Thursday, July 29, 2010

10 Tips for Better Business Tweeting

As more and more businesses look for ways to engage in social media, many are turning to Twitter. And it’s fair to say most are wasting their time.

How can you more effectively operate in Twitter on behalf of, or for, a business? Let’s look at 10 tips:

1. Be transparent: If the purpose of your Twitter account is to help spread the word about your business, products or service then your bio, your profile background and either your account name or web site URL should make it clear that the account is tied to a business. Any deception here will be obvious.

2. Be attractive: Start with an interesting avatar image (not your company logo – except if your logo is recognized worldwide – Ford, Pepsi etc). It’s best to have a human face. Also, make sure your bio explains something about the people behind the account, not just the business and its interests.

3. Be patient: Think of your Twitter followers as acquaintances you’ve met once at a party; it’s likely they’re people you want to think well of you. So, if you’re too pushy or desperate for friends you’ll scare people away. How will they know you’re desperate? You will be following a lot more people than are following you. Need a guideline? Manage your Following/Follower ratio and try to keep the number of people you follow no higher than 10 percent above the number of followers you have.

4. Be selfless: Talk about something other than yourself, your products, your services or your business (at least most of the time). Just as you run from the self-promoting bore at a party you won’t stick around on Twitter to listen to someone who talks incessantly about themselves and their interests.

5. Be strategic: Do this by following appropriate accounts and not just anybody. If you follow random people on Twitter it sends a message that you’re more desperate for friends than you are for worthwhile relationships. (See No. 1 above.)

6. Be engaging: Join in conversations, answer questions and be helpful. This group of activities will separate your business Twitter account from the other 90 percent who are so busy being all about “pushing” their messages that they have forgotten that Twitter is a social medium.

7. Be interesting: This can be “easier said than done.” What is interesting? We all know uninteresting when we see it, but interesting can be harder to define. A good barometer is how your follower numbers grow and how often your tweets get retweeted. If you’re not getting new followers organically and few, if any, RTs it’s likely you are not very interesting to many people and you should reconsider what you’re saying on Twitter.

8. Be different: If you’re the 57th Twitter account to talk about search engine optimization tips, for example, you’re wasting your time. Use a Google search to see who else is tweeting on and around topics that interest you and then try to find your own niche and/or angle.

9. Be reliable: Tweet regularly. This can be on your own schedule as long as you can provide good content on some kind of schedule. Why? A Twitter account that is inactive for long periods of time sends the message that any activity is self-serving and only done when it serves the business exclusively.

10. Be human: This can be the hardest thing to do when you’re trying very hard to serve a business purpose on Twitter. One principle that should guide you: If you don’t feel you can be yourself and talk candidly you’re likely wasting your time on Twitter. Accounts that sound like the corporate PR department wrote each tweet will not get a following and will waste everyone’s time.

So, there you have it: 10 ideas for better use of Twitter for business purposes. Like all social media there really are no hard and fast rules, but these guidelines may prove useful. Now it’s your turn: What did I forget to include?

Possibly related posts:
10 Social Media Nos-Nos
Twetiquette: 10 basics for Twitter politeness



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