What it is: Apple now provides support through Twitter.
When Twitter first came out, people wondered what would be the use of 140-character messages that mimicked the limitations of early text messaging. Yet instant communication and feedback has made Twitter popular because it’s one way companies can stay in touch with their customers and respond to their complaints or issues in real-time.
In the old days, customers might mail a letter to a company and get a response weeks later. With Twitter, customers can make a complain or comment and get a response within hours if not minutes. Twitter, and other forms of social networks, simply provides companies with a new way to stay in touch with their customers.
In your own world, how can you use Twitter? For trivial uses, you can inform everyone that you’re about to eat a ham sandwich, but for more practical uses, use Twitter as a way to broadcast your ideas and strengthen your reputation whether you’re a company or an individual. Apple finally recognized the need to reach customers in another way beyond email or actual face to face contact in an Apple Store. As an individual, you need to use Twitter in a similar way to promote yourself.
For example, a doctor could tweet medical advice, a real estate agent could tweet news about property values in a particular neighborhood, and an engineer might tweet about the latest technological developments. The purpose of Twitter isn’t just to provide information, but to promote yourself by providing people with a constant and useful source of specific information.
Apple uses Twitter to answer questions. An individual could use Twitter to highlight interesting news about a particular field. The key is staying focused on a particular niche so you can develop a following. If you Tweet about the milk you drank last night or the movie you saw the weekend before, few people will care. However, if you Tweet about the milk industry (geared towards milk producers) or analyze movies from a feminist’s point of view, suddenly you’ve separated yourself from the trivial and mundane, and have information others might find useful.
The key to Twitter or any social network is to focus on providing a need for a unique group. That could be recently divorced mothers living in Mexico or mechanical engineers working on satellites. Twitter, and other social networks, are only as useful as you make them, so don’t dismiss them too soon. You may not have the time to master every social network, but you should at least master one whether it’s Twitter or something else.
A big company like Apple can afford to monitor multiple social networks, but you can’t so specialize in one of them. If you want to know how to use any social network for business, just study what other people are doing and find your own niche. Remember the saying that it’s not what you know but who you know. By becoming proficient on a social network, you can expand your reach beyond face to face contact.