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Social Media Commerce: How to Tweet for Business

You can have separate business and personal accounts on Twitter, but handling two accounts can be a challenge. You might find that you can consistently handle only one Twitter account at a time.

All the major brands are on Twitter. Big companies such as FedEx have a staff of people to handle Twitter and anther to handle Facebook. Use Twitter search to find your favorite brand. Follow that list to observe big business at work online.

Your presence on Twitter can personalize your business outreach — Tweets should sound like they're from a real, live person. Tweet about the ideas behind and value of your business to the community by sharing content.

Share links to stories and pictures with your customers. Make your business transparent; make it real. Here are some of the things you can do with a Twitter account:

  • Organize Tweetups, which are live events that you sponsor for your Twitter followers and local community.

  • Monitor your account through searches and see what people are saying about you.

  • Respond publicly to customer queries and questions.

  • Show that your business is not a cold, hard enterprise but is run by people.

  • Spread the word easily if you're supporting a charity or cause.

  • Learn from others in your line of work (find them through searches and hash tags as described shortly), and interact within that community.

  • See who’s doing innovative work in your field; you might get some good ideas to apply to your business.

  • Build customers by friending like-minded people online.

  • Handle customer service issues in a fresh and friendly way.

If the idea of typing words and phrases to people you don’t know gives you the willies, check out Twitter's many examples of small businesses who reach their customers online.

In 2009, Co Co. Sala, a popular Washington, DC chocolate lounge and boutique — yes, you read right — joined Twitter (@cocosala). They've been using Twitter to build a customer base and connect with existing customers, as shown.

Co Co. Sala’s Twitter page shows warm content with followers and customers.
Co Co. Sala’s Twitter page shows warm content with followers and customers.

Monica Sethi, head of social media outreach, has this to say about how they are using social media:

Our passion lies in providing our customers with an experience which far surpasses their expectations. With the help of social media, we are able to deliver this exceptional customer experience not only at our venue but online, as well.

With the emergence of social media, there has been a paradigm shift in communication. It is no longer about one-way communication. Social media allows us to engage with our customers in conversation. This provides us with the ability to understand our customers and connect with them on a deeper level.

Another interesting example is @ChicagoCabbie, shown in the figure. This cab driver Tweets between calls and has built quite a following of Chicagoans. He also uses Twitter to set up appointments for rides. Smart!

@ChicagoCabbie finds fares by making friends in his city.
@ChicagoCabbie finds fares by making friends in his city.

The businesses (and people) who do the best on Twitter stay away from constant self-referential posts. Marketing and promotion must be couched between Tweets of interest to your followers.

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