There’s a great article over at Mashable this week from Lon Cohen about brand presence on Twitter. I’ll preface this review by saying I’m a Twitter addict, so I might be a little biased toward the “Yes” side of things but I’ll do my best to represent the Twitter naysayers as well.
Cohen outlines three reasons why brands and Twitter can play nice together.
- Twitter is opt in—so technically anyone following your brand has an interest in what you have to say. You’re not sending a mass email hoping 1% of the people care—if you’re engaging with your Twitter followers—they’re interested because they’ve chosen and continue to follow you.
- Twitter is the new phone company—Very true. I can get help with my Dell or Zappos customer service questions much faster on Twitter than I ever did looking up a phone number and sitting on hold for awhile. Not only that—I have something in writing that tells me what to do or how to resolve my problem. The problem with customer service via telephone is the “he said she said” thing that happens when you escalate your call to the next level.
- Brands can have personalities too—I love Cohen’s comparison here—he says there are tweeple for every type of personality and he brings into play the Breakfast Club movie—the rebel, the social butterfly, the jock, the weirdo and the nerd. All are well represented on Twitter and each persona finds its own followers. Anyone who says 140 characters aren’t enough to give your brand a voice is wrong.
So here’s where I’m going to give the Anti-Tweeple their due. Twitter is live—and as with anything online—once it’s said (or tweeted) it’s there for the world to see—and brands in any social media platform must be careful.
- Think about the tone you’re using before you post every tweet
- Don’t start if you’re not going to continue—you’ll get skewered by the die hard Tweeple who expect you to be your brand’s voice online—and resolve issues when they’re brought to your attention in 140 character blasts. Because this level of customer service takes time—you have to weigh the pros and cons of being involved. If you don’t have the time or manpower—this might not be the medium for you.
Cohen also gives a few tips for being involved as a brand on Twitter
- Give value added content—don’t just feed your blog posts in and let it ride
- Talk about related topics—not just your brand’s base. It’s about engaging more than pimping
- You’re not only representing your brand—you’re representing your industry
- Don’t talk about your competitors—but do talk about why our customers choose your product or service.
All in all there are some great benefits to Twitter if you approach it with some realistic time and return expectations. Read the article—claim your brand’s name and get to work. Oh—and if you don’t have time to tweet right now, claim your brand’s name anyway—someday it might be a hot commodity.
Carrie Hill is the SEO Team leader for Blizzard Internet Marketing where she specializes in optimizing travel, tourism and accommodations websites.