There are many good reasons why a business should use Twitter, most of which are to do with brand promotion including news, advertising, special promotions and support. Another may be simply that your competitors are using it and you feel the need to match them (although also see Don’t Compare). Twitter can give the impression that your company is young and trendy, which for some industries is an advantage.
But therein lies a potential problem. In the early days of the web, company websites were often the sole responsibility of a junior in the IT department who was keen on playing with new technologies, with no budget and no buy-in from senior management. The result was that, despite substantial central marketing budgets, the company message and image (on the web at least) were in the hands of an enthusiastic junior baggy jeans and an overriding interest in Star Trek. And so it may be with Twitter, for a new generation of social media enthusiasts, resulting in a stream of inane drivel in the guise of customer social interaction.
For a Twitter account to have real business value, it needs to be under the control of senior management with a consistent style and message. Thought needs to be given to what you want to achieve using Twitter and how you can build credibility as a source of useful information relevant to your customer community. As with your website, you will need to track your impact in the Twitter community, whether it’s increased sales, better support or other measurement related to your goals.
If used properly Twitter can improve relationships with customers, increase sales and help in developing customer networks. Improper use will damage your company reputation through a lack of substance or inappropriate messages.