Getting a @Handle on Twitter

On a weekly basis, my colleagues and I use the popular social media platform to lead conversations with our client’s customers and business affiliates, run contests, field customer service questions, and integrate an overall marketing strategy. In my personal life, I use Twitter for a plethora of reasons: getting the news, gaining insight into the lives of my favorite athletes and celebrities, and making (hopefully) witty comments about the world around me.

Perhaps this is why I am shocked to see a lot of businesses underestimating the reach and scope of Twitter. While I sympathize with old school marketing types that may not grasp the concept at first, as a professional it is your job to either adapt and figure out how to utilize it or hire an outside agency who can (see: Slice Communications). If you were around when Henry Ford invented the automobile, you wouldn’t continue to ride around on a horse and buggy because you didn’t know how to drive. You’d figure it out or hire a chauffer.

Of course this is a bit of a dramatic comparison. The point is that social media has changed the way businesses can communicate with their clients and customers, and Twitter is a big component of that change. Here is some advice for you if your business does not have a Twitter presence at this point:

  1. Create a personal account where you can familiarize yourself and get comfortable with the functionality of the tool
  2. Begin following your competitors to see how they use Twitter to their advantage. Make a note of what you think works and doesn’t
  3. Speak with social media experts to see how you should align your Twitter messaging (and your existing social media platforms) with your overall marketing plan
  4. Make a decision as to whether your business can successfully implement a social media plan itself or should seek outside help

For B2B companies, Twitter has created yet another avenue for thought leadership and spreading great content. For B2C companies, it has created another avenue to connect with customers for feedback, customer service, and spreading new product and company information. Six years ago this March, Jack Dorsey created Twitter. As with Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, he may not have realized at the time how beneficial his creation could be to businesses. He certainly realizes it today, and so should everybody else.

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