Twitter Etiquette

I am addicted to Twitter.

In fact my addiction is bigger than just this one site. If I had the time I would be everywhere. Why? For me its the buzz that someone somewhere finds the information I provide of value. So how do I get my fix?  These consist of ReTweets, Comments and mentions.

But lets get back to Twitter, I love it, it has given us all a way of communicating in a completely new fashion. But what is the etiquette for this fast paced, communication platform.

Whilst its seen that newcomers to this platform can often make choices that could be perceived in a negative manner that could result in an unfollow of a block, believe me, the most experienced users can often trip up too.

So with the above question in mind, what is Twitter etiquette? Here are some guidelines, not law and least of all dont take my word for it.

-A complete bio and picture – yours (everyone likes faces) is always a good move. We like to see whom we are talking to. As a side note, make sure its the same in all your other platforms, consistency folks.

-If your Twitter is going to have mentions of your day job, list your employer in your profile.

-Don’t worry about the new stalking law, its ok to follow people you don’t know.

-It’s ok to unfollow, your not saying “I don’t like you”.

-Keep the conversation open, to a point, use the @reply function, you will find others may share their opinions or perspective.

-Use direct message when the conversation is more focused, personal or evolves to 1:1 planning.

-Don’t direct message someone you hardly know with automated messages. They may see it as SPAM.

-Remove auto update from location notification apps. You know the one I mean.

-We don’t like to see that you’ve gained 300 followers by using something.com services. Better to gain followers from valued content.

-Promoting others and talking with others is a great way of raising you visibity.

-That goes for blurting your information all the time it is not considered community sharing.

-More information on replies. Turn “Yes” into “Yes, I enjoyed the latest Bond movie too”.

-You don’t have to read every tweet.

-You don’t have to respond to every mention.

-The more you can respond though the more people tend to stay with you.

-It’s ok to have multiple twitter accounts.

-It’s OK to actively BLOCK followers you don’t want following you.

-If you’re running a customer service Twitter account, it’s polite to follow back the people following you.

-Check your links before you tweet them!

 

So these are my thoughts on guidelines. I look forward to seeing the comments on your advice to Twitters old and new

The State of the Twitterverse 2012 by Brian Solis

@briansolis

The first time I wrote about Twitter was March 2007. My, how time and Tweets fly. With 500 million registered users and 33 billion Tweets flying across the Twitterverse every day, Twitter has become a fabric of our digital culture. Twitter is now ingrained in our digital DNA and is reflected in our lifestyle and how we connect and communicate with one another.

While many struggle to understand its utility or its significance in the greater world of media, it is the most efficient global information network in existence today. News no longer breaks, it Tweets. People have demonstrated the speed and efficacy of social networking by connecting to one another based on interests (interest graph) rather then limiting connections to relationships (social graph).  Twitter represents a promising intersection of new media, relationships, traditional media and information to form one highly connected human network.

I recently stumbled upon a well done infographic created by Infographic Labs to communicate the state of of the Twitterverse. It’s quite grand in its design. So, to help get the most out of it, I’ve dissected it into smaller byte-sized portions.

A Brief History of Twitter

July 2006 – Twttr’s hatched (Yes that’s how it was originally spelled), by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, and Biz Stone

July 2007 – Raises $1 million, valued at $5 million

November 2008 – President-elect Barack Obama thanks his Twitter followers

2009 – 2 billion Tweets per day, Twitter raises $35 million

Dec 2010 – Raises $200 million, now valued at $3.7 billion

2011 – 100 million active users sending 33 billion Tweets per day

The Top 3 Countries for Twitter

1. United States – 107.7 million

2. Brasil – 33.3 million

3. Japan – 29.9 million

The Top 5 Moments in Tweets

1. “Castle in the Sky” TV Screening – 25,088 Tweets per second (TPS)

