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Joe and I recently attended a webinar (or twittinar as Alan Wolk, the presenter, liked to call it) entitled Twitter Like You Mean It! The twittinar provided a great deal of insight into the world of Twitter and how to use it as a customer service tool.

Here are just a couple things that Wolk suggests are “best practices” for using Twitter as a customer service tool.

  • Always be upbeat and speak in a conversational, yet professional tone.
  • Avoid slang!
  • Understand that your customer may not be that well acquainted with Twitter and may be skeptical that you don’t really represent the company.
  • Always be transparent with you audience. If you have multiple employees using one Twitter account, make sure you customer knows that.
  • If your customer has a problem, make sure to speak to it right away and tell them your plan to fix it.
  • If you cannot fix it, admit so and then provide an alternative solution.
  • Lastly, provide a corporate address where you or other employees can be reached.

What about publicizing your Twitter account? Wolk suggests some simple but effective ways to get your account noticed.

  • Post a link from your company blog or website
  • Include your Twitter URL as part of your email signature
  • Follow industry leaders and comment on their tweets

We “Tweet like we mean it” at – in case you’d like to follow along.

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Last week we did a little dance at our desks when Slashdot reported that social networking at work is good. We’ve been encouraging clients to embrace these new communication channels (as appropriate) – and not be afraid of what’s new.

The fear, I think, comes from the unknown. With names like Twitter, Flickr, and blog (oh my!) it’s not instantly clear what you’re getting into. So let’s break it down.

If we had to define the tricks of the social media trade on a bumper sticker, here’s what we’d have:

  • Blog – Online journal, a “web log”
  • TwitterMini blog… 140 characters or less
  • Yammer – Twitter for business
  • Technorati – Google for blogs
  • – A social bookmarks manager
  • MySpaceYour personal website for connecting with friends
  • FacebookMySpace that started in academia
  • LinkedInBusiness networking and contacts site
  • YouTube – Online video sharing
  • Flickr Online photo sharing
  • Second Life – A virtual reality
  • Podcast“Talk radio” to play on your iPod
  • RSSTivo for the webit puts what you want online in one place

Based on the definitions above, I’d have to say that we are a little surprised that the article featured Facebook as the tool that workplaces should encourage. Business-specific social networking sites do exist – specifically LinkedIn and Yammer. We have experience with both, and would recommend these as easy launching points for companies who are just getting their toes wet.

Don’t forget – you can follow Bing on Twitter and Flickr.

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