I was emailed the other day about whether I should be tweeting ‘Carphone Warehouse Help tip of the day’ – was this the right use of twitter or the very wrong use of it? Now, whilst I would love to think that the tips have a growing and loyal fan base, I would be seriously deluding myself if that were the case. However, it got me thinking about what is the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ use of Twitter for a company trying to reach out to its existing customers or attract new ones.

Mistakes will happen in the use of Twitter because that is part of the humanising and levelling nature of social media, we’re all the same in a sense (of course, Stephen Fry will always have exponentially more followers that I could ever hope for), but that’s not the point for most of us.

Perhaps we should stop thinking about should corporates tweet or not. Perhaps it’s about seeing what those who tweet do, and what they tweet about, and when they choose to tweet, and if we can do the same, then it might be worth a go.

UK trains – timetable updates
JetBlue – flight announcements
Comcast – customer service

Be brave, but don’t be afraid. Look, see, learn. I’m reminded of a poem by the French poet and philosopher Guillaume Apollinaire (which I bring out of my closet of hackneyed phrases and cliches at moments such as this):

“Come to the edge.”
“We can’t. We’re afraid.”
“Come to the edge.”
“We can’t. We will fall!”
“Come to the edge.”
And they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.

Whilst I do agree that twitter is not for every company, I also think that it is very easy for companies to use the ‘value’ or ‘ROI’ argument against even dipping their toes in the water and actually trying to find the evidence of whether twitter has a relevance for them or not. Twitter, like many ‘social apps’ is evolving all the time, and we evolve with it. It is moving in different directions and cajoling, provoking and challenging established ways of thinking; something that any disruptive agent does. I use twitter in the workplace. The more I use it within a business context, the more I understand about its relevance (or not) to what I do, how it might help to engage with customers (or not), how it might change the way in which we engage with customers and they with us (or not). Am I nervous about using it? Yes. Am I excited about using it? Yes. Does it challenge the way I think about how we might provide help and support to customers? Yes. But, at the end of the day, I am more nervous about not trying it out.

At the end of the day, we all have the choice to ‘follow’ or to ‘block’.

Enough ramblings for a day…

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