Ask Not For Whom The Phone Tweets

Twitter Is Extremely Effective For Reaching Specialized Groups Like Employees, Peers Or Customers.

By Thomas J. Roach

While its younger users are in decline, the number of Twitter accounts rose to 241 million in 2013.

Ironically, Twitter is becoming less valuable to the general public because of its popularity. Tweets to large audiences get lost in a sea of other messages. However, Twitter is still extremely effective for reaching specialized groups like employees, peers or customers. It can be especially useful for those in leadership positions like quarry owners or managers or even corporate CEOs.

Tweeting Away
Think of Tweets as the old quarterly letter to employees being sent out one sentence at a time. Most of the topics for a good letter apply. Employees and peers want to hear about the financial health of the company, they want to know about plans for the future, and they want to get to know the person in charge.

Twitter can help analysts, investors and employees learn how your company and your business partners are performing. Some CEOs are tweeting earnings calls.

Customer issues can be discussed on Twitter as well. While specialists best handle customer complaints, those in corporate leadership positions can acknowledge customer concerns. This can relieve pressure from a difficult situation and put the rest of the company on alert to watch for similar problems. It also reminds everyone inside and outside the organization that customers are not to be taken for granted.

Employees are possibly the main network for executive Twitter accounts. They will pay close attention and react strongly. Remember the old saw: a whisper at the top of the organization sounds like a shout at the bottom. Positive information like recognizing employee accomplishments is safe and productive, but negative feedback can be devastating.

Break Down Barriers
Another advantage of company leadership using Twitter is it breaks down barriers. Employees want to know about leadership but only hear what comes through the grapevine. Historically this problem was addressed with letters to employees and corporate communication meetings and videos. Now Twitter can carry up-to-the-minute information and build a new level of familiarity.

Also, since one of the main reasons to use Twitter is helping employees get to know their leadership, it is ok to talk about personal interests. It could be useful to tweet a business trip photo or a comment about a movie you just saw. Details help people understand who you are. Sports interests, gardening tips – they help us relate to one another not as bosses and subordinates but as human beings.

Another public reached effectively through Twitter is the community. This group is especially important to quarry operations. Tweeting messages to neighbors could be rough going if an adversarial relationship exists, but otherwise it is a good way to avoid conflict. As a large employer, as a contributor to local charities, and as a participant in events, the local quarry should be a welcome voice in public discussion, even when that discussion is not about quarry issues.

Most of the needs of the quarry’s employees can be applied to the community. They want to know who is making decisions, and if you don’t find a way to let them get to know you, they will take their impressions from the grapevine.

Lastly, Twitter is a game-changing vehicle for conducting research. Surveys and focus groups are valuable, but nothing is easier or faster than simply tweeting a question. Once your base is established, asking questions on Twitter can help predict potential public opinion outcomes and guide decision-making.

Think of it as a submarine sending out pings to identify obstacles and passageways. The more questions asked the better. Questions will spark dialogue, and if you ask one every day it will keep any one question from seeming like a declaration of interest or concern.

Twitter was initially very popular with teens. Now the most youthful users are losing interest. In the long run, Twitter may be of greatest value as a component of business communication.

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