2. Superbowl XLVI Last Minutes – 10,245 TPS

3. (Tied) Madonna at the Superbowl – 10,245 TPS

4. Tim Tebow’s Win – 9,420 TPS

5. Beyonce at the VMAs – 8,869 TPS

Top 6 Reasons for Retweeting

1. Interesting content – 92%

2. Personal connection – 84%

3. Humor – 66%

4. Incentive – 32%

5. Retweet requests – 26%

6. Celebrity status – 21%

Top 4 Ways People Decide to Follow You

1.Suggested by friends – 69%

2. Online search – 47%

3. Suggested by Twitter – 44%

4. Promotions – 31%

Top Factoids You Didn’t Know About Twitter

1. Twitter’s projected ad revenue in 2012 is $259 million

2. Projected ad revenue by 2014 is $540 million

3. 11 Twitter accounts created every second

4. 1 million accounts opened every day

 

Connect with Brian: Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Google+ |

Order The End of Business as Usual today…

Show me the MONEY

If You Build It, Will They Come?
It is hard work as of late, convincing individuals that blogging needs to be part of their digital personal brand strategy.
Especially those that have amassed valuable knowledge over the years and even those with great ideas and opinions.
Some tend to believe that all they need to have is a static presence, say hello on Twitter or Facebook once in awhile, occasionally add connections to their network and they are set to attract clients.
The “build it and they will come,” theory.
Lets be honest, this method doesn’t work and those that are venturing into this arena can back me up.  There is no “one size fits all,” path to success.
It’s about creating relationships and you have to drive traffic. BUT it is not only traffic that is important. Unlike traditional media where today’s news is tomorrows fish and chip wrapper, the world of the Internet has staying power. So every entry into the online world leaves a digital footprint about you that can be found.
Magnetism  & Four-Letter Words
Streetwise professionals would probably also agree that publishing blog articles is like magnetising your target audience to you.  When the blog is quiet, the traffic to your blog slows or stops.
Lets take a look at some benefits:
•    Gives the writer credibility.
•    Focuses on the author’s ideas and expertise.
•    Establishes credibility in the author’s niche.
•    Attracts the reader to the author & the author’s additional content.

How awesome, right?
Who wouldn’t want that?
Ever met a salesperson that didn’t like the spotlight or to talk more about themselves?
Even so, when I say the word, “blog,”  it’s like I’ve said a four-letter word.
BLOG.

The definition of this word has also changed; with the advent of 140 character micro-blogs i.e. Twitter, the use of video blogs i.e. YouTube, picture blogs i.e. Flickr. Penning a few words can lead to engagement however the richer the content the richer the engagement.
Walking the talk
So, for some time, I’ve been pondering how I could get more people interested in blogging.  A little more exciting…more “sexy,” if you will.
It would have to be, or I’d lose my audience.
In this case:

•    Executives.
•    SME’s
•    Sales Professionals.

Individuals, that clients will make decisions about, in 2012 and future.
These days, the Internet is a haven of nifty new media.  A place where we read, play games, buy, sell, trade, socialise, and more…
Building a boat
Back to my challenge – To making blogging more attractive and enticing.  As a parent, my instincts are to put a fun slant on it.
Much like how we convince our children to take their medicine with the song, “A spoon full of sugar.”  Or inspire others to remember something with a groovy acronym.
Finding the Hot Button
So, playing to what gets people enthused I realised this is the sweet spot…the hot button.  I should find a way for them to get just as excited about their blog as they might be about “MONEY“.
The acronym…
M – More
O – Opportunity
N – Needs
E – Engagement
from
Y – You
MONEY
More Opportunity Needs Engagement from You
Oh yes, Show me the money!
What sales person wouldn’t get excited about that?  Information about themselves – about their purpose – rippling across the Internet where their target audience is hanging out!
Can you imagine what could happen with this slightly changed perspective?

So…
Pen is mightier than the sword


The 2015 roadmap will be tough.  Battles between competitors are intense, at a time when our clients need answers and solutions.
Dell are changing customer engagement with mighty mileage from social media.  From a marketing, brand and personal standpoint, a blog should be the hub of your social media and digital presence.
Technology is already changing who wins and how.
Employees  – regardless of time served, status, or experience – NEED to stop snarling their nose at penning a few words once in awhile, and start realising the benefits.
For them, and their clients.


