How to Use Twitter for Your Business (7 Tips)

7  is all I could come up with for now.

Phase I (Social Media – Yes or No?)

1. First of all, figure out who you are trying to reach.  Are you a B2B or a B2C company?  Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter work well for B2C companies that are looking to communicate directly with their consumers (i.e. customer inquiries on products).

2. What kind of industry do you work in? (The real question is, does it make sense for your business to be “social”? If your business is global brand, a retail store, or a restaurant, then yes.  If your business is a plumbing service, notary, or the post office, then no).  It’s really important to make sure that a social media campaign aligns with your target market (i.e. audience and consumers) and the marketing message (i.e. the positioning)  of your products/services.  And unfortunately, sometimes it just won’t make sense to use social media.  Figuring out this first will save you a lot of time and labor in the future.

Phase II (How to get started)

3. Once you’ve decided that your company must jump into the social media landscape, hire an expert to do the work.  Trust me, it will cost more hiring an amateur in the long run, than an expert.  It will save you lots of headaches.

4. Twitter Rule #1 – ENGAGEMENT – Engage the community you are targeting.  Respond to their tweets.  Search for questions your customers might be asking, and answer them!  Add value to the conversation.

5. DON’T SPAM.  Whatever you do, don’t just use social media as a way to “get the word out” to your customers.  Just because you put it out there, doesn’t mean people will read it.  Give people a reason to look at your content.  Make it interesting & make it unique.

Phase III (Maintenance)

6. Tweet regularly.  Figure out how often you want to tweet and stick to the schedule.  Consistency is key.

7. Keep organized.  Create Twitter lists for clients, vendors, customers, bloggers, and so on.  This will make it a lot easier to sort through tweets.

Stay tuned for tips on using Facebook for your business.

En Route to Las Vegas…

This week, I’m attending my first professional conference, Pub Con.  Now that I’ve been out of school for a year and a half, and most of my learning occurs on the job, this conference will be refreshing.  Hopefully it will give me a new perspective on all the things I’ve been learning at my new job.

I’m writing this as I am flying to Vegas via Southwest Airlines.  I just finished flipping through the Spirit Magazine (make a mental note to self to check out, and I was just thinking how much I enjoy flying on Southwest  Although the planes aren’t new and fancy and equipped with wi-fi, I would still choose to fly on Southwest over any other airline.  It’s just the small things that the employees do for their customers, like fishing my boarding pass out of the check-in machine when it gets stuck (and with a smile :) ) and turning on the reading light for me when they see me reading Spirit Magazine right before takeoff (make a mental note to tweet thank you to Southwest).

Great customer service seems like such a simple strategy to implement.  Yet, so many companies get it wrong.  I can name a few companies off the top of my head that get it: Southwest, Nordstrom, Zappos (although I have yet to experience Zappos), and Amazon.  I would have to say that, although I’ve worked at Nordstrom, the only company in my experience that has truly been consistent with providing excellent customer service is Southwest.  It’s a culture that has been instilled in their management and their employees, and one that customers have become familiar with.  It’s the little things that add up, like not having to pay to check in my luggage, no questions asked should I need to change or cancel a reservation (with the full amount refunded or credited to my account, might I add), the Rapid Rewards program, the mystery of how their employees are never grumpy, the songs they sing to me on my flight, etc.  Thank you Southwest Airlines, for meeting my high expectations of you every single time I fly, and for providing stability in my otherwise crazy hectic life.  I was a frequent flyer when I needed to travel between UC Berkeley and home (in Los Angeles) every month.  And now that I’m out of college and in the “real” world, Southwest will continue to be my #1 choice airlines.  Sorry Virgin America.  Your fluorescent lighting, individual tv monitors w/your movies/tv shows/music, and your wi-fi equipped airlplanes can’t lure me away from Southwest.

P.S.  I’m sure you would have asked the annoying couple behind me to shut the hell up, had I asked.

Thank you,