How to Be Your Company’s Microblogging Evangelist

By Billy Mabray | Blogging

Feb 13

When I started my current full-time job at a media company, there were a few people there trying out Twitter, but only a couple of us using it regularly. Now, a year later, most of the people in my department are regular users, and there are many people using it throughout the company. We have several “official” Twitter accounts, and many people in our news room that have made microblogging part of their job. In addition, we’ve started experimenting with microblogging as part of our internal process.

I can’t take full credit for the transformation, but I like to think I helped. Fact is, Hundreds of businesses are trying microblogging as a way to connect with customers, share information, and recruit employees. Most are using Twitter, but some are experimenting with other services as well. Companies like JetBlue and Zappos are successfully reaching customers through Twitter. For most companies, all they need to get started is an evangelist. Here’s some ways you can be that person.

Follow your co-workers

This may seem rather obvious, but it can be intimidating to follow people you’ve only passed in the hallway. Don’t be afraid to follow everyone you know at work. Many of them probably just signed up to try it out, and haven’t yet figured out what to use it for. If you post regularly it will encourage them to as well. If it’s active, your small office community will attract more participants and spread throughout the company.

Watch for mentions of your company

Even if your company isn’t actively involved in microblogging communities, chances are the people there are already talking about it. Use tools like Twitter Search and Google Alerts to monitor what these communities are saying about your business. Whatever you find, bring it up at meetings so that other people at your company know these conversations are going on.

Take the initiative

Of course, you could go beyond just watching and get involved. If a customer tweets about having a problem, ask them for more information and pass it along to someone in your company. How much you do this will depend on how comfortable you are speaking for your business. What you don’t want to do is get defensive. Don’t try to argue with everyone that has a negative word about your company. Instead, engage the ones with actual problems, and try to ignore the random attacks.

Be the bridge

There’s more to microblogging than just answering customer questions. It can be an important tool for connecting with other people in your industry. Follow other people and companies that do work similar to yours. Then, as your co-workers begin microblogging, introduce them to the people you already follow. This will make tools like Twitter more useful to your company, and allow you to be the “hub” through which networking opportunities are made.

Try Yammer for internal communication

Twitter can be great for communicating with your co-workers, but you may want to discuss things that are not meant for posting publicly. Plus, you may not want to mix business with personal postings, something that’s difficult not to do. For those reasons, a service like Yammer might be appropriate. Yammer offers internal microblogging for businesses. Anyone can sign up, and only people with an email address in the same domain can follow your posts. While this won’t help you talk to your customers, it can be a useful tool for improving inter-office communications.

With more choices than ever before, it is often communication that helps a consumer choose what businesses they frequent. By introducing microblogging to your company, you can be an evangelist for more open communication and quality customer service.

Are people at your work microblogging? What’s been the result? Let us know in the comments.


About the Author

Web developer and blogger, I love making software do things it wasn't meant to do.

Ceyda February 13, 2009

Intridea's has been doing this for a long time, and many large corporations are currently using for their internal microblogging system.

In addition to being an internal tool between employees of an entity, can help talk to customers, so in addition to being a useful tool for improving inter-office communications, can be used for many other applications.

Intridea goes behind the firewall, and can fully customize to satisfy corporation's and its employee's needs.

Mommy Fittest February 13, 2009

Thanks for the great tips Billy. I can't say who I work for 9 to 5, but I can promise you we need some reputation management. I am actually going to see if I can use your tips to see if I can do some "win back" or just get some "wins" on twitter.

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It seems to have a lot of valuable information. Keep up the good work!

fridge vans February 15, 2009

WOW what a fantastic Article! This is what lots of us have been doing for years, whether there’s been an economic crisis or not!

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Mike Templeton February 15, 2009

These are some great recommendations that can take an enthusiastic microblogger from sounding like an obsessive to becoming an important part of a company's communication team. It can be hard to convince others of the importance of something if we're only hitting them over the head with statistics or complaining about how nobody is doing anything.

If instead we focus on actually taking action and creating some measurable results, it will be much easier to convince others of its impact and grow company-wide adoption.

I'd imagine that a lot of us are already "taking the initiative" and "watching for company mentions", but by following our coworkers and making introductions for them to others, it will help them become accustomed to how things work and portray the enthusiast as a helpful part of the team.

lee February 24, 2009

I spotted this on Twitter. Not sure exactly what it is…I suppose its a kind of public Microblogging service. I could post messages and comments without having to register.

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It allows you to create a unique url for chat streams aswell…judging by the number of posts its still in its infancy but it looks like it could catch on…

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