Here’s a social media question for you: What’s worse than having an inactive Twitter account?

Answer: Using a Twitter account for one-way communication only.

Mind you, this Q&A is entirely my opinion and based on about a dozen would-be interactions with AV companies in the past month alone. Too many AV companies (and a few AV people and even some AV publications) have set up a Twitter account only to use it as a glorified press release or news feed with no one to monitor @ replies or direct messages.

The result? Lost opportunities for PR, missed customer connection, and a disinterest in anything coming from that Twitter feed. If someone cares enough about your brand to reach out and make contact, the very least (and I mean the very, very least) you can do is acknowledge them.

According to a study released this week by RJMetrics, about 80% of all Twitter users have tweeted fewer than ten times. You read that right – fewer than TEN times. What they also found is that Twitter users become more engaged over time.

So even though the AV community has been encouraging each other to get signed up on Twitter, it’s also important to keep them engaged. Social media is about two-way interaction. Too many companies are missing this point.

Does your company have a Twitter feed? If so, here are some things to increase engagement:

1) Accountability – If no one person is in charge of keeping track of the company Twitter feed, you’ve encountered your first problem. We’re all so busy these days that, if no one is responsible for it, then no one will regularly check it. Find someone (and it doesn’t have to be a marketing person) who can be responsible to reply to users who want to connect with your brand, and forward any issues to the right people internally.

2) Stop using Twitter like a PR news feed – In today’s world, people have numerous ways to get your company news. Twitter and other social media platforms do not exist as another vehicle for pumping out press releases. Again, it’s about two-way interaction; not one-way.

If someone sends an @ reply and never gets a response, you’ve lost that person forever. They will not try again.

3) Fix the Mix – Even though a company Twitter feed has an inherent focus for its existence, there’s no reason not to pass along interesting and useful links or stories that are relevant to your followers. Not every single tweet has to be about your brand or include a link back to your web site. In the long run, your followers will appreciate that you understand their interests and curate your tweets accordingly.

Bottom line – I say that every person or brand that has a Twitter account needs to make the commitment: be “all in” and invest in two-way communication, or “all out” and stop spamming your followers with one-way it’s-all-about-you tweets.

Giving a half-hearted effort only nets a half-hearted result.