Should Entrepreneurs Twitter? Steve Strauss Says No!

Recently I read an article by Steve Strauss.  I’ve read a lot of Steve’s columns and I (mostly) like what he says.  But not always.  In this article Steve says several things with which I would quibble.

First, he reminds us we’re in business “to sell products or offer services that people want at prices they are willing to pay.“  I disagree. Not that we don’t want to sell our products or services. of course we do. But that’s not why we’re in business.  We’re in business to help our customers accomplish something.  We do that, in part, by selling a product or service.

You might say this is assumed and therefore doesn’t need to be mentioned.  Again,  I would differ.  It’s a matter of focus.  If you focus on selling something your actions will reflect that. Everything you do will be directed toward pushing product.  But if your focus is on helping, your actions will be different.  More importantly so will your customer’s experience.

Different purpose drives different actions which create a different experience.

The proof of this is in the lousy service most of us get when we are customers. Companies that focus on selling us things will make that their priority, not customer service or customer experience. Those that focus on helping will make service and experience a higher priority.  The difference will show up in every customer interaction.

Second, Steve suggests we shouldn’t want our customers too engaged in our businesses.  Agreed, I’m not going to cook dinner for them and wash their clothes.  But, in most cases, increasing customer engagement is a good thing. It can bring you volumes of real-time information about what your customers want and how to give it to them.  Done right, customer engagement is priceless. It can increase loyalty, revenue and profits.

Sure, customer engagement can be taken too far and it can be misused, just like any idea. Then it becomes wasteful.

This is where Steve and I agree.  His comments on Twitter are on target too. It’s a cool new technology. Fun to explore and talk about. But before you dump a lot of time into it, make sure you’re taking care of more important things first. As Steve advises…

“Embrace technology sure, but keep your eye on the ball.”

So if you want to use Twitter for your business, take time to learn about it first. Dip your toe in the water. Take it for a spin around the block once or twice.  If you think it could be useful for your business, read a book or two to see how other business people are using it. Then jump in the Twitter pool knowing how you’ll use it and what its capabilities are.

The article was written by Kevin Stirtz