When Twitter first came out, one of the first things people were saying about it was that it was going to change how people did business. It was going to personalize client-customer relationships. It was going to humanize brands. Remember all that stuff?
Here’s the funny thing about Twitter and how it has evolved. A lot of the people who joined up so that they could do business somehow forgot along the way that they were using Twitter for business. They started to move over into the land of “How many followers can I get” and “What’s my Klout score?” Unless you are social media consultant (and even then you’re on shaky ground), these numbers do not necessarily prove that you are great at your actual paying job. If you are a plumber, people aren’t gonna really care that your company has 5,000 followers. They want to know if you can get their sinks to stop making that drip sound.
So how can we use Twitter for business? Is it actually a lost cause? I really don’t think so. We just need to get back to our roots a little bit. For example:
1. Make sure you are networking with people who may at some point buy from you. This is where the numbers game can really mislead a lot of people. In my case, a lot of the people I network with on Twitter are my peers, not my prospects. How about you?
2. Put your business name, site, objective, etc., in your Twitter bio. So many times I check on peoples’ biographies to learn that they are of Mongolian descent, love cookies, and are parents to 3 dogs and 5 kittens. Now, don’t get me wrong. That’s great to know, and we might become the best of friends. However, I have no idea what you are hoping to accomplish in terms of your business. Are you even here for business? Maybe not. The downside is if you are here for business, I’ll definitely not think about your services when I need them if I don’t know you’re in that field.
3. You have to be “on” all of the time. If you are using Twitter for business, then Twitter just became an extension of your office. Your prospects, your customers, your co-workers and your boss all have access to everything you have said and are saying. This means that even if you go to SXSW and get super duper drunk (as apparently some people did based on their tweets) you are still at work when you sign in to Twitter. This is my guiding principle for how I act across the online world. You’re talking to me in my office right now.
4. It has to be about helping others, not promoting yourself. Self-promotion is okay, don’t get me wrong. But if you are here to grow your business, ultimately you need to establish yourself as someone representing a company that is all about the customers and prospects. Tweeting out your blog posts 7 times a day needs to be balanced with talking it up to people in your field and offering an open-door approach to those around you.
Now, I could go on and on, but at this point I’d like to know where you’re coming in on this issue. Are you using Twitter for business or have you in the past? What downfalls or advantages did you experience? How are you approaching it? Let’s talk about it!
Image by Annika Banfield. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Gronvik