I admit I’m a Twitter () addict. I enjoy the flurry of tweets and the variety of information my followers share with me. But even though I like the variety, it’s still important for me to feel some sort of connection to the people and companies I follow. On the people side, the way I connect is by getting to know someone’s personality. It’s the same if I’m following a company. Where the person is offering personality, the company is successfully tweeting their corporate culture.
But if all you’re doing is sending out auto-tweets, I’m not sure either of us is getting the full benefit of your presence on Twitter (). Some people don’t like communicating with a company logo. But when a company offers a pleasant look and feel, and tweets out information of value to customers, then it is possible to connect with them. Here are 7 suggestions (along with some Twitter examples) for establishing a rock-solid corporate culture on Twitter:
1. Share Your History
I’m not talking about chronicling the 42 year history of your firm 140 characters at a time. Although, I guess if you really wanted to, you could. What I mean by share your history is that you should tell the Twitterverse when you make history. For example, if your company is named one of the Top 50 Places to Work or wins an industry award; that’s making history and you should tell the world by tweeting about it.
2. Talk Vision and Mission
Kris Dunn, vice president of people for DAXKO, explained to me why Twitter is a great fit for his company. “We’ve got a culture that calls for a lot of communication, so the transparency and immediacy of Twitter fits that. Also, we believe in our team members being active in their professional communities (their profession – marketing, software engineering, etc.), so Twitter fits that as well.”
His point is well taken. People want to be engaged with companies that look engaging. Think about the purpose of your organization. Twitter can be a place to talk about goals, plans and offer a glimpse of what life is like at your place of work.
3. Reveal Industry Insights
Many companies are using Twitter not only as a place to talk about their organization but their industry. For example, looking for the top 10 cruise vacation destinations? Rather than hoping customers find that information via some travel survey, then put two and two together, Princess Cruises smartly tweets that info out and at the same time lets people know they have cruises that take you there.
Another company setting the standard in this area is Pandora Radio. When a piece of legislation that could impact their business was introduced in the U.S. Senate, they turned to Twitter to educate listeners. They regularly updated their followers on the progress of the legislation. And, they thanked their tweeps for the support. (Very important!)
4. Recognize Employees
There are so many ways you can share with Twitterland the things you do from an employee standpoint. Everything from healthcare coverage, to free gyms, and employee orientation can all get the Twitter treatment. But when it comes to tweeting about employees, the leader is really Marriott International.
First, they very smartly tweet about their company’s commitment to diversity. As a reader, this speaks volumes about what’s important to Marriott as a company. Second, I have been equally impressed with the sensitivity they expressed for their associates and others during the recent tragedy in Jakarta. That puts a very human face on the corporate Twitter account.
5. Profile Customer Successes
Twitter, like many other social networks, is made up of groups of really supportive individuals who want to see positive happenings and big wins with social media.
Jessica Lee, senior employment manager for APCO Worldwide, feels that as Twitter matures we’ll start seeing companies share more of their own and their clients’ successes. “I personally like sharing even the very smallest things – clients wanting to get more involved in social media, or how our own Facebook Fan Page is growing – because it’s exciting to see the growth along with new and different ways of being applied in the business world.”
DAXKO, meanwhile, is combining the popularity of Twittering by their customers with their company user’s conference by setting up a Twitter account for the conference. According to Dunn, they’ll use the site to “live tweet from the conference so our customers that couldn’t attend can follow what’s going on and hopefully get some value out of it.”
6. Be Responsive
Using Twitter for sharing business messages is one thing. But as your culture becomes more defined on Twitter, you might find yourself using it provide customer service. @ComcastCares has raised the bar for addressing customer service matters via Twitter.
Much of the success attributed to @ComcastCares is their responsiveness. Dunn agrees. “I think I’d rather have no Twitter account than an account that wasn’t responding to replies or DMs within 5 to 10 minutes. Customers that are savvy enough to use Twitter are going to expect a lot of responsiveness.”
And, it’s not only how fast you respond but how you respond. Lee reminds us that “whether your customer is a consumer of your product or service, or in my case, a potential employee who is interested in working for APCO – the tone should still be conversational and friendly. And ultimately, you want it to be an extension of yourself and a reflection of your organization’s culture.”
7. Ask Questions About the Future
If you’re looking to reach into the mind of consumers, Twitter can be a medium to get real-time information. Just ask a simple question, what are you concerned about?
Or, what do you want to see in our tweets?
As a consumer, I love it when companies ask me for my opinion. It shows me they care about me and what I have to say. And, I love it even more when I see a company take suggestions and ideas seriously.
So whether it’s an individual talking about their organization or a company tweeting about what makes them special, Twitter can help to define and promote your corporate culture. Even with 140 characters you can say a lot about yourself, your workplace, and what you do.
Use the examples in this post as the starting point for a conversation or training session about Twitter best practices and your corporate culture. By sharing with your team the right way to leverage Twitter, we can all celebrate our successes together. If you know any other good examples of companies using Twitter to share their corporate culture in a positive way, please share them in the comments.