People ask me over and over “What can Twitter do for me?” They vary from people with no online presence, people running for elected office, to business managers, and more…
Watch this video then I’ll expand on what Twitter can do for you.
Since this video was created, Twitter has evolved into a more mainstream communications tool. But, what can it do for you? I believe Twitter can help you do four things:
- Drive Action
You can use Twitter and its offshoots to monitor what is going on in the Twittershere. If you have a hot topic, you can search it and see what people are saying about the topic on Twitter. You may think this is no better than searching on Google, but searching the Twitter stream gives you a near real time picture of people’s thoughts and opinions on a particular topic. If you work for a brand or are the brand, these near, real-time searches allow you to respond in a timely manner to those tweets. How surprised will a customer or constituent be when they get a quick response from you? Here are my favorite Twitter Search tools:
- BackTweets.com – shows all the tweets pointing back to a particular URL regardless of the shortening tool.
This is what most people do. Most people answer these two questions with their tweets:
- What am I doing?
- What do I find interesting?
Answers to the first question may turn some readers off. “I don’t care that you are having a hot dog for lunch.” But, there can be a benefit to sharing some of the smaller bits of your life. Over time, followers will learn more about you. They will learn things that you wouldn’t put into a blog post, email, or a letter to the editor. The mosaic of your 140 character tweets will produce a clearer picture of who you are. Your followers will get to know and hopefully, like you.
The second question is where you can add value for your followers. When you regularly tweet items of interest, you increasingly become a “trusted agent” for your followers. They trust your judgment and will use you as a filter providing them with value. That is usually in the form of links to information valuable to your follower. It could also be nuggets from a conference or book.
As the number of your followers grows, you can ask them a question through Twitter. This can result in an ongoing discussion in the Twitter stream. I’ve seen these questions grow into twitter “discussions” that evolve into blog posts which get fleshed out into ebooks and eventually into actual books.
Sadly, many people use twitter only for this. They continually pitch sales to their followers. This is not adding value for the follower. This is asking something of the follower. I recommend giving value first. Only after your followers know, like, and trust you, should you ever ask them to take action on your behalf.
So, if you are new to twitter, start by listening. Then, add value by sharing what is important to you. Ask your followers for their opinions. Finally, when your followers know, like, and trust you, you can ask them to act.