Should Your Business Be On Twitter?

The minute Twitter announced its initial public offering, the media began frothing with myriad angles on the past/present/future of the venerable social network.

It’s a testament to the power of media that during the virtually ever since, I get weekly inquiries from businesses panicking that they are not “on Twitter.” After all, everyone’s talking about Twitter. Hastags are popping up everywhere on TV, and EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT TWITTER.

So should your business be on Twitter?

The easy answer to this is “are your customers on Twitter?

That’s it.

If the answer is yes, then listen, learn, and develop a plan for engagement on Twitter. If the answer is no, then move along. And this advice applies to just about every social network.

There is one important caveat to this advice, however.

The impact of mobile devices, and mobile discovery of information (think of how you search for things on your smartphones) means that search and social network are becoming more and more intertwined. So I’d pay close to attention to anything the major search providers do in terms of linking search with social networks. For instance, while very few non-tech folks are actively using Google Plus as a social network, Google is baking this “identity layer” into all of its products. So if you search for anything on Google, who you are connected to is becoming just as important as what you are searching for. Same with Bing (who partners with Facebook). Apple uses multiple providers, including Yelp and Twitter.

So from a social network perspective, focus on your customer. From a search or discovery perspective, it makes sense to understand how your customers are looking for information, and to make sure you are partnering with those services and tools to ensure your information is available to searchers.