Twitter; for your Business

TwitterOK. This is a slight detour for me as I use this blog to talk and reflect on as much as I can find that impacts the educational establishment.

This, however, is more about general business; it can be adapted to fit the business of education, but is not about how to use Twitter in Education (I’ve done this before, see the presentation).

I was asked recently, by a friend who is trying to encourage their employer to adopt new and interesting technologies for promotion / customer care / etc, to outline what Twitter is and how it can work for them.

Quite a bit of what I’ll go through below is also mentioned on my previous post: Twitter Tips: for Teachers & Educators

Here is a short list of what, how, why of ‘Twitter for Businesses’;


  • Sign-up.
  • Choose a username that reflects the brand or company name.
  • Set you bio correctly (link, picture, etc)
  • Use Twitter Search to listen for your name, your competitor’s names, your product, your industry, etc


  • Self-promote on your own website, in email signatures, etc
  • Engage with users on Twitter
  • Point out interesting things in your space, not just about you
  • Re-tweet and share links to neat things in your community
  • Don’t apologise all the time. Be helpful instead
  • Be wary of over promoting yourself (pimping)
  • Talk about non-business work too
  • Be human

What next?

  • Instead of answering the question, “What are you doing?”, answer the question, “What has your attention?”
  • Have more than one twitterer at the company. People can quit. People take vacations. It’s nice to have a variety
  • Ask questions. Twitter is GREAT for getting opinions
  • Follow interesting people. If you find someone who tweets interesting things, see who she follows, and follow her
  • Tweet about other people’s stuff
  • When you DO talk about your stuff, make it useful. Give advice, blog posts, pictures, etc
  • Share the human side of your company

What else?

  • You don’t have to read every tweet
  • You don’t have to reply to every @ tweet directed to you
  • Use direct messages for 1-to-1 conversations if you feel there’s no value to Twitter at large to hear the conversation
  • Use Twitter Search to make sure you see if someone’s talking about you. Try to participate where it makes sense
  • Desktop apps like Tweetdeck make it a lot easier to manage Twitter
  • If you’re representing clients and billing hours, and tweeting all the time, you might hear about it
  • Learn quickly to use the URL shortening tools like and all the variants
  • 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
  • Commenting on others’ tweets, and retweeting what others have posted is a great way to build community

What can go wrong?

  • Twitter takes time
  • Twitter takes you away from other productive work
  • Without a reason or strategy, it’s just typing
  • There are other ways to do this
  • Twitter doesn’t replace customer good service
  • Twitter is just for techno-nerds
  • Twitter’s only a few million people (but growing)
  • Twitter doesn’t replace direct email marketing (but could do when more use it)
  • Twitter opens the company up to more criticism and griping (but can be managed in an open and frank manner)