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Is Twitter Useful For Business?

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    There are companies out there using Twitter to make money, most interestingly, they are not using it as a traditional business tool; far from it; they are using it the way it was intended, as a social tool.

    Consider life before Twitter

    Or, way back before social media was a new phenomenon. How did you go about getting new business in those days? And how did you go about getting more business out of existing clients? Unless you were in, say the retail consumer goods industry, business has always been about relationships. You got more business from existing clients by socialising with them, having lunch, playing golf, going down the pub, or going to common interest functions. But whatever you did, you didn’t discuss business directly – business news maybe, politics maybe, other people, certainly and righting wrongs and sharing experiences- of course. But your business products – d’oh! Who wants to talk about that? Yet, despite no talking about business you got more of it from these people you talked with.

    And, in the past, when you felt there might be a new customer, what did you do? You took every opportunity to get to know them. Instead of filling their minds with “buy this” messages you sat down with them, asked them questions about themselves. You were trying to extract as much information out of them as possible to see where you could “fit” the needs. But the encounter with potential clients was more social and the sharing of common experiences, not “sales”. Indeed, if it were focused on entirely on sales, particularly in Australia (or China or many other places) what happened? You were accused of being a “hard sell” – a pushy salesman or similar.

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    Fast forward to Twitter

    What happens when you see a tweet that is a clearly a business conversation, when it is sales focused? Almost certainly you ignore it; you might even get angry and stop following the individual.

    You will, of course, find many “social networking gurus” forcing social networking hype at you on Twitter, which makes it seem that these “experts” know a thing or two and therefore if your business uses twitter in this way, you’ll see more sales and customer loyalty. I figure not. Come back in a year and see how many of the “gurus” have changed their tune on how or why to use Twitter. Use Twitter to get your customers and prospects into a conversation about what they want, not what you want to sell them. It’s no accident that Twitter is named a ‘social network’, use it socially, in context with your business and customers will be grateful that not every communication with your business is a ‘sales’ one.

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