Making Twitter work for your company

How to reach new and current customers—140 characters at a time.

How to reach new and current customers—140 characters at a time

Twitter, definition No. 8: A state of tremulous excitement.

The mini-blogging Web site Twitter has certainly created that in the social media community, and businesses are now considering the practical applications—and guidelines—of “tweeting.”

Here’s what you need to know: In 2006, Twitter was established as a free site that lets viewers post and read updates about friends and family. Writing in 140 character blasts called tweets, people communicate with one another, sometimes as simply as: “I just ate an apple.”

Why would Fortune 500 companies want to join the Twitter dialogue?

By reaching out to thousands each day, companies can offer discounts, coupons, updates and customer service. Social media experts say tweeting can generate excitement and, ultimately, business traffic. It can also let them know what’s going on in the industry—who’s left one employer for another, or what firm might be planning layoffs, for example.

When companies first hear about Twitter, though, they can be skeptical.

Christine Major, an account supervisor at PerkettPR, said when she introduced clients to Twitter, they asked: “Why bother? That seems silly.”

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