Business uses for Twitter


I have been using twitter for maybe the last 3 months now. When I saw it for the first time in 2007, my reaction was right! who has the time for this? Then I reluctantly signed up 3 months back and now I am hooked. Many of the folks I follow the say the same thing. If you are on twitter, you can follow me.

The reason I use twitter most of the time is to get information for myself. I follow some of the very well known social media folks and based on the links that they post I have discovered new content and in the process learned a lot of new things. Not convinced that twitter is useful for personal use? Watch this great video.

OK, so from a personal point of view that is great but does it have any use for businesses? I have found good use for businesses as well. Businesses can create a twitter account, do a search for twitter users who fit the profile of the businesses customer/prospect profile and follow them. Some of them will end up following you. Then use twitter as another vehicle to establish thought leadership in your market and also to create awareness of what you do. This can be done by posting twitter links to

  1. Articles about your company in the media
  2. New content articles on how to best solve problems your customers have
  3. Best practice articles (does not have to be written by you, provide links to other’s content, what is more important is to make your prospects/customers/followers get better at what they do)
  4. Your press releases
  5. Webcasts conducted by your company
  6. Product promotions
  7. Conferences or tradeshows your company may be attending
  8. Awards received by your company
    and this list can go on and on.
  9. (I am always looking for new uses for twitter, so if you have other great uses, please drop me a comment)

You get the idea. In the meantime, make sure that you are also searching twitter to see if anything is being mentioned about your company. This is extremely important.

Let me give you an example – recently one of my twitter friends Max (fictitious name), posted the following “Problems with GotoWebinar never end… Argh. Wish THEY were listening here. But they don’t even listen when I call them up”

So I emailed Max and asked about the specific issues and Max’s customer experience with GotoWebinar because it is one of the easiest tools I have found to conduct webinars. Max send me the details and here are the three takeaways:

  • I’ve communicated about them online, and got no response
  • Instead some of their COMPETITORS have responded to us to see if they can fulfill our needs
  • The problems have only escalated, causing me to be somewhat more vocal about my issues

What? Competitors were listening and they responded to take away your business? Max has close to 150 followers – just by posting a tweet about real experience about a product, Max had instantly spread the word to 150 people and also competitors that GotoWebinar has issues. Within a day, somebody else had asked Max the same question – Max responded “Mostly audio issues… both telephone and VOIP, which they just introduced. And really lacking in customer communication”.

Same day, Max again posted “Surprised by the response to my GTW issues… more responses than last time I voiced some frustration…” – so did GotoWebinar folks follow what is being said about them on twitter? – maybe.

I cannot tell you how important it is for companies to have a good presence on social media channels (blogs, twitter) and more importantly follow what is being said. Rick Burnes from Hubspot recently wrote a great blog post “How to kill a conversation and suck life out of a blog” on this topic.

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11 Responses to Business uses for Twitter

  1. Rick Burnes says:

    Hi Gopal,

    Great piece, and the GTW example is perfect. Twitter and all these other tools are as much (if not more) about listening as publishing.

    Rick

  2. Great post! I think there are many uses for product management including problem and feature validation and requirement collaboration.

  3. I agree, great post. I’d be interested to see who you are following.

  4. ibdesignsusa says:

    Thanks for the great post. I have thought about it and will check into it more for our business.

    Kathy

  5. John says:

    Great tips. I’ll be showing this to a few people to convince them to get on Twitter. You can follow me at twitter.com/johnmoylan

    -John

  6. nmtennis says:

    Excellent post. I have been on twitter for several months now, but have not really used its real potential. I do like some of your ideas.

    Thanks,
    Ron

  7. mullygrub says:

    Thanks for your post. You’ve raised some really good points about who else is online too and how we can use that.

  8. John says:

    great post, I’ve been meaning to start a twitter account but been putting it off; will do it now.

  9. subrataalpha says:

    Here is a page from Squidoo giving more uses of Twitter (not all business, though)
    http://www.squidoo.com/UseTwitter

    Subrata

  10. nmtennis says:

    Your comments concerning the deveopment of this type of social networking is commendable. I am realatively new to tweeting but the information you can obtain within those little 140 characters is invaluable. If it continues to progress as it has, It should prove an exceptional asset to anyone willing to take a little time to listen.

  11. Sudha Jamthe says:

    I like your list. I have 2 more to add:

    1. I find the best business use of twitter is not just to promote your business related links but to engage with customers with real conversations.

    You can find who are your evangelist customers and build out an influencer network of users by helping them out on twitter.

    2. Also, In one instance I found a pr person looking to talk to a real customer on twitter and helped make that connections so we got an authentic pr story w/o any work of the pr team.

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