Social media: some tips for creating and using Twitter accounts for business

Twitter seems to be the king of social content sharing and micro-blogging. Wherever you go and whatever you read, it is almost impossible to escape the stories about Twitter.

While detractors are quick to label it frivolous and lacking in detail, there’s some real value to Twitter as a marketing platform, especially for brands and companies that are already relatively well established online.

The hardest step for marketers is signing up to Twitter. There are so many decisions to make, so many factors to isolate, and so many choices that can only be made once.

To ease the process, these tips will help you pick an account name, choose how to market your business or services, and select just how you are going to generate followers and evangelists. Head to the sign-up page, and let’s go.

1. Pick a user name that is professional and personal at the same time.
This one is really a balancing act. If you are representing a company, it can be hard to pick whether to use the company name or your personal name in your Twitter profile. For personality, it is often best to go with your own name. People feel more comfortable connecting with a person, and it helps your followers escape the “customer service” feel that a company account can have. But in the end what matters most to get followers is sharing valuable stuff so it all depends. For my blog I chose to pick a name that is not personal but relates to the subject of the blog. But then again, I’m not a business 🙂

2. If you are a trusted brand, incorporate it into your profile.
Who is going to gain more trust? A brand named itself, or a brand named with their company’s new media director’s name? If you are a big brand, go for the brand name rather than the personal name. It is all about trust, and if your brand is trusted, side with the authority name.

3. Make your profile personal and informative.
Twitter is not just for connecting with current customers, it is also for creating new ones. When you make your profile a basket full of inside jokes, it is difficult for new users to connect with you. Make things accessible, and remove any insular references or information in your profile.

4. Check your direct messages often.
As public as Twitter sometimes is, a lot of users prefer the privacy of email or direct messaging. There are two ways to help them connect with you. First, check your direct messages often and reply whenever you can. Second, add an email address to your profile page so that followers can connect in long form privately.

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