MONEY
More Opportunity Needs Engagement from You

97 Ideas for Building a Valuable Platform

Start Somewhere

  1. Don’t fret as much about the technology. Don’t have a blog? Start one at WordPress.com or Tumblr.com. If you want more flexibility, get your own WordPress blog (affiliate link) by clicking the 4th option on this page.
  2. What are you passionate about? What is useful to others? These two thoughts combined are your best bet at defining your platform.
  3. You might be the “little drummer boy,” worried that what you have to say isn’t worthy. Everyone has something to contribute, especially if you remember to be the real you and not a copy of others you feel are successful.
  4. Get in the habit of writing daily, even if you don’t post daily. Start with 200 words. Then 300. The current best bet for a blog post’s length is between 300-500 words. You can get that.
  5. Remember that there are all kinds of platform-making choices. You can do blogs, video, newsletters, social networks, and many more avenues. What you can’t do is do ALL of those well. Pick a few and work from there. One, maybe two, is a good start.
  6. Don’t be afraid to consider video or audio as part of the mix. We are inundated with text. Why not give all those shiny new smartphones and tablet computers something to consume?
  7. The simplest of messages is often the one we need to hear the most. Paulo Coelho has a world record for how many languages and countries his book, The Alchemist, has been translated into for consumption. The real core of the book is about love and how all things are essentially the same.
  8. People always worry about how often or rarely they should post. The answer is “how often do you have something worthy of tapping into my attention?” Do it that often.
  9. It’s hard to create consistently without inspiration. Read often. Keep your eyes open. Be wary of how your world offers you stories every day.
  10. No matter what other tools you use, make sure you have a website that is your “home base.” Everything else is an outpost. You can spend more time on the outposts, but your goal is to encourage a visit to the home base for a furthering of the relationship.

Embrace Brevity

  1. We are in a consumption society. People can barely read a tweet. Keep everything brief. Note how a numbered list helps with this? Do similar things. Think bite-sized.
  2. We tend to overwrite. Most people’s first few paragraphs are throat-clearing, and their endings are weak. Try cutting from the beginning, and making sure the ending of what you write lands well.
  3. Short sentences rule. Read The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. You can’t not write like her afterwards.
  4. In video, the goal is under 2 minutes, unless it’s a speech or an interview. A trick: you can break up videos with your own “commercials.”
  5. People can barely read tweets. If your blog post is super long, make it worth it.
  6. Writing commentary about other people’s ideas is great – occasionally. Start formulating your own brief ideas.
  7. Want to master brevity? Learn how to create useful posts on Twitter. It spreads to other mediums quite well. Participate in a few hashtag chats like #blogchat on Sunday nights (US time).
  8. If you can say it with fewer words, do so.
  9. Think of ways to “chunk” your content, so that people can consume it. We’re consuming more and more on mobile devices. How will you serve that marketplace?
  10. Email newsletters were born to be brief. One “ask” per email is plenty.

Video. Video. Video

  1. Find a video recording tool and start using it. It can be your laptop. It can be a standalone like the Kodak PlayTouch. Whatever. Just start recording. Practice getting comfortable. Delete the first dozen until you feel like you can look at the lens.
  2. Get a YouTube account. You can use any other platform you want, but you must also use YouTube. It’s the #2 search engine in the world. Why would you NOT use it?
  3. Practice recording daily. Practice publishing weekly. Even if it’s just a few minutes. (It’s better if it’s just a few minutes.)
  4. Remember that brevity rules. 2 minute videos (or even shorter) get much more play and have many more views until the end than long videos. Yes, interviews are a different beast. Break them up with “commercials” or other ways to segment them.
  5. You can edit just fine in iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. If you graduate to Final Cut Pro or Sony Vegas or whatever, great. But don’t worry about that at first. Just start with the simple and the inexpensive.
  6. AUDIO is the secret to better video. People forgive a lot of visual mess if you have solid audio.
  7. How I learn more and more about video comes from watching and dissecting how others do what they do. Find interesting video shows (or TV shows) and figure out how they get what they get.
  8. Remember: start somewhere. You don’t have to do amazing video. You have to start telling a story that reflects you, and that is helpful to others. This is the core of a humble platform.
  9. Interviews are a great way to get started in video, because you can ask others to talk about themselves. Learning about others is often helpful to people.
  10. The more you practice with video, the more you’ll see rewards. We are a visual race, we humans. But don’t forget to add text in the post that contains the video.

