While many of us know how A-Mazing Twitter is for business, there are plenty of companies and industries that haven’t yet experienced the benefits of this particular social channel. Having worked for years in the financial services industry, I was late to the party myself, BUT I’m here now and am blown away by several remarkable characteristics of Twitter that make it one of the most effective social vehicles businesses can use to keep a pulse on market trends, engage their customers, build brands, and drive growth. I’ve narrowed my list down to 8 key reasons to love Twitter for business for anyone who still needs some convincing.

Follow me on Twitter @LMHinz and check back often.

1. Collaboration

Twitter is NOT a one-sided conversation.  It is a lively discussion that never stops and users have the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded professionals about anything ranging from growth strategies to customer engagement to leadership.  What is something that really interests you that you would like to discuss with others? I bet there is a #twitterchat for that. Twitter chats are scheduled open forums where anyone can join in on the conversation around specific topics by a specific hashtag.  Someone hosts the chat and there is a featured guest, usually a leading influencer on the topic, who shares his or her insights with a limitless group of people – all participating online from anywhere in the world.  Anyone can jump in and add their perspective to the question and engage in dialogue with other participants, which makes it an active conversation with folks you probably would not have met otherwise. (Don’t forget your manners, though.  If you have not participated in a Twitter chat before, I suggest listening first for a while before jumping in. Here are some guidelines for twitter chat success.Some of my favorite chats to keep me involved and informed in my own industry are #sshour (social media related), #cmworld (content marketing), and #tchat (professional development and leadership) just to name a few. Visit Tweet Reports to see a full list of all twitter chats available! I have met some incredible people by being intentional and joining the conversation. I learn from my peers, establish authentic connections with some of the smartest, forward thinking people in the industry, and contribute my ideas as well.   With new connections come new opportunities to help one another.  Amazing things can happen when people come together.

2. Engagement

As I mention above, Twitter never sleeps.  This means then that you can streamline your engagement with customers every hour! What is so great about Twitter for businesses, is that you can be LISTENING to your audience and tailoring offers and messages that are of most value to your followers and customers in real-time!  In the same way you engage with industry leaders and peers to glean important insights, companies can (and should) do the same with their customers, followers, and employees.  Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show engages his audience every week with #Hashtag Thursdays.  He announces what hashtag viewers should use and to write in sharing their story on a topic. For example, a recent one was #myweirdneighbor and he asked his audience to write in to share weird neighbor stories. On his show he then shares some of his favorites and it allows his audience to participate with him and the show in a very real and fun way, helping to increase fan loyalty and show ratings.  Likewise, businesses offering products and services can engage with their audiences the same way.  Zappos is a great example of a company that is actively engaged in a meaningful way with its fans and customers. They tweet about new products coming out, ask customers questions about products and life, offer fashion tips, and share all the fun happenings inside the organization.

3. Fun

Honestly, managing an online presence is a lot of work and requires discipline, commitment, and creativity (just to name a few!).  But, it is a ton of fun being connected with people in an authentic way and watching your brand influence grow over time.  It is no secret that consumers these days, especially Millennials, want a different experience with brands than previous generations.  Twitter allows you a way to show your fun side to your customers and invites them to join in with you.  Obviously, certain industries aren’t traditionally, “fun,” but regardless – think of ways you can be adding value to your customers and followers that creates a positive experience. Twitter is a great channel you can be using to reinforce your brand presence.  Besides, customers are more likely to want to engage with a “fun” company, than a boring, ho-hum company.

4. Personalization

Twitter is nothing but personal, so it’s a great tool to use to personalize your customer’s and follower’s experience with your brand.  With a simple @ sign, you can reach out to individuals in seconds and they can reach you.  Imagine being a traveling customer who suddenly has an issue with your cell phone, tablet, or other device. Rather than having to call and go through annoying voice prompts, what if you could simply message the company by @company with your question….and they got back to you!?  Now imagine being a company who received a customer question on Twitter and your ability to solve their problem has the potential to reach more people via their followers and yours?! Wow, that’s better than a testimonial – it’s real, in real-time, and it’s personalized service.  That is just ONE simple example of how Twitter can enhance a company’s ability to personalize their brand for their customers.

Likewise, Twitter lends itself to a company being able to share its unique brand voice and tone in an ongoing way that is very different than advertisements and static posts.  The dynamic nature of Twitter provides an opportunity for people to feel like they know you and your business before they ever actually meet you or talk with you on the phone.  It’s a wonderful characteristic of Twitter that businesses can utilize to make themselves real and make that personal connection with others.

Have some ideas on what they should be?? Let me know! I’d love to include your perspective in next week’s post.

Follow me on Twitter so you don’t miss it! @LMHinz

8 Reasons to Love Twitter for Business