Everyone and his dog seems to be tweeting, from CEOs, celebrities and not-for-profits to venture capitalists, banks, business services, government and, well, dogs (and cats and the random parakeet, too). Should your business be tweeting? Twitter is not for everyone. Here are the "Top 10 Reasons Not to Tweet."
- You think using Twitter is a social-media strategy. It's a tactic, a tool, not a strategy. It works if you already have an online following who'll view your Tweets as a way to interact with your company on a human level.
- Every tweet has to be approved by legal. Twitter is a social network where conversation is fast and interconnected. If you have to wait a day, or even a few hours for your 140 character Tweet to gain legal approval, Twitter will be the wrong platform for you.
- You plan to use Twitter for nothing but broadcasting headlines or deals. People follow people they find interesting. Followers are earned on Twitter. Be interesting, make only every 10th tweet about you, and you'll gain and keep a following. If all your tweets are a one-way street: Block!
- You think a ghost tweeter for the president of your company is OK. Authenticity and transparency are the keys. It's fine if someone besides the CEO tweets for your company, as long as they say that's what they're doing.
- You are not going to respond when people direct tweets at you. Twitter is like the new water cooler. If you walked out to the water fountain and talked nonstop to people gathered there, they'd certainly be happy when you left. Ditto for Twitter.
- You think Tweeting as XYZ Corp. and using the company logo as your avatar might be a good idea. Identify the person or people tweeting for your company or don't tweet. The days of hiding behind the faceless corporation are over.
- You think all that matters on Twitter is getting a lot of people to follow you. Quality trumps quantity.
- You want to protect your updates. If people have to ask permission to see what you're posting on Twitter, you're defeating the purpose, which is conversation.
- You plan to track Twitter with Google Analytics. Google Analytics won't give you true tracking. You can track the URLs you post with a service like BudURL or bit.ly, but you'll need to use one or more social-media tracking tools to monitor your corporate reputation and influence on Twitter.
- You think you can just jump in and start tweeting. Listen first. Monitor what's being said about your brand, your industry, your products. Then join the conversation and become part of the community. Then your occasional marketing messages will be accepted, or at least tolerated because you also add value to the community.