog be sure to make your twitter visible from there – I suggest using a Twitter widget and embed your latest Tweets on your blog.
Who’s Charged With Tweeting? – Be sure to assign skilled Tweeters with the task of updating your Twitter account. Be sure to make it clear as to what kind of information will be shared (tech support updates, news, information about clients, corporate updates, contests, or ??). Decide how often the account will be updated and MOST important, assign someone with the task of finding useful information to ReTweet (its a great idea to retweet interesting and applicable articles and retweet information from your clients – they will love you for it)
Follow Others – Spend some time using the Twitter search service to search for interesting companies and Tweeps to follow. Follow people that are directly and indirectly involved in your business, many will follow you back. Don’t get too carried away following 25,000 people in hopes that half of them will auto-follow you back. Sure numbers are important but having thousands of followers who don’t care what you say is wasted effort… follow quality people who have useful information to share.
How To Tweet – To be effective, you’ll need a third-party Twitter app that supports a team environment. I suggest Hootsuite as a fine tool. IT supports multiple client access and is perfect for teams. You’ll be able to track links and tweet effectiveness, schedule tweets (this is invaluable) feed your RSS feeds, and do much more
Brand – Perhaps most important, make sure your Twitter account reflects your brand. Spend some quality time designing an approprite Twitter avatar, a background that reflects your company, and be sure to create a well worded company description in your profile. Don’t stop there… do a google search for Twitter directories and find a few to add your company twitter to… this will help people to find you.
Reply To Others – Twitter is not a one-way communication tool. I see many companies (and people who call themselves experts) who never reply to anything or anyone that is reaching out for them. Make sure to use Twitter search to see who’s talking about your company and your industry. Offer up help and tips, be sure to reply to people that reach out to you, thank people for mentioning you in their tweets or re-tweeting you. I reach out to many companies using the @reply function and its incredible how many companies don’t reply at all to people who take the time to ask them something. A no reply can loose you a potential client and will lead people to think that your Twitter account is merely a robot! Assign a person(s) and schedule 15 minutes a day to search and reply to tweets.
Educate Your Team – Support your staff by encouraging them to take part in social media webinars, local tweet-ups, social media events planned by a local chamber of commerce, and think about attending cool social events like an Ignite (search “Ignite” on Google). Read a few good social media blogs like those published by Mashable, Guy Kawasaki, and Chris Brogan – these are great resources packed with useful tips.
Get a Good Name – not on Twitter yet? Well, to start go grab a nice, identifiable name that reflects your brand and park it. Tweet “coming soon” because indeed you will be!
There’s much more you can do but this is a good start… stick with it and remember, Twitter isn’t only about YOU. Make sure that you share, help others, ReTweet, and inform… you’ll soon reap the benefits of spending some time on Twitter. Finally… be sure to follow me @gletham ;0)
Disclaimer – I am NOT a social media “expert” nor do I claim to be one. I am skilled in social media as a business tool/service and have a fair bit of experience with many apps and services. People that call themselves “experts” and clearly aren’t are a real pet-peeve of mine and I have loads of respect for individuals and businesses that put themselves out there and give it a full effort… good luck!