Twittering on again, but how do you use it?

At GREEN we tweet, I tweet here too and I’ve also recently set up a Twitter account for BarCamp Bradford. In fact I reckon I have been tweeting for three years now.
But the micro-blogging phenomenon that is Twitter – and I am not sure I like that definition (see Stephen Fry’s take on the issue of Twitter here) – is now entering mainstream with several companies, particularly media organisations now adopting it. There are now several BBC, FT and Channel 4 Tweets out there.
Now I can understand that as a lot of Twitters – wonderful isn’t it: a verb, noun, adjective and adverb – break news. Most notably at the Mumbai massacre and the Hudson River plane story.
And Twitter has already been adopted by some major companies such as General Motors, JetBlue and Whole Foods Market.
These and other companies are keeping close tabs on the 140-characters-or-fewer tweets which are rising up from among the millions of Twitter users. They are looking to connect with people who happen to mention their brands during the course of daily life.
In response to this over-powering twittering noise, companies are now seeking to strengthen their relationship with consumers who have positive things to say. They move even faster to address the concerns of disgruntled individuals before their ur-Tweets can taint the opinions of others sitting in the Twitter nest.
There is an excellent piece on Ragan about how companies should address the issues regarding corporate Twitter.
It offers three key rules for any company considering Twitter as a means of communicating with its social media audience. It’s not rocket science just good common sense and honesty. Here they are:
Be You - Twitter outreach—and really all social media efforts—should be an inside job. Companies should not rely on outside resources, such as PR firms (like GREEN), if they want their social media interactions with users to be authentic. Those who are knowledgeable about and authorized to speak for the organization and its products or services should be the ones doing the talking.
The point is how is a PR firm supposed to respond if they have to go back to the client and get the OK first? It is also important to have devoted inside resources prepared to interact with users in real time, which is the whole point of Twitter.
Be Open - There is nothing worse than sending someone a direct message on Twitter and then hearing nothing back. In short, if you don’t want to engage directly with users who would like to engage with you, then why bother being on Twitter or other social media outlets designed for person-to-person interaction?
Be Honest - It’s annoying when looking at a corporate Tweet to see no names or bios for those who are doing the twittering for the organisation. It’s the equivalent of waiting in a telephone queue while transacting with your bank. After all Twitter is all about having a conversation.
Finally if you want to find out what people are twittering about your organisation check out Filtrbox or Tweetdeck.

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