Various people have written about how Twitter can benefit a business, myself included. As small business owners, we hear about reaching out to prospective clients, listening to feedback, and in general being aware of conversations about our business.
What worse than no policy on how Twitter can integrate with your business, though, is having a bad policy on how to integrate the micro-blogging site with your business plan.
A few weeks ago, I was trying to look into a particular business, and posted a comment on Twitter:
Anyone know the company “Anonymous” based out of Smith Falls?
Moments later, I got a response from someone indicating knowledge of the company, and I quickly responded asking if he worked for the company, or if he was outside the company. His response was:
@ekochman Not at all – They are our ‘competitor’ – DM me and we can talk ‘off air’
Great! I have someone whom I can ask about the company, and perhaps, if the original company doesn’t work out, his company will. I sent him my phone number and email address, and asked him to send me a message so that we could start a discussion.
Several days later, I still hadn’t heard back from him. While I was able to verify that he was online and using his Twitter account, I was not getting any contact from him. As I had to send out a Request for Quote that day, I scratched his company from the list, and eliminated his company from bidding on the project.
His company lost out on a project because he started communicating with me, but failed to follow through!
It was not a small project, and it had the potential for more projects afterward. We didn’t even get that far, though, because a representative of the company started talking to me, and then ignored me.
What does this mean to you?
If you’re planning on reaching out to your community of customers and prospects by interacting with them on Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere other than your home turf, make sure you have a policy for those platforms. Make sure that employees know that if they talk to customers on those sites, they are expected to act professionally, to treat the customers well.
Don’t leave it to chance, or you too may have opportunities slip through your grasp.