There is a lot of hype around Twitter for business but how useful is it really? The answer of course is – “it depends”. It depends on what you want to accomplish and how much effort you are prepared to put into it. Twitter is a tool and like any tool it is impotent until used in a productive way.
As a way to spark some thought, here are some of the ways Twitter is being used today:
Customer service — Twitter can be used proactively or reactively and it lets people see the quality of your customer service (for good or for bad). Southwest airlines reportedly scan Twitter to identify people who are having problems or who are commenting about their airline. Comcast does the same and try to address problems using Twitter. Palo Alto Software (home of Business Plan Pro and Marketing Plan Pro software) have a Twitter service which I have used to troubleshoot a problem although they did point me to a live person on the phone at one point. I thought it was excellent service and I hadn’t expected such a rapid reply.
Reputation management — you can use Twitter to search what people are saying about you. Just go to http://search.twitter.com and enter your keywords. Don’t forget the capabilities of the advanced search.
Promotions — if you have a large number of followers it can be effective to use Twitter to inform people of promotions or events. You can also ask your followers to reTweat your announcements to their followers. TweatDeck makes it easy to reTweat.
Network — you can use the aforementioned search capability to find people who have an interest in a particular topic. These might be people you could network with or form strategic partnerships with.
Twitter as an internal tool — some companies use Twitter as a way to keep communication going internally.
How are you using Twitter?