How to Use Twitter as a Business Tool

Updated: October 20, 2010

What should I Tweet about?

You can tweet about anything that is relevant to your social network. Remember Twitter is about conversing - so unless you are a hot-shot celebrity, no one really cares to listen to your monologue. So what you tweet about has a lot to do with your Twitter objective.

What is your Twitter Objective?

It's important to understand what you want out of your tweeting effort. You need to prioritize your goals and work towards them. Some typical objectives are:

  • Shaping company/product brand
  • Part of overall PR strategy
  • Lead Generation/driving up sales
  • Reading news/events/hot topics
  • Publishing news/events/hot topics
  • Engaging/socializing with customers
  • Offering customer service

Twitter Strategy

After you've figured out your objective, you need to work on an implementation strategy. Are you working towards a quality network where you are close with your contacts or a large lose network? A good idea is to try a hybrid approach that delivers your objectives.

Who do I follow?

  • Existing customers and Potential customers
  • Competitors and Partners
  • Industry related organizations
  • Influencer bloggers, reporters and news outlets related to your industry
  • Social heavy weights and trend setters on Twitter

Common Twitter-Speak

  • Direct Messages: Direct Messages are personal messages that a user can send to another. It's almost similar to email. It's just that it's a private message sent on Twitter rather than as email. Example: "Got your email about the proposal. Looks good. Let's talk this afternoon."
  • @ Replies: These are public messages that are directed towards a user. They are posted on the Twitter page, so that everyone can see them including your intended recipient. Example: "@TargetInfoLabs Good day. Thanks for your Twitter suggestions. Loved em!"
  • # Topic Tags: Hash tags indicate a topic on Twitter. Useful in ensuring your tweet is found by others who are searching for that topic. Example: "Who's going to #InterOP this year? How do you expect the show to be?"
  • RT (ReTweets): To tweet something that has already been tweeted once before. You show who the original poster of the Tweet was and then the message. It's ok to rephrase the tweet if you are running low on characters. Example: "RT @Zaki_Usman Pride comes before a fall via @TargetInfoLabs"

What Twitter metrics should I monitor?

  • Followers: This showcases the social importance of a Twitter account. All the important brands (famous people, big companies, news publishers, etc) have followers in the hundreds of thousands.
  • Lists: The number of lists indicates social influence. The higher the number, the more influential the Twitter account.
  • Following: This indicates how many other twitter accounts are being followed. A small number means that the Twitter account is not interested in expanding his/her social network too much.
  • Following to Followers Ratio: A lot of accounts on Twitter are used for spamming. They tend to follow a lot of people and not many people follow them. This ratio indicates if the account is a possible spammer or not.
  • Updates: A high number of updates indicate how active that account is. Active accounts are good to add to your social network.

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