I’ve been thinking recently about how Twitter might be used by corporate bodies (including associations, clubs, small business etc) and what additional tools would complement Twitter itself. This has partially been brought on by a teleconference in which I recently participated wherein this question was asked, but also because a relative is thinking about Facebook for his small business and one thought led to another.
Here are some notes..
- Decide what you’d like to achieve by twittering – it might not work out, or you might get some other unexpected benefits, and you will likely change your objectives, but at least it will give you an idea of how to get started
- Get the word out to members/customers that a twitter feed exists. Could do this via existing contact lists via email or SMS, or even snailmail if that is still being used, and via other advertising, email signatures, website.
- Ensure that tweets are posted – who is authorised to tweet, and how important is consistency of style if there is more than one person
- Ensure that tweets are interesting/useful/timely – especially around promotional activities and events.
- Ensure that tweets are in an authentic voice, not just marketingese, but fit within the overall brand image – get in now and see if there is a username available that suits the corporate body. Decide on a #hashtag and recommend it to members/customers for when they are twittering about the corporate body
- Monitor @replies and respond, maybe not to all, but to key ones
- Monitor what Twitterers are saying about the corporate body – this could be part of an existing media monitoring strategy
- Ensure that this is sustainable – is this a one person operation, or does it need a number of people to maintain it? Link up tweets with Facebook status if needed to reduce duplication of work.
- Follow some key twitterers – it’s a conversation not a monologue – key to you, not just general twitterers.
Twitter tools to help with all this..
Twitterfeed – automatically have links to blog posts, or other RSS items added to your tweetstream. Great if you have a company blog, or Flickr photos being uploaded as part of an event, or an event calendar that publishes an RSS feed. Multiple feeds can be added to Tweetfeed.
Twitpic – hosts photographs and automatically adds a link into your twitter stream. But you could achieve the same thing by using Flickr with Twitterfeed
Twuffer (twitter buffer) – queue tweets in advance. Now some might argue that this is not in the spirit of Twitter, but could be darn handy for the busy office or one person show to make timed announcements, and it does not mean that you can’t fire off a tweet whenever you want to via the web, sms, or Twitter client of choice.
Tweetscan – Set up alerts for twitter search results for key words and limit by usernames if you want. It is also possible to download an archive of your own tweets if needed.
That’s enough to get started, but there are heaps of other twitter tools and heaps of ideas out there.