Ideas Drive Platform

  1. If you’re the same as everyone else, how will we notice you? Ideas need contrast to make sense.
  2. The best ideas are the ones people can take and make their own. Give your ideas “handles” and let people take those ideas with them when they go.
  3. If you can clearly articulate your ideas, even simple ones work well.
  4. Sharing other people’s ideas helps show that you don’t feel you know it all. (Humble, remember?)
  5. Sometimes, a question makes for a great idea. I’ve learned plenty from admitting I don’t know something.
  6. One amazing idea trumps a lot of little ideas. And yet, usually really little ideas can be amazing. Sir Richard Branson’s biggest business idea is to keep his companies small. For a long time, only the airline bucked that trend.
  7. To come up with great ideas, read and listen to other people’s great ideas. To make your ideas great, share them as often as you can.
  8. Hoarding ideas is like stashing ice cubes under your mattress for later. Use them when you get them, and share them liberally.
  9. Never worry that someone else “stole” your idea. Ideas are free. Execution is what makes you money. I’ve met countless bitter people who “invented Facebook” years before.
  10. We love learning from people who have interesting and positive ideas. It’s harder to keep an audience, if you’re forever in the negative and griping camp.

Be Yourself

  1. The more I act like myself, instead of like what I thought the world wanted, the more successful I become.
  2. Realize that there’s a “hot mess” line, meaning that you have to filter the “you” that you put out there a little bit. People don’t want to hear every woe and misery in your life. (Most times. Dooce not withstanding.)
  3. Realize that being yourself means you won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Embrace that.
  4. The “yourself” that most people want you to be is the one that they can learn something from. And yet, if that’s not what you want to be, disregard me and be yourself.
  5. Part of being yourself is untangling from other people’s expectations. This is a very difficult matter, and yet important to building your platform.
  6. “Be yourself” doesn’t mean be only about yourself. Connecting with and caring about others is always a trait that earns more attention.
  7. It’s great to have a lot of passions. When displaying this via your platform, try to tie them to a larger storyline so that people understand how they connect.
  8. Never let your shortcomings become your reasons why not. Richard Branson is dyslexic. Ryan Blair went from gang member to millionaire success story. Excuses are Band-Aids on wounds that don’t exist.
  9. Marsha Collier said it best: “You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.”
  10. Start where you are. Lots of people worry that everyone’s so far ahead. Those people? They started somewhere.

Humble Is Better Marketing

  1. It’s better to focus on helping and creating useful information than it is to seek and share praise about yourself.
  2. Promoting others does more for your reputation and reach than promoting yourself.
  3. Share other people’s great work, and create great work. Yours will be shared, at some point.
  4. Leaving comments on other people’s sites with your links and promoting your stuff is poopy. It smells of desperation. Don’t do it. The only exception is when you’re invited to do so.
  5. Ask about others first. The most famous people I’ve met do this and do it well. Both Sir Richard Branson and Disney CEO Bob Iger asked me about me before I could start my interviews with them. In both cases, they were sincere and interested. Learn from the big dogs.
  6. The more you care about the success of others, the more you will be successful.
  7. Being humble isn’t a marketing plan. It’s a requirement for doing human business.
  8. Humble doesn’t mean “forgotten,” nor does it mean self-destructive. If you’re too humble, that’s also called “invisible.” Realize when the right times to chime in might be.
  9. Yes, occasionally, it’s great to pat yourself on the back.
  10. Remember that praise and criticism are the same: other people’s thoughts that shouldn’t sway your overall mission. (We tend to accept praise but loathe criticism. Learn to loathe it equally.)

