So there's a lot of buzz right now about Twitter and how small businesses can leverage it. Everyone has ideas about how this microblogging phenomenon can help companies improve communication with customers and foster open dialogue and feedback. While all of that seems to be a good thing, it remains to be seen how much value a company can get out of Twitter for the time they put into it.
There is an article on CIO.com that discusses the best ways to get started using Twitter for your business. For businesses, you need to be interested in sharing ideas and tips with others in your industry or field and also committed to responding to others, which is called "following." For example, a small marketing firm might join Twitter, seach out other marketing professionals and discuss articles, news, industry updates, etc.
The other benefit is that, when you have enough of a following, you will see an increase in traffic on your website, blog, etc. and perhaps an increase in sales. This would come from the large exposure of your company to your followers on Twitter who perceive you as an "expert" and will be interested in your product themselves, or pass your information on to others.
The main thing Twitter is not for, however, is self promotion. You should not put your blog and website link on every update. The idea is to connect with others and build relationships with those who share common interests. Trying to aggressively sell yourself is highly frowned upon (and it is in the blogosphere as well).
It seems to me that this would all take a large amount of work. I am still unsure of the true benefit this would provide to OfficeClip; some people say it won't take a lot of time because the updates are only 140 characters. This is certainly a fair point, but you still have to find the research, news, etc. to share with others. Also, every other kind of social networking, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and even blogging and forums, require quite a bit of time investment in order to achieve results. Its seems that Twitter would need to be approached from that perspective as well: you get out of it what you put into it. The question I have is, what do you really get out of it as a small business?
What to do?
But, on the other hand, we all know how powerful the internet is and how many companies are not taking full advantage. Maybe this a great to join Twitter then and get established as a company unafraid to enter the world of micro-blogging. I would love to hear some ways that Twitter has or has not worked for you, please leave comments below!