I've heard the complaints about Twitter. It's a time suck. It's meaningless chatter. It's just filled with upset customers who want to drag your company's reputation through the mud.
But I beg to disagree. I've seen Twitter's value for customer service, business marketing, and connecting with my "millennial" employees.
Here are five no-brainer reasons why every CEO should tweet:
1. You can connect personally with your employees.
Some of your employees will want to connect with you via Twitter. Consider that a compliment. I don't connect with employees via Facebook; it just doesn't feel right to me. But I do connect with them on Twitter and LinkedIn and as a result, they don't think of me as old and stodgy. Well, at least not stodgy.
2. You can connect comfortably with the press.
Reporters and bloggers want to speak with you directly, and Twitter is a great platform for that. It's also the ideal place to compliment them on a great article (including a link to the article, of course). And it's a great place to throw out potential article ideas that pertain to your business. Sometimes they even get picked up! If you're a regular tweeter, you'll know what's hot and what's not. And you'll be able to move quickly if you have something to add to the Twitter conversation.
3. You can monitor what matters most to you.
You can set up searches on Twitter to monitor your own business and those of your competitors. You also can use search and create lists to learn about anything that matters to you: science, politics, music, film, sports. Use a tool, such as TweetDeck or Hootsuite, to make tracking easy. Use Twitter on your phone and learn how to upload photos, too. (Be careful, of course: No Twitpics during your third happy hour at that big conference you're attending next month.)
4. You can build and revive relationships.
I confess: It's fun to "meet" your favorite CEO, athlete, musician, or artist via Twitter. At my company, Blinds.com, I can reach radio hosts that agree to endorse us. I enjoy staying up to date on their thoughts at important times, such as during a business conference or play-off game. Remember to retweet, too. Today, it's a form of social currency that is valued by employees, colleagues, and friends. Be generous and link often; the gesture will come back to benefit you, too.
5. You can follow the goings-on of the world.
Twitter's trending topics will fill your world with new memes, music, thoughts, and people. It's great for entertainment, naturally. But you'll be amazed at how often you'll get the jump on news, social trends, and more.
C'mon, CEOs... give Twitter a chance.