Twitter the Customer Connector

twitter logoIf you aren’t using Twitter to connect with your customers – you are missing out on a great, real time venue.

This weekend I discovered an article by Jeff Bullas about how the Fortune 100 companies are using (or not, as is the case) Twitter to be connected with their customers.

It turns out that although I just saw the article yesterday, he actually wrote it two years ago. Since that time, the Fortune 100 companies have improved their use of Twitter, but the issues Jeff uncovers are still true for the majority of companies out there.

The biggest issue?

If a company is using Twitter, it is still as a platform for focusing on their sales or their primary brand message.  People/companies are still missing the obvious use of Twitter and that is as a real time connector to their customers.

At the end of the article, Jeff shares five steps for using Twitter to be connected to customers and 7 Twitter Best Practices:

Weber Shandwick prescribed five essential steps as a starting point for Fortune 100 companies to create true engagement and market interaction on Twitter:

1.Listen to conversations

2.Participate in conversations

3.Update frequently with valuable information

4.Reply to people who talk about issues that are important to your company

5.Retweet relevant conversations

So here are “7  Twitter Best Practices” from the study revealing that in the majority, the Fortune 100 were not implementing

  1. Listen to and monitor conversations
  2. Participate in conversations instead of just listening
  3. Provide frequent updates with valuable information that can demonstrate thought leadership.
  4. Have a large number of followers
  5. Reply to people who talk about issues that are important to them rather than sit on the sidelines
  6. Retweet those conversations which can help promote the brand
  7. Reply or refer to other accounts with @username, and in turn, they are referred to by other accounts.

Ask yourself – are you using Twitter just to push out your blog RSS feed or talk about your latest product? Last week, I talked about how I used Twitter as a “CB radio” while driving to a meeting. (my car was not moving when I used Twitter) I can’t reinforce the value of the real time discussion enough.

In a recent article by Chris Brogan that appeared in Entrepreneur Magazine, he also talked about the value of Twitter as a customer connector and suggests subscribing to the RSS feeds for your key word phrases. Go to http://search.twitter.com to search for conversations in your industry. Look for ways to interject or help out.

Twitter shouldn’t be discounted as a silly waste of time. It is the only social media venue in which you can engage your customers or prospects in real time discussions to help improve their experience and improve your business.

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