A Frank Talk About Twitter for Business and Nonprofit

Last week I wrote 15 tips for Twitter for business and nonprofit. It occurs to me that even before addressing how to use it, we should have a talk about what to expect and what is realistic when it comes to using Twitter.

There are a lot of people claiming they know the secrets to getting tons of followers and getting you rolling in the dough.

As with all things business: there is no secret. They are full of it. I already told you what you need to know and where to learn more if you are inclined. If they are promising secrets, see if that involves you buying something to learn the secret.

Yeah, I thought so.

And if they aren’t offering something directly for sale, they are probably making these claims in hopes of bumping their own numbers and site traffic.

So let’s talk a little about Twitter for business and nonprofit. Why use it at all? What are some ways to use it?

As with all marketing tools, Twitter can improve income, but there are no guarantees. It is not the fast track to riches any more than anything else out there. As I said in The Realities of Making Money on the Web, the Internet is not a magic money machine. So forget all the hype that has been thrown your way. You’re not Ashton Kutcher; let it go.

In other words: you’re going to get more out of Twitter if you go in with realistic expectations. You’ll enjoy it more too. Knowing how it really works means you won’t give up after a month or so because you don’t have hundreds of thousands of followers and a jump in sales every day.

While social networking can draw in new customers, it is also a useful tool for interacting with current customers. Being in business these days means you have an online presence. It is what is expected for anyone to take you seriously. Customer retention can involve regular interaction with customers online. Twitter and other social networks are a means to do that. As I said in Twitter Do’s and Don’ts for Business and Nonprofits, if you don’t know what to tweet, share links to other sites that are informative or helpful. You can also start your own blog and share news that way. Twitter can augment your customer service: use Twitter for getting opinions from customers and potential customers. Offer promotions and contests. And just talk about yourself some too; your customers want to know about the people behind the business too. They want to know you’re not just some faceless corporation. There are lots of sites out there with ideas on what to tweet and how to tweet. I’ve listed a few at the end of this post.

It is a good idea to provide multiple avenues of getting information to your customers. Many people online may follow multiple social networks, but there are also many who prefer just one. Twitter is useful for sharing news with those customers who prefer it to Facebook. Or maybe some prefer to get news via Twitter rather than an RSS feed or email newsletter.

If you’d like to see more ideas on how to get the most out of Twitter, here are a few good articles for you.

After you read these, still have questions? Any ideas to share? Post them here!

10 Innovative Ways To Use Twitter For Business (Note: there isn’t anything innovative there at all…this ought to be just 10 Ways to Use Twitter. This is how most organizations use Twitter now.)

How Companies Use Twitter to Bolster Their Brands

50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business

4 Ways Companies Use Twitter for Business

How to Use Twitter for Business

9 Ways To Get The Most From Twitter

62 Ways to Use Twitter for Business

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