Twitter has been lauded for its ability to "humanize" a company, and make locked-away executives available for on the ground customers. Here are some tips for getting the most out of Twitter.
Twitter works best when you're not only casual, but you're personal. You don't have to discuss your private life, but be frank about what's happening in the company, and the issues you're facing as a person day to day.
On Twitter, by getting people interested and caring about you, you can leverage that trust to the company and the brand. A great example of this in action are the tweets of Zappos' CEO Tony Hsieh. In his tweets, Hsieh will not only talk about Zappos issues and products; he'll talk about say, why his flight in Dubai was delayed, or NASA finding water on the moon. If you tweet him a question, he'll respond to you. By nurturing goodwill and letting people get to "know him," he's building trust and a positive association for the Zappos brand.
Ask For Help
On occasion ask your followers what they think about a certain campaign or product. And consider their advice and let them know if it was taken on board. This will convey that your company values them not just as customers, but as friends with worthy opinions. When you do this, they'll probably retweet your message, giving you even more exposure.
Good tweets include insightful comments about current events in business, or interesting links; thoughtful and relevant responses to thought leaders; interesting news from the company - just launched projects, upcoming events, awards, new hires, and special offers. Make your tweets interesting and more than just short press releases.
Track Your Progress
Here are some helpful tools:
Twitter Search allows you to search from twitter in real time. Search in real time. You can filter your results by location.
Monitter shows what's happening on twitter around certain key words, and gives you a pretty good indication on the speeed with which twitter gets updated around popular terms.
TweetStats gives colourful graphs on month-to-month Twitter use, daily and hourly tweets, what people replied to most.
And one last point for the overwhelmed. Don't have time to be on Twitter? Then find an employee or a brand advocate who does.