Your Three Roles

  1. Whether or not you want to be, you are now in sales and customer service, along with whatever your main goal or drive might be.
  2. If you want your platform to succeed, you have to become comfortable with selling. Sell yourself. Sell your product. Whatever you’re looking to do, learn how to be open, clear, and honest with how you sell.
  3. Customer service (and use this term broadly) matters. If you’re selling something, serve those who are your customers. If you’re hoping to sell, realize that how you treat your prospects is how you should treat your customers.
  4. Marketing is part of sales. If you’re not finding ways to promote (humbly!) your ideas and your goals via your platform, you’ll not get the chance to have sales.
  5. Listening and responding are core to customer service. It’s amazing how many people miss opportunities simply by missing a reply. (Happens to me, often.)
  6. The old “ABC” from Glengarry Glen Ross was “Always Be Closing.” The new ABC is “Always Be Connecting.” Networks are what make selling easier. Your platform is part of how you network.
  7. Customer service also means sometimes learning who isn’t the best customer. It’s a tough moment when you have to let a customer go, but often times, this leads to improved success. (Tread cautiously here.)
  8. Most small businesses split their time in thirds: 1/3 prospecting, 1/3 executing, 1/3 serving your customers. That’s a good model for us, too.
  9. If you’re doing it right, all three roles complement each other. We buy from people we know. A platform helps with that. Serving the people you care about, your community, is just what comes with the territory.
  10. No matter how busy you are, if you’re not doing one of your three prime roles, you’re not working on your business or your platform.

Overnight Success

  1. Building a platform takes time. Years. But you have to start somewhere.
  2. Doing the work requires more time and effort than not doing it. Unemployment is also easier than working.
  3. No one ever hands you success. Even those stars you sneer at, saying “but they had ____” , really have to earn it.
  4. Success, as I define it, is the ability to choose how you spend your day, and a full belly.
  5. It takes a lot of “kitchen table” time to find ideas that can bring you success. But you need to test those ideas out at the “lemonade stand” to know whether they have any play in the marketplace. And ultimately, the beauty of this platform you’re building will be that it provides a “campfire” around which you can gather and further develop the community.
  6. There are very few successes in the world that happened as solo acts. You need a team, a network, and a lot of goodwill.
  7. Success doesn’t just show up. It comes in tiny molecules daily. If you didn’t work today on building success, how will it come to you tomorrow?
  8. Success is also about knowing what not to do, and what to cut out. Success is about stripping down to the core of what you can do for the world. This takes work.
  9. Never mistake popularity for success. There are plenty of popular people who still haven’t made it.
  10. Success never comes to those who don’t put in the work. If this seems like a lot of repetition, it’s because this one lesson is often skipped over.

What to Talk/Write About

  1. Write about your potential audience or buyer more than you write about yourself.
  2. Sometimes, the best posts or videos come from the frequently asked questions people have.
  3. Share more than just a few tiny tidbits. People know if you’re trying to lure them in deeper.
  4. Interviews make great content, but only if you ask great questions.
  5. Product and service demos can be interesting.
  6. Testimonials are good to talk about, but ESPECIALLY if you can highlight the hero, your customer, and not your product. Meaning, talk about a successful ____ customer, but don’t talk as much about the product as you do them.
  7. Personal posts can make for really great content. And by personal, I mean, connect people with who you are and what you are about outside of your professional role. What else are you into?
  8. Point out the great people in your community. Posts or interviews really make this happen.
  9. Deliver instruction. Teaching someone how to do something never goes out of style.
  10. Don’t forget to do the occasional series.

