Much has been made this week of Twitter’s 101 Guide for Business. With all the excitement around Twitter these past few months I’m glad Evan, Biz and team are leveraging the limelight to reach out and educate the enterprise on what Twitter is and what a valuable tool it can be for business. But (very big but!), Twitter, like every other tech tool is only as valuable as the corporate strategy and execution behind.
Here’s what Twitter says it can do for business…
So what does Twitter do for businesses?
Twitter is a communications platform that helps businesses and their customers do a number of useful things. As a business, you can use it to quickly share information with people interested in your company, gather real-time market intelligence and feedback, and build relationships with customers, partners and other people who care about your company. As an individual user, you can use Twitter to tell a company (or anyone else) that you’ve had a great–or disappointing–experience with their business, offer product ideas, and learn about great offers.
Great! In a nutshell Twitter is a communications platform a business can use to connect to customers. It’s PR, Marketing, Customer Relationship Management, and Customer Care all in one! Of course not.
What Twitter (or really Social Media) Really Means for Business
Twitter is the latest and greatest method of technology to connect us. As such, it can be used for any and all of the above needs but can also be a huge waste of company time and resources, and lead to disastrous outcomes. Factor in a recent Harvard study suggesting only about 10% of users generate 90% of activity, and the audience mix, and it becomes very clear…as usual, it’s not about the tools, it’s strategy and action that matter!
Twitter for Marketing: is your audience on Twitter? Are they active? Are they receptive to brand messaging? How can you reach them and not sound like a pushy sales person?
Twitter for Customer Care: which tweets matter and which are rants of a negative attention seeker? Which messages require action? What action? Do you have a process to respond effectively?
Twitter for Customer Relationship Management: do you have the tools to find out what’s being said about your brand/company? Which metrics matter? Is there a strategy to follow up and act?
Wait! Before dumping your budget into the company saving Twitter plan, recognize this: a whole lot of pundits were saying the same thing about Facebook last year! It’s not your Twitter strategy that matters, it’s your Social Media strategy and execution that is the key. The Web gives us many ways to make customers happier and business more successful and all tools used effectively can have great outcomes.
So before you stake your business or budget on social media ask these questions:
1. Is your corporate culture ready for social media; a place where you don’t always control the message?
2. Do you have a good understanding of the tools to engage and measure?
3. Do you know if your audience is engaged and on which platforms?
4. Can you devote company time and resources to be successful?
5. Ready for a brave new world where people control the message not you?
6. Can existing company processes and systems be used to take advantage of these great new opportunities to reach, enagage, and learn from consumers?
7. If yes to all (or most) of the above…ready to get started?
Need help, we’d be glad to lend a hand at Sensidea!