In the distant past, the fastest way to communicate with business was to write a letter. That was superseded by the advent of the call centre, which at first was a bold step into the great blue yonder. But a million recorded messages and irritating selections of lift muzak later, you realise that all you really want to do is to talk to someone, interact with someone.

When it comes to communicating with customers, both current and prospective, Twitter has become an instant interactive tool that stands out. It’s a very responsive and immediate way to help drive a business forward. Twitter can be an integral part of your business strategy. If you don’t have it yet, then take a look at the Calico guide to business branding.

Start up companies and independent business  can develop their own unique brand persona and show their understanding of customer needs via their twitter posts. Set up Twitter on your smart-phone and you can come across just as effectively as a multi-national corporation. Integrate your Twitter feed to your website homepage and in the eyes of viewers it comes alive with your interaction. It shows there is someone there, someone paying attention, someone to interact with.

When positive tweets are flying into your feed, it’s an opportunity to re-tweet the good news. If someone has been kind enough to say nice things about you, then spread the word – it’s good for business. If complaints from the twitterati land on your page, view it as an opportunity to show how responsive you are and how fast you can act to put things right. It’s an opportunity to turn negativity to positivity that should be grabbed.

Even better than that, when you have offers to promote and good causes to support you can spread the word yourself. We created our own hashtag so we could tweet and re-tweet on our clients behalf and get their message out to a wider audience.

Interacting with other businesses on Twitter is a great way to increase B2B interactions, finding new people to work with, and an effective way of reaching new customers. It’s reassuring to know that it’s possible to tweet a message to global companies as well as local businesses.

So whether you’re broadcasting tweets, narrowcasting a message, promoting a good cause, helping your customers or branding your business, get tweeting.