By now, most everyone has at least heard about Twitter. You either understand its value or you don't. For some people – like my mother who is retired and reads books when she's not out shopping with her friends, Twitter is not something she is interested in – for her it serves no purpose.
For businesses, however, who are trying to sell something or get the word out on a new product, Twitter can be an invaluable way to reach many people quickly.
So, what exactly is Twitter? It's a free social networking and micro-blogging site that allows you to be heard in the Twitter universe. If you look at some of the tweets in your Twitter stream, you'll read posts like “Ughh, there's no coffee, guess I need to go out in my slippers to get some LOL” which, as a business, you can ignore. There’s very little value in a tweet like that.
But then there are tweets, like the following, that you just might go out of your way to pay attention to:
See how #Intel Learning Series solutions support education transformation around the world! http://intel.ly/AfWrY8 #STEM #Education
Not only is this a tweet that I would want to know more about but if I were following Twitter discussions on Intel, STEM, or Education, I would be able to find specific tweets on the subjects by using a hashtag (#) in front of the term in my search. Hashtags are a convention used within the Twitter community so that people can find and follow specific topics.
Now that's a tweet that might get my interest because:
- It's about a subject matter I’m interested in
- It's pointing me to more information on the matter through the embedded link
- I trust the account posting this information
- It gives me value
And that is what it's all about. Even though you send the tweet out representing your company, it is me, the reader who must see enough value in it to either respond, pass the information along, find out more about the subject, or just be amused.
If you use tweets effectively, you can connect or network with your audience and with those in your field by:
- Passing on valuable information
- Asking opinions or questions of your followers
- Getting immediate feedback from your followers
- Reaching out to your followers
That last one is very important. Creating a network is not “all about you,” (haven't we all been in situations where we cringe when we sit next to the guy who only talks about himself?) In Twitter, you also have to reach out to others. If you start a conversation, reply to everyone who replies back. Just like in any conversation, do a little give and take.
Twitter, just like many other social media, is a dance. You just need to know some of the right moves and you have to work with your partners to get the dance moving. If you have a Twitter account, why don’t you add it to the comment section below so that we can all start following each other as we Tweet.