What to Avoid

  1. Any post bragging about how great you are is a wasted post. You want to feel proud, but it’s just hard for people to feel it with you, unless you’ve built the relationships first.
  2. Posts that are selling, but that are masked such that they don’t appear to be selling aren’t good business. If you’re going to sell something, be clear about it.
  3. Try never to say “you guys.” Address one person, a very important person.
  4. Try never to write about us and them.
  5. Want to wow people? Don’t write nasty posts about your competitors.
  6. Don’t worry about link-baiting. Worry about becoming a trusted and valuable resource.
  7. Before you blog or shoot video in anger, rethink whether it’s worth it.

In the end, it’s up to you. Yes, this will take work. No, this isn’t simple. Yes, there will be mistakes. But I feel that the world is shifting from simply “use of social networks” into “seeking of value.” This is some of the way you can attain that.

Originally written by Chris Brogan

50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business

We really can’t deny the fact that businesses are testing out Twitter as part of their steps into the social media landscape. You can say it’s a stupid application, that no business gets done there, but there are too many of us (including me) that can disagree and point out business value. I’m not going to address the naysayers much with this. Instead, I’m going to offer 50 thoughts for people looking to use Twitter for business. And by “business,” I mean anything from a solo act to a huge enterprise customer.

First Steps

  1. Build an account and immediate start using Twitter Search to listen for your name, your competitor’s names, words that relate to your space. (Listening always comes first.)
  2. Add a picture. We want to see you.
  3. Talk to people about THEIR interests, too. I know this doesn’t sell more widgets, but it shows us you’re human.
  4. Point out interesting things in your space, not just about you.
  5. Share links to neat things in your community. ( @wholefoods does this well).
  6. Don’t get stuck in the apology loop. Be helpful instead. ( @jetblue gives travel tips.)
  7. Be wary of always pimping your stuff. Your fans will love it. Others will tune out.
  8. Promote your employees’ outside-of-work stories. ( @TheHomeDepot does it well.)
  9. Throw in a few humans, like BenIBM, green_goddess, etc.
  10. Talk about non-business, too, like @aaronstrout and @jimstorer.

Ideas About WHAT to Tweet

  1. Instead of answering the question, “What are you doing?”, answer the question, “What has your attention?”
  2. Have more than one twitterer at the company. People can quit. People take vacations. It’s nice to have a variety.
  3. When promoting a blog post, ask a question or explain what’s coming next, instead of just dumping a link.
  4. Ask questions. Twitter is GREAT for getting opinions.
  5. Follow interesting people. If you find someone who tweets interesting things, see who she follows, and follow her.
  6. Tweet about other people’s stuff. Again, doesn’t directly impact your business, but makes us feel like you’re not “that guy.”
  7. When you DO talk about your stuff, make it useful. Give advice, blog posts, pictures, etc.
  8. Share the human side of your company. If you’re bothering to tweet, it means you believe social media has value for human connections. Point us to pictures and other human things.
  9. Don’t toot your own horn too much. (Man, I can’t believe I’m saying this. I do it all the time. – Side note: I’ve gotta stop tooting my own horn).
  10. Or, if you do, try to balance it out by promoting the heck out of others, too.

Some Sanity For You

  1. You don’t have to read every tweet.
  2. You don’t have to reply to every @ tweet directed to you (try to reply to some, but don’t feel guilty).
  3. Use direct messages for 1-to-1 conversations if you feel there’s no value to Twitter at large to hear the conversation ( got this from @pistachio).
  4. Use services like Twitter Search to make sure you see if someone’s talking about you. Try to participate where it makes sense.
  5. 3rd party clients like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck make it a lot easier to manage Twitter.
  6. If you tweet all day while your coworkers are busy, you’re going to hear about it.
  7. If you’re representing clients and billing hours, and tweeting all the time, you might hear about it.
  8. Learn quickly to use the URL shortening tools like TinyURL and all the variants. It helps tidy up your tweets.
  9. If someone says you’re using twitter wrong, forget it. It’s an opt out society. They can unfollow if they don’t like how you use it.
  10. Commenting on others’ tweets, and retweeting what others have posted is a great way to build community.

