Posted by: Tammy | November 18, 2011

To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

I wasn’t really one of those people that “got” Twitter or thought it was a useful, relevant business tool when if first launched in 2006.  In fact I was even guilty of thinking tweeting was for twits with way too much time on their hands.  It is true that in the beginning the Twitter conversation seemed to be a lot of folks sharing what they were eating, their plans for the weekend or what they were watching on TV (sorry but I don’t care). Much like FaceBook however, Twitter is growing up and is now starting to become a viable business tool.   To get the most out of Twitter though, it’s important to have a strategy.  Whether you’re an experienced tweeter or just starting out, below are some questions to ask yourself to help formulate your plan to get the value from Twitter.

What kind of content do you want/need to monitor?   As of June 2011, users averaged 200 million tweets per day.  http://www.marketinggum.com/twitter-statistics-2011-updated-stats/. Given the increased adoption of Twitter that number is likely much, much higher today.   That being said it’s important to determine the types of tweets you want to consume.  Choose those you follow carefully based on what you want to get out of your time on Twitter.  Also, don’t hesitate to unfollow individuals or brands if you find the tweets to be outside your strategy or lack business relevance.

When tweeting, what do you want to convey, what value do you want to provide to readers and what purpose do you want your tweets to serve?   Again, because there is so much noise in the twitisphere (if that’s a real word), there is a lot of competition for readership. It’s so important to provide differentiated value in tweets so that readers are compelled to want to listen to you.   Personally, I’ve found tweeting to be most useful when attending conferences.  It gives me a chance to interact with other conference goers I might not otherwise meet, share takeaways from the event, gain insight and it serves as a gateway for developing relationships.  As a presenter it also gives me a chance to tweak my presentation based on real-time feedback.

How do you plan to monitor and respond to comments made about your company on Twitter?  The absolute worst thing a business can do is ignore negative feedback received on Twitter either about their business or their competitor’s business.  Take my experience, for example, during a recent stay at plush hotel in Las Vegas, the hotel’s high tech integrated operating system experienced a 36 hour outage impacting television, phone and internet.  Shockingly, tweets from guests went completely ignored.  The hotel (which I’m told has a social media team) missed a huge opportunity to defuse the situation by apologizing to guests, keeping them informed on the progress being made to address the outage and mitigating fallout—virtually, or otherwise.  Furthermore, other local hotels missed the opportunity to leverage the outage to attract business.  For example, a competitor could have expressed concern for the inconvenience, offered free wireless access and discounts at one of their restaurants and I would have gladly packed up my laptop and worked at the competing hotel.   The lesson… while using Twitter to respond to glowing comments from your customers is fine, don’t forget to also have a strategy for how you want to deal with constructive criticism. As the saying goes, a complaint is a gift.

Regardless of how frequently you plan to participate on Twitter, defining your strategy will help you gain the greatest return on investment from this powerful platform.  Need help getting started or just want to chat about Twitter and social media?  I’d love to hear from you.  You can follow me on Twitter at @tammymathews or contact me the old fashion way at tammy.mathews@sage.com.

Tweet on!

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