Tweeting for Business Requires Strategic Planning to Fine Tune Your Twitter Personality.
The vast majority of people on Twitter use it for fun and games, a platform for personal expression, or as one TV network pegged it: "Mindless chatter." And if that's how you're using it, have a blast. That is what it was originally intended for. So when people ask me about the "the rules" for Tweet when, where and how you want. There are plenty of articles on Twitter etiquette, and unless you're attacking folks or spamming a get-rich quick scheme, you'll do just fine. Just be helpful, courteous, informative, engaging and fun. And above all, just be yourself. Because that's what we like about you and makes us want to follow you. Technically that's YOUR personal brand... which I'll try to write about in a future blog.
However, once your profile becomes attached to a company or an organization, the game changes. You're no longer a lone ranger. You're an extension of someone else's brand. And every Tweet now either builds or erodes their brand as well.
I've previously written about how important it is for businesses to develop their Social Media/Web2.0 strategy before they jump in. That's particularly true of Twitter. And so once a company decides that they'll use Twitter, the next step is to use that strategy to define HOW to use Twitter. Whether it's for marketing, sales, customer service, reputation management, building credibility, or any of the multitudes of ways businesses are using it, there's another important "how" to consider: That's how employees Tweet as representatives of their business.
Part of Trivera's Online Brand Management program for our clients is to help them develop a Corporate Social Media strategy. And that strategy includes creating an employee Twitter policy. Typically some employees Tweet as an official voice of the company as part of their job, while others tweet as experts in their employer's field and add their personal credibility to their company. Most others just tweet personally as themselves. The guidelines allow the freedom and spontaneity of Twitter while still re-enforcing the company's brand by defining a Twitter persona for each role group.
While we reommend using an experienced, social-media-practicing partner to develop your corporate stargey amd tactics, here a few tips to consider if you choose to wade in these waters as a do-it-yourselfer:
As your company defines its Twitter policy, here are few tips you'll want your tweeters to consider:
- If it is common knowledge where you work (and with the transparency and information the Web provides, it's likely it is) be careful to reinforce your employers brand. Yes, you have the right to free speech. But be publicly critical of your company and they have the right to unemploy you. Potential future employers may also think twice about hiring you.
- If you have a public association with your employer, Tweet occasionally about an area of your expertise in your profession. That will position you as an authority, and will bring additional credibility to your company.
- Unless your Company is a political, religious, or ideological organization, avoid those kinds of topics in posts or re-tweets. The closer you are to your employer's brand, the more likely you'll be to lose sales for them if you broach these subjects. Getting new business is hard enough for most companies, and if an employer is looking for scapegoat, these kinds of Tweets could get you in trouble.
- Your overall body of tweets should generally be about your particular area of expertise.
- Your Tweets will need to be accurate, relevant, and informative.
- No personal attacks on individuals. Objective critiques on products or companies, but only sparingly.
Lastly a few Twitter Tips and TricksPost at least one tweet a day to help establish credibility and consistency. Quality over quantity.
Learn Hootsuite ( http://hootsuite.com ) to post articles and to shorten the URL so we can embed Google adsense code. Hootsuite is great for managing multiple profiles, and more important for loading a day's worth or more of scheduled tweets early in the morning or the night before.
You may decide it fits your culture to allow for following political entities. If you do, have a strategy here also. Maybe recommend finding an equal level politician from the each side of the aisle (If you follow Obama, follow McCain, too. If you follow Russ Feingold, follow Paul Ryan, if you follow Fox News, follow CNN... and leave people guessing about that stuff).
Humor and Personal stuff. Your personality should include being friendly, approachable, real people who love what we do, and have fun doing it. Let your personality show through as much as you can in 140 characters.
Social Media will give your organization the opportunity to participate or take a role in the Web2.0 world and guarantee your relevance and viability in the market.