Scrunchies, neon spandex, the “Rachel” haircut. These are all fads that have come and gone. When it comes to technology and social media, it’s easy to label wildly popular platforms as a temporary fad. But their staying power proves critics wrong.

 

Twitter – which boasts 218 million users, according to Mediabistro report – is no 24-hour obsession. Today, many people claim to get all of their personal and news updates from their Twitter feeds – and to learn about local happenings, sales and deals and other updates from their favorite businesses.

 

As a business owner, that’s why you should care about Twitter. You can use it to cultivate followers, convert them into customers and grow your popularity and loyalty.  But Twitter isn’t right for every single business. Before you commit to conversations in 140 characters, ask yourself these four questions:

 

1.     Is your audience on Twitter? If your target audience includes seniors who are 70 and older, I can guarantee Twitter isn’t the best bet for you. Of course, it isn’t always that clear cut. That’s why Twitter makes it easy to learn whether people are posting about topics related to your business. Anyone can “tag” an update with a keyword, marked by a hashtag (#). You can search for keywords related to your business.  A hashtag “conversation” that updates every few minutes is ideal. It’s both busy enough to attract more users, and not so busy that your tweets will get lost in the mix.
 
 
2.     What tone are you going for? Twitter encourages a very casual tone, which can be useful for companies that want to connect in a more conversational way with their customers. If chatting with your customers contradicts your company personality, Twitter may not be right for you. At the very least, you’ll want to restrict Twitter use to retweeting great customer reviews and encouraging people with questions and concerns to email customer service.
 
 
3.     Who will be responsible for tweeting? Developing a content strategy means considering not just what to do, but who will be responsible for it. Tweets may only be 140 characters, but they still take time. Remember that whoever you choose will not only be tweeting but also responding to any questions that come through Twitter, and they’ll need to be responding promptly. The average shelf life of a Tweet is 5 minutes.
 
 
4.     How will Twitter fit into your overall strategy? If your overall strategy is based on writing articles and sending out newsletters, Twitter may not add anything new. On the other hand, if social media plays a large role in your strategy, Twitter may be the missing element you’ve been looking for. Map out how your strategy is accomplishing your business objectives, and look at how Twitter fits into the mix.
 
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