Sunday, August 24, 2008

A few questions for companies to consider as they join Twitter

More and more companies have joined the Twitterverse. Over the past week, I have been followed by Whole Foods, Starbucks, American Airlines and Popeyes Chicken. Hopefully, these companies and others are discovering that Twitter is a great place to join the conversation with those customers.  Much has been written here and elsewhere about ways to facilitate those conversations. But as companies jump on the Twitter bandwagon, I have a lot of questions that they should consider since Twitter is designed for individuals:
  • Do you set up a Twitter account with your official brand name or an employee spokesman?
    • Great naming conventions by Dell (RichardatDELL) and Zappos (Zappos_Alfred) let customers know that their companies have a human face.
    • Another best practice: Zappos uses a page on their website to let customers know all of the "official" company Tweeters.
  • What are your goals and objectives for Twitter?
  • Who speaks for your brand?
  • Which department manages the Twitter account: Marketing, PR, Customer Service, Sales?
  • Is there a Twitter editorial policy?
  • How often do you send links to your website?
  • Do tweets comply with SEC and SOX regulations?
  • How do you protect against your brandjacking?
  • If you are not ready to be on Twitter, do you Twittersqat your company name?
  • Who do you follow?
  • Do you follow back those that follow you?
  • How often do you promote the brand in your tweets?
  • Do you offer unique coupons to Twitter?
  • How do you track those?  And what is success?
  • Do you have a policy or guidelines for employees who tweet?
  • Whose account is it?
  • Must employees include the company in their bio?
  • Which department enforces the policy?
  • How do you bridge the line between being "big brother" and protecting the brand?
These are just a few concerns that companies should consider as they join the community.  I am sure there are many more.  And like all things Twitter, there is no hard and fast rule or right answer. It must feel right based on the objectives and culture of the company.  What else should brands consider as they get active on Twitter?