THING While getting my much needed cup of coffee this morning, I overheard a lady behind me say something along the lines of, "What about this Twitter thing… how can we use it to market us?"

I didn’t listen to the rest of the conversation, as my focus was on coffee and waking up.  However, what was said struck a chord. Those of you who have been on twitter awhile, have noticed the influx of companies jumping on the bandwagon.  On my twitter profile the number of business accounts following me are starting to surpass actual people.

There are some fantastic examples of companies using Twitter to it’s full benefit.  However, many are not using it effectively. To be fair, they may not know how.

So, if your company is thinking about trying Twitter, here are some quick suggestions.

  • Don’t use Twitter as simply just another billboard to sell or promote you or your services.
  • Twitter is a digital handshake. The same principals and ethics the govern our offline relationships apply.
  • Do research. If you you are thinking of setting up a profile for your restaurant, what other restaurants are using Twitter? How are they using it? What are they doing that works? What isn’t working?
  • Target demographics do exist on Twitter, but that doesn’t mean you should treat your followers as such. Treat people as people, not demographics.
  • Before you start "tweeting" consider searching keywords using tools like Twitter Search, and listen to what people in your target demographic are talking about.
  • Step out from behind the curtain. Do your best to be personable. Respond and talk with your followers.
  • If at all possible, avoid the auto Direct Message. Taking the time to say hello pays off.
  • Build your content bubble. There is a wealth of information available on just about every niche. If your business is about photography, share what others are saying. Talk about the history of photography. Highlight local photographers. The point is, just don’t talk about you.
  • Ultimately the goal of your twitter profile should be to help people.
  • I repeat – help. Don’t sell or market. Help. Doing this will build trust and value which in turn can lead to customers.

Hopefully this helps and get’s you started in a good direction.

What did I miss? What advice would you add to this list?