The Negatives People Will Throw At You

  1. Twitter takes up time.
  2. Twitter takes you away from other productive work.
  3. Without a strategy, it’s just typing.
  4. There are other ways to do this.
  5. As Frank hears often, Twitter doesn’t replace customer service (Frank is @comcastcares and is a superhero for what he’s started.)
  6. Twitter is buggy and not enterprise-ready.
  7. Twitter is just for technonerds.
  8. Twitter’s only a few million people. (only)
  9. Twitter doesn’t replace direct email marketing.
  10. Twitter opens the company up to more criticism and griping.

Some Positives to Throw Back

  1. Twitter helps one organize great, instant meetups (tweetups).
  2. Twitter works swell as an opinion poll.
  3. Twitter can help direct people’s attention to good things.
  4. Twitter at events helps people build an instant “backchannel.”
  5. Twitter breaks news faster than other sources, often (especially if the news impacts online denizens).
  6. Twitter gives businesses a glimpse at what status messaging can do for an organization. Remember presence in the 1990s?
  7. Twitter brings great minds together, and gives you daily opportunities to learn (if you look for it, and/or if you follow the right folks).
  8. Twitter gives your critics a forum, but that means you can study them.
  9. Twitter helps with business development, if your prospects are online (mine are).
  10. Twitter can augment customer service. (but see above)

Thanks to Chris Brogan for this article

Latest Study: How The Fortune 100 Are Using Twitter

Originally written by Jeff Bullas

I have recently been reviewing social media in a general sense so a new study by Weber Shandwick on Twitter that I came across was an opportunity to provide a more specific social media channel review about Twitter, that looks at the current use by the Fortune 100 and how they are currently implementing Twitter across their companies.
Twitter is quite often dismissed by a lot of people as a platform that broadcasts inane pointless babble and conversations about, “what you had for breakfast” or “your weekend activities”. Most people are starting to realise that Twitter can be used for your business or brand in ways that are only limited by your creativity. Two other recent studies showed that the Top 500 Fastest Growing Companies and the Top 200 Non Profits in the USA were the leaders in their use of Social Media and Twitter as compared to the Fortune 500.
The major finding in essence, was that the Fortune 100 are really not utilizing Twitters full potential to engage, communicate, promote their brand and promote and drive a position of being a thought leader in their industry amongst many other shortcomings. So here are some rather telling statistics, facts and figures that show their sins of omission rather than a compelling example of best practice.

  1.     73 percent of Fortune 100 companies registered a total of 540 Twitter accounts.
  2.     About three-quarters (76 percent) of those accounts did not post tweets very often.
  3.     More than half (52 percent) were not actively engaged (This was measured by engagement metrics such as numbers of links, hashtags, references and retweets.)
  4.     50 percent of the Fortune 100 accounts had fewer than 500 followers, a small number in relation to the size and reach of a major corporation.
  5.     15 percent were inactive; of those,11 percent were merely placeholder accounts — unused accounts to protect corporate names against so-called brand-jacking on Twitter — and 4 percent were abandoned after being used for a specific event.
  6.     26 percent of their Twitter accounts were primarily used as a one-way flow of information (either by RSSnews feeds or manual tweets) that offered no engagement with followers.
  7.     Tweets did not provide opinions or encourage discussions.This contradicts the value of Twitter as a two-way dialogue to build relationships with customers and advocates.
  8.     A sizeable 24 percent of the Twitter accounts were primarily used for brand awareness.
  9.     Many appeared to be on Twitter simply to have an online presence.
  10.     They did not use the platform to reach out to the community and demonstrate that their brand is a trusted source of valuable information, a business that not only talks but also listens to customers.
  11.     Surprisingly, only 16 percent of the Fortune 100 accounts were used mainly as sales vehicles for company products and services.Other companies did not appear to understand that sales growth can be achieved by posting special Twitter offers, coupons, limited bargains and sales prices, or by searching for customers who mention a company product and reaching out to them to build a relationship.
  12.     Customer service was the focus of only 9 percent of the accounts; it is highly likely that these companies are worried about corporate reputation — posts that might be damaging to a brand.In addition, success requires a commitment to respond “quickly to customer queries, suggestions or complaints. Note: According to Twitter’s own best practices, “your reply should come within a day, if not within hours”.
  13.     “Thought leadership appeared to be the least prominent Twitter strategy by Fortune 100 companies, with only 8 percent focused on it. Corporate reputation and authority can be extended onto Twitter, but are most effective only after thought leadership is demonstrated in newspapers, trade publications or recognized by analysts and bloggers. This I think demonstrates the blog and website as your  “home base” and Twitter as your one of your “Outposts”
  14.     Finally, another 14 percent of accounts were used for other reasons such as recruitment or employee-specific information, or their accounts were locked and not visible.These companies were unable to build relationships with interested communities.

