Chris Brogan has produced a list of ‘power’ Twitter tips. It is a long list. But there are a couple of nuggets in there for businesses.
In particular I like: ‘invite your customers to Twitter, then make it worth it for them’
I think too many companies view Twitter from their own narrow perspective and not enough from the perspective of their diverse range of stakeholders.
Also, I just don’t think that pumping out links to press releases to every stakeholder is a credible strategy. To journalists and analysts yes, but not to every stakeholder of your business. Twitter needs to be used more imaginatively.
In an established media context, companies don’t offer the same story to every newspaper, radio station, and publication regardless of the different editorial styles and demographics, so why should they use social media as if it is read by one passive monolithic audience?
I also liked this tip for businesses: ‘use Twitter as a personalised communications tool, not another blast’
I couldn’t agree more. Social media presents a unique opportunity for businesses to present themselves in more individual ways, and to treat customers and stakeholders in more personal ways.
The participative social media culture invites businesses to drop the corporate mask, get involved, and be more friendly. Think First Direct with its friendly, real customer service and less like a big stony hearted, impersonal Government department helpline.
It is essential that businesses use these tools to reach out to their stakeholders, to build influential online coalitions with the aim of creating online fan communities.
The aim is to be less of a stranger to your customers and stakeholders in this networked world, to listen to them, to take on board what they are saying and to talk with them. This is so you win their trust and acceptance and become recognised members of their communities.
Then if a problem or issue raises itself they are less likely to go screaming off, forming a mob, and generating diastrous comments about you. They will instead come to you directly and listen to what you have to say.
Some companies are behaving as if they can act despite what is being said on social media or in denial of existence. Such a position is unsustainable.
Facebook claims now to have about 400m active users worldwide. I think if the FT or Times had those numbers, then companies would be investing in resources to get their messages across!