By Jonathan Morris, No.11 Cavendish Square

The number of businesses using social media tools has grown rapidly with more and more companies creating Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr and Youtube pages. Twitter; the ‘micro-blogging’ site which allows users to communicate in 140 characters or less is particularly popular within the venues and events community with many businesses seizing the opportunity to engage with clients, suppliers and even the press. Twitter, along with other social media applications, is widely used as a marketing tool to promote products and keep audiences abreast of the latest news and offers. Social media is a powerful marketing tool; the Coca-Cola brand for example is continually growing through Twitter and Facebook. Recent figures show the brand has 22,315,512 Facebook fans and 200,030 Twitter followers world-wide to communicate with. Here are some handy tips to consider when putting your point across on Twitter…

Think about your audience

Twitter like other social media channels is easily searchable. Remember that your readers could include current and potential clients, press, suppliers and competitors. Stop and think before sending your tweet; make sure you aren’t alienating any of those groups or unintentionally causing offence.

Also bear in mind that anything you write on social media is part of a permanent record and could be quoted out of context maybe weeks, months or years into the future. A good rule of thumb is not to write anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable being printed on the front page of a national newspaper.

Be responsible for what you write

The internet is full of varied opinions which make it a rich and interesting landscape. However, when writing a tweet avoid comments that could be interpreted as slurs, demeaning or inflammatory. Think twice before hitting send and if you are about to publish something that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable don’t publish it just to be controversial.

Remember it’s a conversation

Try and ‘talk’ to your followers the same way you would converse with real people in professional situations (avoid pedantic or composed language). Tweet content to engage followers that’s open ended and invites response. Don’t be afraid to bring a personality to tweets adding humour, sharing ideas and articles – it doesn’t always have to be business focused.

Stay current

Use Twitter as a tool to stay current on breaking industry news, products, events and ‘trending topics’ (topics that are immediately popular with Tweeters) and use the information to strike up conversations and discussions with followers. Use your Twitter page to communicate with followers regularly (announce special offers, new packages, events and venue related news including contract wins) and try to provide solutions or information in real time when responding to a direct tweet.

Extension of customer service

Twitter can be used as an extension of customer service, allowing you to gain valuable feedback and develop one to one relationships with potential clients and suppliers. It is important to keep track of both positive and negative experiences in order to improve customer service and business performance.