By Sam, Silverdoor

Like most social networks, Twitter doesn’t fit neatly into the corporate box: its chatty, informal style can lend itself to slip ups and many organisations worry about regulating style and content. But it is more suited to networking than most other social media and perhaps even comes closer to real-life networking than LinkedIn. There are several ways to take advantage.

Firstly, it helps to give a face to an organisation.
Twitter provides a great way to demonstrate the personalities behind your company – something which is particularly important if much of your business is website-based.

At SilverDoor we’ve created a network of Twitter users – members of staff from across several departments - whose accounts are all accompanied by photographs. This invites interaction and makes it easy to create two-way relationships. It also helps to generate conversation: regular interaction between members of staff increases our presence on the network and builds the reach of each user’s tweets.

Another benefit of this approach is that staff needn’t feel shoehorned into a brand and can – within reason – let their own personalities dominate, enabling more natural conversation. They can use Twitter to interact with the people they work with most in the industry, who are most relevant to their specialisms and interests. As the Content & Copy Editor, for example, much of my interaction is with representatives from industry magazines and blogs.

Secondly, as in real-world social networking, it helps to know the value of each relationship you build. We use Twitter to develop interaction with our clients and property partners and help shape a community of brand advocates who can spread the word. However, we also interact with larger users with less specific connections to the business – news organisations, for example - whose retweets could pay dividends. Recently, for example, we’ve responded to tweets from a major UK business blog which have been consequently retweeted to their thousands of followers – a brilliant way to build brand awareness.

Finally, just as most of us head to networking events to gain valuable insights, knowledge and perhaps even gossip, Twitter is invaluable as a means of monitoring what clients, partners and competitors are up to. Insights into industry developments can be fed back into Twitter, into other marketing output or into your company’s business strategy, building your status as a knowledgeable force within the industry and helping you adapt and stay relevant.