Twitter Open for Business (and for Dizziness)

By Matt Cornock

Twitter has recently woken up to embracing the B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-customer) community, encouraging C2B (customer-to-business) and C2C (customer-to-customer) relationship building with it’s Twitter for Business 101 pages. In other news below, I am stunned by the use of scrolling text.

Twitter for Business

If you’re considering using Twitter for commercial purposes it is essential you understand what Twitter is all about. You may even find that it doesn’t suit your needs also. Twitter have put together a best practice guide which I would strongly recommend reading. It covers:

  • Only use Twitter if you have a reason to. Twitter suggests using your feed to promote something specific like voucher codes, product previews, etc. But mix this up with some solid material (blog links, news updates, etc).
  • Respecting the timely nature of Twitter. Tweets (the individual Twitter posts) have very, very short lifetimes. They are not blogs, they’re not web pages and they’re certainly not printed pieces of paper. There’s little value in promoting something three months away when the call to action seems so distant.
  • Making sure you have a ‘human’ not commercial approach (include bio details, be casual and friendly) and whatever you do, don’t sound like a spam email.
  • Encourage participation by responding quickly (within a couple of hours) to direct messages and acknowledging mentions where appropriate. This supports the ‘human’ element and taps into the ‘now, now, now’ attitude of Twitter users.
  • Make sure you use recognised terminology or branding (familiarity with words will help spread the message as opposed to gobbledegook which people will ignore).
  • Embrace the good and the bad reviews. Respond positively to both. Search for your brand/product, if you find reviews, Tweet back and say thanks or say how you appreciate their input and (if you intend to) will take it back to the design team.
  • Use services like http://bit.ly to shorten your shared weblinks and track who clicks on them and shares them. That way you can really get a sense of how valuable Twitter is to your web marketing strategy.

You can even tie in Tweets back to websites, blogs and other social networking platforms. So go forth and Tweet.

A design side note: Twitter for Dizziness

One of the relics of 90s web design, when we were all stepping into the world of HTML and it’s quirky markup like IE’s  <marquee>Some scrolling text here</marquee>, scrolling text was on the rage.

I was actually quite stunned when I saw the new Twitter homepage, seeing a modern version of the ol’ marquee scrolling text using some quite clever CSS/script work. However, scrolling text is a painful way to deliver content.

Perhaps the trending topics on the homepage are just there for those who got bored of watching paint dry, but I personally think that the old static equivalent was a better way of conveying what was going on at that moment in time. Refer back to all those usability studies which show how web users scan a web page actively seeking out info, rather than waiting passively for it to appear infront of them.

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