By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
Last month I wrote about the importance of embracing social media. Regardless how you may feel about it, social media is an increasingly important business enabler that should be part of our overall business strategy.
In general, social media can be used as a means to connect with people and their businesses. This means that social media is a tool to provide service to existing customers, reach potential customers, interact with staff, and find new employees.
Calling social media a tool is an important distinction. Like any tool, it can be used for maximum benefit or it can be abused, becoming a huge waste of time. In order to avoid this risk, it may be tempting to summarily dismiss social media – and some businesspeople have.
But doing so removes the opportunity to connect with customers, prospects, employees, and job candidates in the medium of their choice. After all, if you want to fish, you need to go where the fish are.
Of the major social media considerations – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogging – the easiest to set up and use is Twitter.
Essentially, Twitter is a short messaging service that allows you to send public messages to those following you or private messages – as private as anything can be online – to specific individuals. However, these messages must be 140 characters or less. Links can be included in messages, and Twitter will even shorten them to provide you with additional message space.
Setting up a basic Twitter account can be done in just a few minutes. Even if you decide to change the appearance of your Twitter page or upload a graphic, it can still easily be done in under an hour.
Here are a couple of pointers in setting up your Twitter account:
- Unless you want to make it hard for people to find you, use your name or company as your username. You may have to abbreviate, though, as you are limited to fifteen characters.
- Use the bio section to tell others who you are and why they should follow you.
- If you do upload a graphic, make sure the artwork represents your company or use a photo of yourself. Anything else will merely keep people from following you.
Once your account is set up, be brave and send your first tweet. Unless you’re famous, people won’t care about what you ate for dinner or that it’s raining outside; keep things informative or entertaining.