Twitter's ability to streamline business practices is oft-cited when industry analysts try to predict what form the fast-growing microblogging platform will take and identify where the service's greatest benefits lie. For most of us, though, we don't have the faintest idea what they're talking about - because most people use Twitter as a sort of personal overlay over their lives, a digital layer which overlaps their workplace, their commute, the social events - just about anywhere the user chooses to let it. Using Twitter for business coordination is a very different concept, but it's significantly easier than you might think - especially now that Twitter has created the Twitter lists feature.
Here's how to get your team, project or business coordinated on Twitter, simply and easily, without the need for a third-party Twitter application for business coordination:
Step 1: Get your employees or team members dedicated Twitter accounts.
You'll want your team or company to be using dedicated Twitter accounts, not just using accounts they might already have. You'll probably want them all to have a prefix or suffix to their username to indicate their status as a team member. Each account should have its updates set to "Private" so that outsiders can't spy on your team's Twitter conversations. Each team member can share, briefly, his/her role and responsibilities in the Twitter profile.
Step 2: Get your employees or team members networked to one another on Twitter.
You'll want to collect all of your employees or team members' Twitter usernames in one central location. The easiest way to do this, probably, is to have one person collect all of the Twitter usernames and create a Twitter list containing the entire team or company. Then each team member can follow the list and approve the other team members to follow them. Once you're done with that, you now have a networked set of Twitter users whose tweets can only be seen by each other, and who can all see each other's tweets. The infrastructure is in place.
Step 3: Get your employees or team members familiar with a Twitter client.
If your team members are going to work together on Twitter, they're going to need to figure out how to get onto it. Your best bet is to choose a simple, straightforward Twitter client that accomplishes your team's purposes - most of the time people just need a basic Twitter client like Tweetdeck. Make sure your employees know how to customize the client's visual settings to create an optimal default configuration that's likely to match the skill level of your team. Once you've finished this step, you'll have a team or company, seated at their Twitter clients, connected to their private communication channel. Then what?
Step 4: Lay down the ground rules and get people trained.
Since Twitter is such a new and different communication medium, you're going to want to lay down some major ground rules before you get started. Make sure your employees or team members know that they shouldn't mix their company Twitter accounts with their personal ones; they should be enclosed bubbles that don't connect to one another. Decide ahead of time on abbreviations, slang, etc, that you're all going to use to communicate on Twitter. Being able to quickly understand what your teammates are saying is critical, so making sure everyone's using a vocabulary that they all understand is key to making this all work.
You'll want to spend a lot of time on this last step, since setting up the Twitter business coordination network itself is actually the easiest part, compared to the actual task of convincing your team members to use it and to make sure that they all use Twitter in a way that improves the quality or efficiency of the work being done.
Overall, using Twitter for business coordination with your company or team isn't particularly difficult to set up - especially thanks to the Twitter lists feature which allows team leaders to quickly create sub-teams or goal-oriented groups. The entire operation can be set up with no investment of capital (assuming that employees all already have access to a Twitter-capable device) and can be up and running in under a day. Once it's up, of course, you'll have a bigger job on your hands - managing your team in 140 characters or less.
Originally posted on eRealEstate by Peter Goldenrod