It was interesting to observe that best practices were not followed by most of the Fortune 100 accounts examined by Weber Shandwick study with the following being the major Twitter sins.

  •     Few followers: Half of those accounts had fewer than 500 followers, while
  •     More than half did not meet engagement metrics that were analyzed in Twitalyzer (e.g.numbers of links, hashtags, references and retweets)
  •     Three-quarters (76 percent) of those accounts posted fewer than 500 tweets.This indicates either a lack of engagement by many companies with their followers, or newly established accounts that haven’t yet started using the platform to build relationships.
  •     Twenty-four percent of the Twitter accounts were primarily used for brand awareness; however many of them appeared to be on Twitter simply to have an online presence

This falls short of the opportunity that Twitter offers as a valuable communications channel and strategic social network.For those companies what are the activities that they should pursue?

Create a companywide engagement strategy; a set of guidelines with best practices
Demonstrate a consistent and comprehensive brand presence
Build a dialogue that paves the way to new relationships with customers and advocates
Generate loyalty among new and existing communities
To maximize the benefits of Twitter, companies should
offer opinions and encourage discussions
reach out to their communities of customers and advocates
build relationships with new customers and look for untapped supporters.

Weber Shandwick prescribed five essential steps as a starting point for Fortune 100 companies to create true engagement and market interaction on Twitter:

1.Listen to conversations

2.Participate in conversations

3.Update frequently with valuable information

4.Reply to people who talk about issues that are important to your company

5.Retweet relevant conversations

So here are “7  Twitter Best Practices” from the study revealing that in the majority, the Fortune 100 were not implementing

Listen to and monitor conversations
Participate in conversations instead of just listening
Provide frequent updates with valuable information that can demonstrate thought leadership.
Have a large number of followers
Reply to people who talk about issues that are important to them rather than sit on the sidelines
Retweet those conversations which can help promote the brand
Reply or refer to other accounts with @username, and in turn, they are referred to by other accounts.

By following the best “7 Best Practices”, Twitter can be used by businesses for many purposes, as its value differs for each company. If best practices are followed, businesses can

Promote and distribute their news in a very cost efficient manner “World Wide” or “Locally”.
Broadcast their products and services offerings with a wider audience
Increase brand awareness,
Gain new customers
Boost sales
Provide customer service.
Demonstrate “thought Leadership

Conclusion

For the majority of Fortune 100 companies, Twitter remains a missed opportunity. Many of their Twitter accounts, examined by Weber Shandwick, did not appear to listen to or engage with their readers, instead offering a one-way broadcast of press releases, company blog posts and event information.

The number of active Twitter users in the United States already exceeds 20 million and can be expected to continue to grow.This is a massive human database to tap, companies that understand the value of Twitter can benefit from its potential as a viable engagement platform. A majority of Fortune 100 companies are not using Twitter for its intended benefit: to create meaningful connections and relationships with customers, potential advocates, media and other business contacts.