What your business is doing wrong (and right) on Twitter

Twitter is more than a little perplexing to most business owners, whether they’re running a large corporation or a small Etsy shop. There’s usually a general understanding that they should be on Twitter and interacting with current and potential customers, but diving into the deep end can sometimes do more harm than good if there’s not a solid social media plan in place.

If an executive ever asks you to justify why your business should be on “that Twitter thing”, here’s your answer: Twitter is like a 24/7 news channel, and you’re either saying “no comment” to the journalists who are doing a story on your company/industry or you’re actively participating in the conversation.  The discussion is going to take place whether you’re in it or not – more than likely with  competitors taking part – and you have a choice: monitor and participate in the stories, or watch them go by without contributing your opinion and expertise.

If your company is currently doing any of the following on Twitter, today’s a perfect day to change your ways:

You have a Twitter account but haven’t touched it in months.

This is almost universally acknowledged as being worse than having no Twitter account at all.  It makes you look unengaged, which is the last thing you want to be in the social media landscape.  You don’t want to delete your account because someone else could snatch up your name, so just put it on someone’s calendar to post something once a week.  It’s a baby step into the Twitterverse.

You’re actively tweeting but it’s mainly links to press releases, articles, or retweeting other information.

While this is a good start, it’s not enough.  Twitter is a place for conversation and interaction.  If we had told our predecessors twenty years ago that you’d have instant access to the thoughts and opinions of your customer base, don’t you think they would have just about died of excitement and disbelief?  Use the tool you have and engage your audience. Ask them questions. Comment on their questions and offer advice if you happen to have some.  Posting links is great – but it should be about 10% of your Twitter content.

Your Tweets sound like a corporate HR employee signed off on them before being posted.

Be personal.  Use your own voice and try not to be defensive or jam the company party line down people’s throats.  Let your employees use their own names, or just their initials as the @DeltaAssist tweeters do so you know there’s a human being on the other side of the conversation you’re having.

On the flip side, don’t get too personal.

This should go without saying, but don’t use offensive language or be too casual in your tweets.  It’s ok to wish a follower a happy birthday or congratulate them on the birth of a child, for example, but asking someone for details on how a colonoscopy went is a tweet no one needs to see from a business account (or a personal one, depending on who you ask).

These may seem basic and common sense, but for those just getting started they’re often the points that trip up the time investment you’re making by being on Twitter. Being a part of the conversation can be critical for the success of your business, and there’s no time like the present to start engaging.