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By Heather Lutze, CEO
Findability Consulting & Speaking

Baffled by the popularity of Twitter?  Wondering what the benefits for your company might be? Want to know if there is a way to use it that makes sense for your business objectives, and would not be a waste of manpower, or worse?

You’re definitely not alone.

Ultimately, brands need to have a role in society. The best way to have a role in society is to understand how people are talking about things in real time.”  ~~Jean-Philippe Maheu, Chief Digital Officer, Ogilvy

Twitter is one of the main ways people are now talking in real time. Don’t you want in on the conversation? More important, don’t you really need in, if you’re to stay relevant?

Our head of social media is the customer.”  ~~McDonald’s

I’d call them a “reasonably” successful company, wouldn’t you? They get it. (And they’ve got it, with over 42,000 Twitter followers.)

The qualities that make Twitter seem inane and half-baked are what make it so powerful.”  ~~Jonathan Zittrain, professor of Internet law at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School

But you won’t really understand the power of Twitter until you start using it, and not just using it but using it smart. Let me give you some Twitter strategy, best practices, and suggestions.

Getting Real, Bottom Line Results from Twitter

Setting up a business Twitter account is easy, and user friendly.

1. Set up a professional account name. You may want to reserve all your trademarks, brand names, and product names as well as capture and reserve your company name. (It’s OK to have more than one Twitter account.)

You can either build Twitter accounts on each of those names or you can redirect all your Twitter accounts back to the primary, official company Twitter page. In this way, if someone searches for you under one of your product names, they will find you, and be directed back to your main Twitter account.

2. Make your site as professional as possible by getting a professionally done background, one which matches your existing branding. Your background should include:

• Your logo

• A call to action—what you’d like viewers to do as a result of visiting your Twitter page.

• Your contact information. Of course.

3. In the set-up process, you’ll be asked to name your account and write a profile description. Use your main keyword phrases in the description.

4. Decide who will become the face of your Twitter presence. This is an important decision. Twitter users, and social media users in general, don’t want to follow or converse with a logo. They don’t want to read tweets from the GEICO gecko. People want to follow people, even if they are dealing with corporate giants.

If, on the other hand, you have a specific product that is the main component of your Twitter campaign, in that case it’s OK to use a very specific campaign logo like Tide detergent does, with their, “Tide Loads of Hope” program. Their Twitter account uses the Tide Cares logo instead of a person’s photo, but all their tweets are extremely informative and personable.

If your company is not that specifically focused, it’s highly recommended to use a picture of a person.

5. Use a picture of a real person in your organization and identify them by name. All your tweets should be coming from that person, written in the first person. Make sure that you put a personal, warm and engaging voice to your Twitter account.

6. Set up a tweeting plan covering the next 30 days. Be methodical about what you include in your tweets and what keywords you’ll use with each grouping of tweets. This will be a cohesive, cleverly directed approach, instead of a hodgepodge of tweets off the top of someone’s head.

Tweet Suggestions

  • Quotes: a great way to show people that you’re really plugged in to your industry. Quote the thought leaders you admire, including your competition!
  • Industry facts and news buzz: included any events that are happening, both internally and externally to your company.
  • Fun things: such as jokes, witty cartoons, cool new apps, etc. These add liveliness and personality to your tweets.
  • Retweets (RT): you receive a “tweet” in your stream and re-send it to everyone who follows you, all with a click that takes mere seconds. One caveat—before you ever retweet someone else’s information, visit the URL. You never want to embarrass yourself by mistakenly forwarding something inappropriate, or something you don’t believe in.
  • Promo codes and coupons: perfect on Twitter; they keep people engaged.
  • Create a company hashtag. Create a unique word or short phrase that other Twitterers can hone in on quickly. Looking for what hashtag is being used in your industry or create your own. Mine is #getfound.
  • Set up “tweet alerts.” Check out SocialOomph.com, which allows you to enter keyword phrases, and get a roundup at the end of every day showing who’s using them. This helps you to stay on top of industry happenings.

Even if you personally find the whole idea of “tweeting” inane and think it would be a totally ineffective method of communication for your organization—please don’t negate how other people choose to communicate. There’s a lot more to Twitter than first meets the eye.

Hope to see your company’s valuable information showing up in my tweet-stream soon!

Warm Regards,

Heather Lutze

Internet Marketing Speaker, Trainer and Consultant