Over the years, I've actively called for Twitter to contribute to its own culture and direction by leading instead of following. It would effectively serve as a source of inspiration and orientation for consumers and the businesses hoping to connect with them, which would ultimately increase the alarming 40-percent user retention pattern. I suggested that the company actively define user scenarios and offer a quick-start guide for the unique groups of users seeking guidance in order to not only increase user retention, but also accelerate adoption and the evolution of the service. If I had a bit more time, I would have gladly written a series of educational and instructional guides for them to own and publish on their site. But now, with the help of Sarah Milstein, Twitter is on the right track and is showing signs of a company that is ready to once again lead us to new digital and sociological terrain.
Twitter rolled out a friendly and instructional 101 series designed to help users create a strategic and effective presence as well as spark and foster a collaborative community in the ever-maturing Twitterverse. Additionally, for those marketers, brand managers, communications professionals, and new media consultants who have painfully and exhaustively attempted to explain Twitter and its benefits to executives, co-workers, or clients, this guide is your saving grace and for some, their golden ticket.
Co-Founder Biz Stone explained the rationale behind the creation of the guide, "Many are seeing a wide variety of businesses using Twitter in interesting ways to create value for customers and consumers. As a result, we're often invited by businesses and organizations to talk about Twitter and how it can be used to better engage with customers. The results demonstrate how customers are getting value out of Twitter and suggest techniques businesses can employ to enhance that value."
He continued, "Twitter 101 is a suite of web pages that explains our findings. There is also a downloadable slideshow available as a PDF that's more of an overview which folks can use to give presentations within larger organizations to teach others about Twitter. We're focused on enhancing value across Twitter in generalâ€"these documents are just a first step."
Its format is deceptively simple, but packed with valuable information that bridges functionality and potential with instruction and comprehensive examples that span a variety of businesses and marketplaces. What's constant, though, is Twitter's desire to help you, and also help you, help others.
The guide covers:
Initially, Twitter answers probably the first question on any business owner or executive's mind, "So what does Twitter do for businesses?"
Twitter is a communications platform that helps businesses and their customers do a number of useful things. As a business, you can use it to quickly share information with people interested in your company, gather real-time market intelligence and feedback, and build relationships with customers, partners and other people who care about your company. As an individual user, you can use Twitter to tell a company (or anyone else) that you've had a great-or disappointing-experience with their business, offer product ideas, and learn about great offers.
Twitter also answers the question of how businesses are using Twitter...
Twitter connects you to your customers right now, in a way that was never before possible. For example, let's say you work for a custom bike company. If you run a search for your brand, you may find people posting messages about how happy they are that your bike lets them ride in the French Alpsâ€"giving you a chance to share tips about cyclist-friendly cafes along their route.
Others may post minor equipment complaints or desired features that they would never bother to contact you aboutâ€"providing you with invaluable customer feedback that you can respond to right away or use for future planning. Still others may twitter about serious problems with your bikesâ€"letting you offer customer service that can turn around a bad situation.
Businesses of all kinds, including major brands, increasingly find that listening and engaging on the service lead to happier customers, passionate advocates, key product improvements and, in many cases, more sales.
One of Twitter's key benefits is that it gives you the chance to communicate casually with customers on their terms, creating friendly relationships along the wayâ€"tough for corporations to do in most other mediums.
But Twitter isn't just about useful immediacy. The conversational nature of the medium lets you build relationships with customers, partners and other people important to your business. Beyond transactions, Twitter gives your constituents direct access to employees and a way to contribute to your company; as marketers say, it shrinks the emotional distance between your company and your customers. Plus, the platform lends itself to integration with your existing communication channels and strategies. In combination, those factors can make Twitter a critical piece of your company's bigger digital footprint.
And for those who need to see how Twitter is used by businesses in the real world, Twitter assembled some of the most oft cited examples and summarized their challenges, experiences, how they tied success to business goals.
This business survival guide provides a comprehensive overview, and quick tips along the way, that provide just enough data to pass the baton to you in order to apply and connect what you've learned to your business - triggering creative ideas to change the ingredients to make it more appropriate for you.
Twitter 101 is available as a post, slide show, or printable document here.
Instead of approaching Twitter as a place to broadcast information about your company, think of it as a place to build relationships.
Also, please read: Make Tweet Love, Top Tips for Building Relationships on Twitter.
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