I am one of the millions of people around the world who are tweeting, and I love it. I love it because I get to know people, have conversations with them and see into their world. Sidenote: I am thinking that I should have been an anthropology or sociology major because I LOVE seeing into people's lives...getting to know what makes them tick...learning why they do the things they do.Twitter allows me to do that.
Twitter is not like many of the the other social networking tools where you have to spend a lot of time developing your profile. Twitter allows you to join and jump in. Let's take a minute to talk about what Twitter is and then how to use it to reach your goals.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140characters displayed on the author's profile page and delivered to the author's subscribers who are known as followers. Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow open access. Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) or external applications.
Taken from Wikipdedia
Why is Twitter relevant today?
Everyone from the girl next door to President Barack Obama is using or has used Twitter for everything from keeping in touch with loved ones to promoting a person, product or service. Twitter has several uses, including:
- Brand extension
- Relationship development
How can I use Twitter to help me?
Twitter is a great way to engage and to let people get to know you. One of the biggest faux pas on Twitter is to be someone other than yourself. Twitter is a social medium that allows people to engage, to converse, to build relationships. Think about tweeting as if you are having a conversation with someone. Find interesting people and introduce yourself. Respond to their posts. If you like what you see, encourage others to follow them. CC The PR says it best in her video post on tweeting.
The lesson. Twitter is a great tool for engagement and building relationships, brands and your business. Just make sure you do it the right way. Here are a few other things to consider:
- Create your Twitter brand by branding your tweets - Create a brand on Twitter that matches your company, personal or professional (or other) brand. What can people expect from you on Twitter? What do you want people to know you for on Twitter? People know Reverend Run will provide inspirational tweets. You can get computer deals from @DellOutlet, breaking news from @CNNbrk, a good top 10 survey question from @epiphanygirl, and Hollywood gossip (aka follywollyfoolishness) from @necolebitchie and @perezhilton. What will people come to know you for on Twitter?
- Don't be self-serving - There is an old saying: "People do business with people they like." I want to get to like you so we can do business. Allow me to get to know YOU, not just your business.
- Open up - Twitter is a social medium that allows conversation and engagement. It is a great way to build relationships. Share yourself with your followers. Don't be afraid to share those random thoughts that come into your head...you never know who elsehas the same thoughts.
- Think relationships, not numbers - There are two schools of thought on Twitter influence. Some think you have great influence if you have lots of followers. Then there are those that think if you tweet great things the followers and influence will come. I am a believer of the latter. Twitter at its best is about building quality relationships, not amassing a large quantity of followers. If you tweet quality the numbers and your influence will follow. Case and point: We follow Rev Run partly because he is 1/3 of one of the greatest hip-hop groups of all time. We continue to tune in each week because he offers us life lessons and inspiration that keeps us moving each and every day. Think about what you can offer your followers and the universe. When you get it right, you will know it. Your followers will increase and so will your influence...and you might gain a friend or a new contract as a result.
Thought I'd share with you some other thougts on the best uses of social media - http://freelancefolder.com/5-misuses-of-social-media-that-could-kill-your-freelance-business/comment-page-1/#comment-34903
I once believed in paying for tweets. I even told a friend (shout out to my friend Keary Colbert who can be followed @kearycolbert) to stop giving away free advertising in the form of Tweets and get paid for them. Then I thought about it not as a business owner, but as a Tweeter, friend, follower. Paid tweets are not the business.
I don't believe in ghost tweeting and in essence that is exactly what this is. It is someone else tweeting as me...but I am getting paid. Just as Jude states, it is ethically wrong to do without telling anyone, but even if you provide full disclosure it is wrong. It compromises the relationship that you are trying to build. Social media at its very best is about engagement.
In my opinion (expert and humble), it's not about the quantity of tweets, how many followers you have or how many people you follow. Tweeting is about developing relationships, engaging with people in a new way. It's about sharing information and helping build a community without boundaries. It has business utility because it allows businesses, organizations and individuals to be transparent and helps people develop relationships...the kind that can lead to sales, brand loyalty or a good friendship.
The lesson. Pay-for-Tweets is a no-no. Social media can help drive business, but the priority should be on engaging and creating conversations that are mutually beneficial. Develop a social media strategy that is founded on business goals, but remember that engagement and two-way communication are your first priority. Your business will succeed if your customers (clients) feel you are transparent, sincere and not just pushing a product or service. You will fail if you become an online sales person.
I was up watching late night television and saw a story on Inside Edition about celebrities getting paid to tweet. This company - Ad.ly - connects advertisers and celebs. The celebs help the companies by tweeting about their products or services. "A lot of our celebrities are making some serious cash," Rad tells INSIDE EDITION. Read the article about the story here. Then tell me what you think.