Creating dialogue: Tweet or talk?

by Urs E. Gattiker on 2009/07/01 · 15 comments 11,619 views

in a analytics: rating and ranking - who's #1,c corporate blogging,c micro-blogging Twitter

Starting the morning with an email inbox swamped in spam is painful. Nevertheless, email is a great help for transmitting documents and information. Now comes micro-blogging and social networks. Like email these can be a real distraction from getting our work done.

All things being equal (or ceteris paribus), here are a few questions and issues you might want to reflect upon and answer for yourself when using your time at work to micro-blog or tweet instead of hitting the phone to talk to your customers or constituents.

1 – The basics
When tweeting as a small business, consider these issues:

    – what is my target audience (e.g., sports lovers vs. clients, consumers vs. industrial buyers)?
    – what is the primary language of most of my followers (English, French, etc.)?
    – what is the gender of most of my readers (for more info, read five steps to Twitter success)?

It is obvious that sports-related tweets are different than those about banking. Different languages can result in etiquette issues within the message (English rules – NOT on Twitter) and women tend to be more personal than men (see tweets to the right).

Hence, if the majority of your followers are primarily female CEOs or management types whose first language may not be English, how about tweeting accordingly?

2 – What is the purpose of your tweet?
Are you doing a fine job of providing snapshots of unfolding events or is your archive of tweets a compendium of banalities? The problem is that the nature of Twitter can encourage users to communicate endlessly without actually affecting events (Iran vote) or people’s behavior (e.g., purchasing a product).

Please reflect carefully before using one of your daily allotment of tweets and make each one count.

3 – Are stilettos appropriate for this occasion?

Sending out a mixture of sports scores and self-congratulatory notes is authentic (e.g., Senator John McCain), but it can be the opposite of what your followers want, need or expect.

With ComMetrics (see image at left) and WEFdavos we are trying to provide tweets that are interesting enough to achieve click-through rates of 15 percent or more, excluding re-tweeting (see also Twitter volume vs. Twitter influence).

Hence, one needs to find the type of shoe that suits one’s followers, not the other way round!

4 – Why 1,000 followers may do little for your bottom line
Some say it’s all about who you follow, NOT who follows you.

As a small business, it is most important to understand that Twitter is really not scalable. If you want to read tweets carefully and check out the URLs sent, it’s easy to spend two or more hours on it each day. Our business cannot really afford this (see below for more info).

Bottom line
Surely, important and profound business messages can generally be encapsulated in 140 characters (or 120 to allow the recipient to retweet using RT @ComMetrics). Nonetheless, it is invariably more effective and enjoyable to share a cup of coffee with your client or colleague while having a real discussion, than exchanging bursts of 140 characters of information.

Increasing your followers for the sake of getting more may not be the answer either. Incidentally, the user to the right that advertised this link in one of his tweets failed to get more followers, as of four days after posting. And even if he would have, would those new followers have been the ones he is aiming for – possible clients?

As a micro-business, we have learned that neither Twitter nor Facebook are the miracle ingredient that will bring us all the users we want for Our blog posts do better. Still.

Of course, if you tweet from home instead of watching two hours of TV at night, it might be great fun. However, if updating your Facebook status or Twitter content fails to create additional revenue for your small business, it should not be part of your workday, should it?

Also of interest:
Follow us on Twitter with ComMetrics or WEFdavos or find us on FriendFeed. Plus, check out All about Twitter and then some,
Corporate microblogging on Twitter, and
Corporate microblogging or Twitter-squatting?

Have your say. What have you experienced with services like Twitter and Naijapulse? Has it resulted in an expanded customer base or has it made little difference? Give me a shout and leave a comment below, I am very interested to hear about your take on things.

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