Twitter For Dummies
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If you have a new or growing company that you want to introduce to the world through Twitter, start a separate account for the company. You may find balancing traditional corporate professionalism with the level of transparency that Twitter users have come to expect to be a little tricky sometimes, so keep these guidelines in mind when you start your new account:

  • Provide value to the Twitter community. Your company account can become a source of news, solutions, ideas, entertainment, or information that’s more than just a series of links to products and services. Educate your Twitter followers. Reach out to people whom you can genuinely and unselfishly help.

    You can even offer sales incentives for products, in the way that @DellOutlet does, as long as what you offer has genuine value. Establish your company’s leadership in providing ideas, solutions, and innovation.

  • Be human. Most brands use their company logo as their Twitter avatar to keep things official, but they’ll add a little personality to their header photo or individual Tweets. A commonly favored approach is to let your followers become familiar with who’s behind the company voice; it makes them feel more engaged.

    Take photos of your company during team outings to show off the culture, or tweet a dorky industry joke here and there. Humans like to talk to other humans, so make sure your brand doesn’t feel robotic.

  • Don’t spam. Don’t flood the Twitter feed with self-promotional links or product information that don’t deliver genuine value to readers. Whether self-promotional or not, you never want to clog up people’s Twitter streams with irrelevant information. You might not talk about your cat or your marriage on a company account, but you can still make it personal.

    Profile an employee, talk about milestones for employees, or talk about what’s going on in your office. You can even hold tweetups at your office and invite your followers to stop by, as Boston’s NPR news station WBUR (@WBUR) does. This approach gives people a peek at what makes your company run.

Before tweeting in earnest for your company, it’s a good idea to openly discuss your plans to demonstrate that you’re taking a productive, innovative approach and to prevent any misguided fears that joining Twitter means you will somehow suddenly start to leak sensitive company information or otherwise break reasonable corporate policies.

As with any public communications platform, you do need to consider just how much you can say about what goes on inside your business. Transparency is key, but you don’t want to disclose industry secrets in a public forum. Every company has a different style. It helps to have a good plan in place and make sure that the employees assigned to the company Twitter account are trustworthy and have solid judgment.

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Laura Fitton was one of the first marketers to discover the value of Twitter for businesses and society. She founded Twitter app store and sold it to HubSpot. She’s now Inbound Marketing Evangelist for Hubspot. Anum Hussain speaks to thousands on how to effectively use social media - in classrooms, at conferences and even alongside Twitter’s Small Business Team. Brittany Leaning writes about social media strategy for HubSpot’s 1.6 million readers and has managed accounts for several well-known brands.

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