The fun folks at Twitter have done
the business world a(nother) huge favor. First, as we all know, they
created Twitter. And most of us know there’s a lot of value in Twitter.
It’s just not always 100% obvious to us. It’s so new we often wonder
(at least I do) What else can I do with this to help make my business run better?
So Twitter has given us some help to answer this question. It takes the form of their “Special Guide” Twitter 101 for Business. And it’s worth a look.
The guide starts with a short overview
of what Twitter is, how it works and how to use it. Good bootcamp type
of information but still useful. One of the first things they make
clear is that Twitter is recipient-controlled so if you want it to be effective your posts must be compelling.
Hmm. Businesses should create and deliver compelling messages if they want people to listen. What a novel idea! Funny how it’s taken a group of techies to drive this message home.
The guide also suggests integrating Twitter with existing
communication channels. Tony Hsieh, CEO at Zappos, shared with me that
Twitter is just one of many channels for them to connect with their
customers, and certainly not the most important. This is good advice.
It’s too easy to fall in love with sexy new technology (like Twitter)
and over-invest in it. Keep a balanced perspective.
Then they review basic Twitter terminology. If you’ve actively used Twitter for more than a week, you’ll know these already.
My second favorite section is: Best Practices.
Here they talk about three key ideas that affect how you use Twitter.
These are not necessarily apparent to a newcomer, so they are valuable
in this guide.
First, Twitter is a place to build relationships. Too true. Tony Hsieh affirms this:
“As you can see, most of the tweets
are not about business or marketing, but it’s a great way for us to
connect on a more personal level with both employees and customers.”
Second, Twitter is real time. Different than many other channels
we’re used to. This gives us more options. And obligations. They point
out that customer seeking help via Twitter want quick results. Waiting
several days will not cut it.
Third, the guide offers advice on how to measure the value of using
Twitter in your organization. They rightly suggest to view the whole
experience first before trying to measure the ROI. But they also offer
tips to quantify the value Twitter offers you.
Finally, we come to the best part of Twitters new business guide: The case studies.
This section has 10 examples of companies that use Twitter. From
well known brands like Dell, Pepsi and JetBlue to small companies of
all kinds. They feature a coffee shop, an online marketplace, a winery,
a dessert franchise, a pizza place and the largest clothing
manufacturer in the U.S.
These stories tell what people are doing with Twitter and how it’s helping their businesses. They show how Dell is raising awareness, connecting with customers and increasing sales. They talk about how Teusner Wines is building trust, gathering feedback and sharing information in ways that build their business. And they explain how Pepsi is finding new audiences, handling customer complaints and responding more quickly to customers using Twitter.