I joined Twitter today. Although I never really understood what it is or why you would want it, I’m constantly hearing about Twitter in webinars and at networking events. So, now I’m a member. If you’re going to blog about social media, you had better be using it, right?
As far as I can tell, Twitter is basically one big Facebook status. Users are allowed 140 characters to answer the simple question, “What are you doing?” Twitter then keeps a running list of responses from people who you are “following.” You can also monitor these updates by receiving them via instant messaging, e-mail, RSS feed, a Facebook application and other options. Users can find their friends by searching through their e-mail contacts or just typing names in the search field.
As with blogging, Twitter has recently exploded as a marketing tool. Major companies are beginning to use Twitter as a means of communication with their customers and stakeholders. Twitter users can easily receive quick updates about what’s going on in the company or a new product being launched. And with well over 2 million Twitter accounts, that’s a whole lot of exposure. While I can certainly see the proactive uses of corporate “tweeting,” PRWeek’s article, “Protect your brand and reputation on Twitter,” talks about the need to monitor what’s being said about your company within the Twitterverse.
Apparently, impersonating companies is becoming a problem. PR and marketing professionals need to keep tabs on this, as well as what employees and customers are saying about the company. Just like blogging, Twitter updates can provide great feedback.
The article also provides some great tips for corporate Tweeting, emphasizing the need to be personal and transparent. In the world of social media, it’s important that public relations professionals identify themselves as employees of the company and their purposes for being on Twitter (or other social media outlets). In addition, people want to feel that they’re getting updates from an actual person, not some corporate suit on auto pilot. It’s okay to keep tweets consistent with corporate messaging, but humanize your updates.