There are generally two types of brands on Twitter: engagers and talkers.
Engagers talk with their customers to develop conversation and build brand loyalty. They answer questions that their customers may have, and try to connect with them on an individual bases. Talkers are a little different. While they may have a good Twitter following, they do not engage in real conversation with their customers, choosing only to send out information, but not engage.
As I go through my Twitter feed I see far too many companies that fit the “talker” category. There are some really large brands that I like, and purchase items from, that I would simply label as a #twitterfail. It’s unfortunate, because many of them could easily engage others. They already spend a good chuck of time using Twitter, but simply don’t know how to make their use beneficial. Sure, they may be getting @replies and re-tweets, but without engaging this interested audience further they will be missing an enormous opportunity.
It’s important to regularly reflect and examine how you are using Twitter. Are you following your potential customers so that they can DM you with potential questions, which could lead directly to sales? Are you responding them them and making them feel important so they’ll visit your store or website more frequently? Are you asking them questions, not just pushing out information?
These are questions that brands must constantly ask themselves in order to become an engager instead of a talker.
Note: There is a third kind of brand on Twitter: one that creates a page and then vanishes. For the purpose of this column I did not include them – but this is by far the worst possible thing a brand could do. From the consumer’s perspective it’s simply frustrating.