Using new tools to keep business moving in 2009

Almost two weeks into 2009 and already it is giving all the signs of being a tough year with the news that a number of big brand names are disappearing, going into administration or cutting production. If that’s what some of the biggest companies are doing, what hope is there for all the rest?

Quite a lot, I believe, for businesses which stay on their toes, keep doing what they’ve always done well and investigate new ways of doing things.

While the media are wallowing in economic gloom, it’s up to businesses to improve the mood. There are good news stories, such as Iceland purchasing some of the Woolworth stores and creating 2,500 jobs. There are also businesses which are busy.

How can businesses influence the mood? The use of social networking and micro-blogging sites is growing rapidly and more people are taking note of them as skilled users are developing them as business tools.

Take twitter. Many people see this micro-blogging site as little more than a place for idle chit-chat, but a growing number of business people, companies, journalists and even politicians are opening accounts and starting to send ‘tweets’, messages of 140 characters or less. You can choose to follow users and users can follow your tweets.

Is this really for business? Used cleverly, twitter can benefit business by promoting companies and products, but this is achieved through building relationships, just like when you meet people at business functions.

twitter is free, so doesn’t cost you anything other than your time to try out. You can follow me there at twitter.com/robertz

Such tools won’t suit everyone or every business, but they’re worth investigating. Perhaps they’ll give you new ideas for marketing your business.