5 Tips on Using Twitter for Business

Posted on Jan 24, 2011

5 Tips on Using Twitter for Business

Tip 1: Be Yourself and Be Human

Twitter is a huge global community of human beings well for the most part, there are spammer accounts but they’re easy to spot, block and report.  So do show your human side, especially when using your business account. Talk about things that matter to you and with business in general. Join in with conversations that interest you – be friendly, show emotion, and offer solutions in your area of expertise.
On the other hand, don’t be too human. Don’t share anything you wouldn’t share at a real-world business networking event, keep intimate health problems and controversial or potentially offensive opinions to yourself.

Tip 2: Watch How You Write

You don’t need to be a bestselling novelist to use Twitter, but it helps if you have basic literacy skills.  However good or bad your writing skills are, with Twitter’s 140-character limit you’ll need to be creative with your Tweets. Your Tweets need to be concise yet informative, and often you’ll be trying to squeeze in a URL too (URL shortening services like bit.ly and tinyurl.com are lifesavers.

Tip 3: Share and Share Alike

If you have some good news related to your business or your personal life , then share it.  Everybody loves a good news story.
Do share links – to your website, your blog, your local news service, or anything else that interests your followers. This is a great way to get conversations going. But do remember to explain what the link’s about, or your followers will feel less inclined to click it. Do not Tweet the same link over and over.  People will quickly become bored and may stop following you.  Do retweet your friends’ links, too. They’ll be grateful, and so will your followers if the link is interesting and relevant. But here’s a very big ‘do’ – DO make sure you click the link and read the content before sharing it with your followers, or you could end up sharing a page that’s irrelevant or offensive, or which contradicts your usual position on the subject.

Tip 4: Be Part of the Community

Don’t treat Twitter as your personal billboard. It’s not. It’s a community, millions of members strong, and the community as a whole is not very tolerant of users who constantly advertise. Try to stick to the 80-20 rule when you use Twitter for business: no more than 20% of your Tweets should advertise or self-promote, and at least 80% should be non-promotional.
Listen to what people are saying, and join in. Twitter is a network of conversations, so it’s good practice to listen and respond to parts of those conversations that interest you. Don’t just stand in the middle of the room with a megaphone, shouting “I’m fabulous! I have a 20% off sale this wéek!” Again, if you wouldn’t do it at a business networking event, don’t do it on Twitter.
Do retweet your friends’ requests for help.  For example, charity appeals and sponsorship requests, and do introduce friends that are new to Twitter and could use some followers.

Tip 5: Mind Your Language

Don’t use offensive language when representing your business on Twitter; even mild swear words can put sensitive souls off that follow you and cursing in public is hardly professional.
Use Twitter to answer customer questions and solve their problems. Many organizations use Twitter as a customer service tool, very effectively. But don’t ever use an impolite or impatient tone with a customer. On Twitter, everything you say is out there for everyone to see, so leave your followers with the best possible impression of your brand at all times.  The Internet has a very long memory!