It’s official: I’m a twit. I avoided this self realization for a few days now but I’ve finally come to terms with it. I can openly admit now, with the support of my fellow DragonSearch employees, that I am indefinitely and wholeheartedly addicted to Twitter. Ever since I picked up the book Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods by Shel Israel, I’ve been obsessing. My mission has been to utilize it as much as possible and to educate those who have not had the opportunity to get to know Twitter. The thing that still surprises me is not the number of people using Twitter, which is in the millions now, but the few who don’t use it. What surprises me even more are the businesses that choose not to use it. Now it might seem like I’m late in the game but there are still businesses out there that don’t understand the benefits of Twitter.
Businesses should take full advantage of this social media tool. There’s tons of consumers tweeting everyday but as a business you shouldn’t just look at it that way. Twitter could breathe a second life into your business if you play your cards right. First off, you shouldn’t use Twitter as a spam tool. Spamming in general is frowned upon and I for one despise it. Twitter is a chance to interact with your customers and a chance to gain new ones. Your feedback is vital here in the Twitter universe. Consumers are generally more receptive to businesses who listen to what they have to say and a business should be perceptive to what their customers are saying. Twitter enables a business to find out what people are saying about their product or service. Interacting with your customers in a positive and helpful fashion will in the long run gain you more followers on Twitter but there are other ways to gain followers as well. There are other things happening in this world that don’t revolve around you. I think it’s healthy for anyone on Twitter to realize this.
As a business you don’t always have to promote yourself on Twitter. I’m not saying don’t promote yourself but you should always take the time to see what’s happening in the consumer world and don’t be afraid to strike up conversation about it. I’ve seen businesses start Twitter accounts, bombard people with promotions, and then wonder why they aren’t gaining followers. Methods like that only gain you a bad reputation and on Twitter bad reputations spread like wild fire. Do your research and discuss topics that your customers will find relevant. Listen to what your customers have to say and respond promptly. Good reputations spread fast as well so keep your customers happy. One thing to keep in mind is that the results aren’t instantaneous. It takes some time to build followers but if you put your work in you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Trust me, it’s worth it. Many other people and businesses will testify to that. Remember: Humanizing your business on Twitter will drastically affect your following in a positive manner and not just on Twitter but in general. Just ask a certain company called Comcast who achieved Twitter zen. Here’s a play by play of how they got there:
• In early 2008 Comcast hired Frank Eliason as director of digital care in hopes of changing around their bad reputation.
• Eliason used @comcastcares Twitter account as a means to interact with customers and help solve their problems with Comcast.
• Eliason addressed each customer personally and promptly and helped most of them with their Comcast issues.
• Eliason becomes an invaluable resource due to real time interaction and turnaround time with customers.
• @comcastcares followers grew in considerable numbers and Eliason quickly recruited more Comcast members on Twitter to interact with customers as well.
• Customers express their satisfaction with Comcast publicly on Twitter which spreads to their followers which grants Comcast a more positive reputation among the public.
• Press catches wind of this and publishes articles.Twitter blog.