From traditional media to blogs big and small, there are countless stories in circulation about how businesses are using Twitter to find customers and serve existing ones. Some businesses have figured out how to use Twitter Search and other similar tools to hear what customers are saying and make connections with local prospects. But Twitter itself has been relatively quiet about all this, letting business owners and marketers find their own way when positioning Twitter as a business platform.
Twitter has launched its first major outreach to business users: Twitter 101 for Business: A Special Guide.
Twitter 101 is tremendously well-done. There’s a Getting Started guide with step-by-step instructions to create an account; Best Practices; case studies of 10 companies, ranging from local coffee and pizza shops to huge brands like Dell and Pepsi; and even an invite for business owners to share their own tips and case studies. It introduces important terms like retweets and hashtags, and very interestingly it makes several pushes for businesses to use Twitter search and saved searches to follow conversations about companies, products, and so forth. The guide not only explains how businesses can use Twitter, but also makes the case for why they should.
“You don’t have to run a bike shop or a relatively small company to get good stuff out of Twitter. Businesses of all kinds, including major brands, increasingly find that listening and engaging on the service lead to happier customers, passionate advocates, key product improvements and, in many cases, more sales.”
The bigger picture here, of course, is that Twitter is still looking for revenue streams. Business outreach, particularly in terms of explaining what Twitter is and can become, is part of that process. Twitter is very simple … but deceptively so. When Danny Sullivan interviewed Twitter co-founder Biz Stone earlier this year, Stone shared his experiences in showing Twitter to business owners:
“Then you show them search. ‘What do you want to know is going on? What’s your business? What do you do?’ We show them that, and they say, ‘Whoa, this is crazy. Wait, I disagree with this guy. How do I talk to him?’,” he explained. “We need to reposition the product in a way that’s more relevant to people.”
This Twitter 101 guide, as Stone says on the Twitter blog, is a first step in that direction.
The second step may come as soon as next week. Stone told AllThingsD today that Twitter will launch a new home page with a search box, Twitter trends, and information about how to use Twitter.