Have you heard about Twitter, or do you use it?
I must admit that when I first saw it I thought it was an even dafter idea than many others that I’d seen on the web. Then a good friend advised me to stick with it and I did.
And now: well I think it’s amazing, and in my opinion it is likely to change the way people communicate, possibly forever. Having used it for several months I want to share with you some of my thinking about the impact that this will have in the business environment.
If you don’t know what this is all about then let me briefly explain. Twitter is what’s known as a “micro-blog”, where users can write free text about any subject they like just like a blog, but the “micro” bit is that it can only be up to 140 characters long. So it’s a bit shorter than a mobile phone text message.
You can access to it through a PC connected to the Internet, by instant messaging and also through mobile phones. That means its availability is almost universal. Any messages you post is placed in a shared environment unless you marked them as being private and then only certain individuals can read them So there is great potential here for people with something in common to share information, share ideas maybe even some gossip or generally just keep in touch.
Enough background: here are some of my tips for getting the most out of Twitter:
Tip 1 – Use it
Seriously, this is an absolutely marvellous business tool only by using it will you become convinced of that fact. The fact that you can communicate directly with your customers and that they could respond directly to you makes your interactions with customers much closer.
Tip 2 – exploit the brevity
Because the message is a short people receiving them don’t mind receiving several. That means you can keep people informed about developments, whether it be a new product launch or a technical issue and regular updates painless.
Tip 3 – make it personal
Even though your business, you’re communicating with individuals to try to make your tweets interesting and maybe even entertaining.
Tip 4 – ask questions
By posting short questions on Twitter you can undertake some rapid market research in both of those people who are following you and those people who are reading your postings in the general messaging area. So your research is free and wide ranging.
Tip 5 – encourage responses
You can encourage response to your questions with questions that can only be answered with a yes or no. If you make it easier for the recipients to reply the chances of them doing so higher.
Tip 6 – build a tribe
The secret to Twitter is to develop a list of followers who have opted in to receiving your messages. The fact that these people are opting in means they are interested in your products and/or services to try to turn them into a loyal band of followers. You might like to make them the first to know about any new products or services launching.
Tip 7 – used the timeliness
It probably takes about two seconds to Twitter a message to thousands of potential customers, so keep them interested, and try and stimulate the bars around what you’re doing.
Tip 8 – localise when possible
Because Twitter can identify where people are, you can target followers in certain areas. For example if you’re having a cup of coffee in the centre of Cardiff, there are tools you can pull on your mobile phone to identify the Twitter is near you that will allow you to create an instant common ground in your message to them.
Tip 9 – use it inside your business
If you’ve got a team of people working within keep in touch with them and had then keep in touch with each other by Twittering messages about what they’re doing.”going into a meeting with John”, half an hour later: “meeting over got the order” are just a couple of examples of messages that would make the day go well people feel that they know what’s going on in their business.
Tip 10 – use it at Junction 31
Junction 31 is an online business network that uses social networking tools like Twitter to create a richer experience for members. So when you sign up to Twitter, you should also follow Junction31 and we will promise to keep you in the picture of all developments in online networking. We’ll also tell you when the site isn’t working properly and what we’re doing to fix it: as happened last week!
And finally – when you do join Twitter – update your Junction 31 profile so that your posts can be included there for others to read as well.
See you soon at twitter.com/junction31
If I can help you understand this any more then please let me know or post a question at the Junction31 forums. Equally if you want to add to the discussion, please post your messages there as well.