How to Approach Twitter

By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2008-11-24 Print this article Print

Ojeda-Zapata recommends that business owners unfamiliar with Twitter take a step-by-step approach when considering joining the "Twitterverse." Figure out what sort of relationships your business wants to cultivate, and search for mentions of the products you sell, as well as your company name, he said. "Companies of any kind can get on Twitter and discover to their amazement that people are talking about them on it," he said. "If so, they need to monitor that."

Twitter is a universe where honest voices and genuine relationships will forever trump the daily scream of press releases and product announcements. "You have the option of using it as a bullhorn or an intercom," he said. "For those who use it as a bullhorn, it's a quick way to turn people off and have them 'un-follow' you right away."

Another important point to remember, he said, is tone of voice. If your small or midsize business has a quirky or unconventional relationship with customers, mold that to fit your Twitter account. There's a risk of going too cutesy or informal for the sake of "fitting in," so stick with the voice that expresses your company's culture.

"The lesson I kept running into is companies that are used to it are companies that don't preach, don't oversell, don't bash users over the head with promotions, but instead get into the Twitterverse in a genuine way," Ojeda-Zapata said. "They figure out how they can have direct interactions with their customers, be it through customer service or developing relationships that don't have a concrete purpose but generate goodwill."

Twitter's extremely low barrier to entry also levels the playing field for companies of any size. A hip startup with a sophisticated social media strategy could easily have as large a network as a multimillion-dollar corporation. To become Masters of the Twitterverse, SMBs need only dedication to the community and an honest voice.

"It takes hard work and a lot of effort to build a following, but as any Twitter user can tell you, it pays off," Ojeda-Zapata said. "Every company, regardless of size, location or purpose, really has a chance to succeed."

Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at Before joining, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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