There is something about Twitter that polarises the masses. Actually, it goes further than that, especially in a business sense. From my observations, Twitter seems to divide people unevenly into three discrete camps: those who love it, those who hate it, and those who haven’t heard of it.
As an organisation, we have begun looking at our online presence including media such as Facebook and Twitter. There are many examples of companies using social media very well. There are probably more examples of companies who are not. The trick is, there is no rule book or definitive way to do it right; this is as frustrating for some individuals as it is liberating for others.
How to guides for Twitter
As part of our discussions and explorations, a group of us have come across and shared some resources exploring marketing conventions and etiquette for Twitter. Highly recommended by a colleague is the ebook Tweet This Book, which looks at building business and personal brands through social media. It’s free to download – the author, Vaughn Davis, simply asks that you ‘pay’ him by tweeting the link or posting it on Facebook. It talks about how social media can be a window on the wall that is advertising, allowing users into what he describes as the social landscape. Davis stresses that the best way to learn how to do this is to jump on in; developing a brand through social media is not something you can thoroughly prepare for in advance, like heart surgery, for example.
Having said that, surely there have got to be some better ways to go about it than others? I found this blog post about social media principles helpful, with good explanations behind some of the techniques which can be used. On the other hand, 7 Twitter rules you must ignore busts some of the myths surrounding Twitter in light of traditional marketing. In essence, I see the success of any strategy is down to planning: what is our purpose, what do we want to achieve, who image to do we want to project, who is going to be the face for our approach (this could be more than one person), and how will we make this happen.
I recently had some business cards printed. Rather than use up a line reciting a redundant fax number when I’m not even sure about the location of said machine in our office, I have included my Twitter handle, @ageja. As someone who works predominantly online, it makes sense for me to include details about the best ways to contact me. And, of course, I considered the idea of replacing the fax line with my Twitter handle after someone I follow on Twitter talked about doing it herself. I tweeted the idea and got feedback from several others encouraging me to go ahead. How’s that for a great example of a personal learning network in action?
Upon distributing my new cards at a recent educators’ forum, the result was instantaneously unanimous: “Oh, I hate Twitter.” OK … we got to talking about the points mentioned above, as well as me explaining how I have used Twitter as a tool for developing my own personal learning network while also providing timely access to topical news, research and information. There were many nods of agreement but the bottom line remained: “it’s not for me”. Fair enough. Maybe their perceptions will change in time?
What do you see the role of social media such as Twitter playing in terms of building an organisation’s brand? Can you think of any organisations which you feel are already doing this particularly well? What might be the secrets to their success?