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Twitter for Business

Many people use Twitter for their personal use but what about Twitter for business? This article explains why you should consider Twitter for your business and gives tips on how businesses can use Twitter to promote their products or services. Social media and Twitter are part of the newest ways to market your business.

Why Should You Consider Using Twitter?

You want to know why? Well, for one thing, Sprint, Whole Foods, Citi, Coca Cola, McDonalds, Delta, Microsoft, Pepsi, Staples, L.L. Bean, Ford, Mozilla Firefox, jetBlue, Nike, Red Bull, Southwest, Bing, Dell, and Starbucks wouldn't all be spending their time on an tool that wasn't paying off for them, would they? No. After all, they have the money to use any means they want to reach customers: so if they choose to use Twitter, it must be working for them.

But can it work for small businesses, too? It works especially well for small businesses because it requires virtually no outlay of cash to use: the investment it requires is time, and one, two, or three employee's time spent on Twitter doesn't come anywhere near the cost of a television spot. Even if you've got a one-person operation, you can work in time for Twitter.

You should, however, consider the variety of social network options available and be selective: you may not have time to address them all, so you should make a conscious decision about whether Twitter (rather than or in addition to  MySpace, FaceBook, Flickr, YouTube, etc.) is the best use of your time.

What Do These Businesses Do on Twitter?

Businesses use Twitter for a lot of purposes.

• They do Twitter searches to see what is being said about them; then they celebrate the good with a retweet (and thank the poster) and address the bad, if it's a legitimate gripe.

• They give their customers pointers about how to use their products or services and or provide helpful advice about related topics.

• They do more than promote sales: they talk about their mentors, their employees, their aspirations, why they started their business, other people's tweets that they find useful, exciting things they have read or seen, link to blog posts, ask for customer opinions, etc.

• They share links.

• The have private conversations using direct messages.

• They are selective about what to reply to, but they don't leave customers hanging.

• They use URL shorteners.

• They keep customers up-to-date with the latest news from their company.

How Do You Get Started With Twitter?

Twitter for business starts off like any other Twitter use: you begin by taking a look around to see how other businesses, particularly your competitors and your idols use Twitter and then signing up for an account. In your look around, notice how your competitors have set up their Twitter pages. They have probably taken these steps:

• Created a policy for how Twitter will be used, with attention to what kinds of conversations need to be private, how much and what kind of personal information employees will mix in with business posts, and how posting on Twitter will fit in with other duties of employment

• Chosen a Twitter name that is not already in use and ties in closely to their brand.

• Written a succinct and catchy description

• Uploaded an image that clearly represents their brand

• Created a custom background to replace the default that Twitter supplies

• Follow people you know are interested in your business—very likely they'll follow you back;

• Follow people who post things that are insightful, meaningful, or interesting to you—they'll feed you.

Next step? If you are planning to have multiple people post or have several accounts (for example, one for customer support, one for tech support), look for a third-party client like CoTweet to allow you the flexibility to access multiple accounts and have multiple people post through one interface, as well as view all the company's conversations in a single stream.

Now you're ready to start posting. Post information about your company, promotional material including sales and specials, new developments in your business and in your niche, helpful hints for your customers, links, and retweets of other's posts that are insightful, germane, or mention your business.



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