Many local businesses have a presence on Facebook, Instagram and Google My Business. They’re great platforms to reach prospects and build deeper relationships with your existing customer base. But, should your local business be on Twitter?

There are many reasons to consider being on Twitter including:

  • Over 300 million users on the platform worldwide
  • About 20% of U.S. adults are on the platform
  • It’s a mature channel where businesses of all sizes already have a presence
  • An extremely engaged user base where over 40% are active on a regular basis
  • A high propensity of male users, unique among the largest social media channels — super important if you are trying to reach this demographic

But with all those great attributes, the question remains – should your local business be on Twitter?

To answer that, we need to look at the culture of Twitter. Each social media channel has its own unique character and Twitter is no exception. Unfortunately, the culture of Twitter seems to revolve around conflict and arguments.  Is that always the case?  No, of course not. But it’s certainly what Twitter is best known for. It’s a hyper-partisan platform where users have the reputation for taking no prisoners.

What does that mean for a local business?  Well, it should be noted that businesses have fallen prey to the worst elements of this culture. There are literal “Twitter mobs” who spend their time looking for things that offend them and then seeking assistance in ganging up on whomever it was created the offense. Sometimes the “offense” was originally intended as an innocuous comment by the person or business that made it but someone in the Twitter mobs took offense or read offense into the comment and the mobs descended. Businesses that have suffered such attacks never forget them. Some businesses don’t survive them.

So, is it worth it to bring your local business to Twitter? Our recommendation:  proceed with caution. It is a platform you can use to grow your business and build relationships with customers and prospects. If you venture on to the platform, step lightly, though. You will be potentially exposing your business to people who are just waiting to be offended — and to punish you as a result. Weigh the risks and benefits before you make the leap.