A Professional's Guide to Using Twitter
By Small Business Expert Roger Pierce, www.BizLaunch.ca
You've heard of it and it sounds, well, silly. A case can be made for this position but this article will argue the opposite. Be it resolved: Twitter is a valuable medium for professionals.
Twitter is the massive, social networking site that began with the question: ""What are you doing?"" They have recently repositioned to: ""See what people are saying about..."" From there, people say whatever they want.
Every member gets to add their thoughts as often as they want in 140 characters or less. Based on what you say in those 140 characters, some people may choose to follow you and see what else you have to say. And, after observing for a bit, you may choose to follow others to see what they have to say. That's it. That's Twitter.
What do people say in 140 characters. Lots!. They:
• Say what's on their mind.
• Offer advice and expertise.
• Direct people to valuable or interesting sites on the Internet.
• Tell people about others on Twitter worth following.
• Repeat (retweet) what others have tweeted.
• Engage in conversations or debates.
• Offer recipes, book reviews, game highlights, events announcements.
• Conduct market research.
• And, occasionally, promote their products or services.
What they are really doing is building their brand (be it personal or professional), expanding their reach and growing their influence. Twitter is a 'show' medium, not 'tell' medium. The key is to use Twitter strategically to demonstrate your expertise, not to brag about it. On Twitter, knowledge is not power, but sharing knowledge is. Be generous with it and more people will follow you. Your influence will grow. Then, when it's time to promote something, you will have an audience eager to hear about your product or service and willing to forward it on to their followers.
For example, say you have 2000 followers who are genuinely interested in what you say – an achievable number in three months of tweeting strategically for about 30 minutes a day. Tweet a message that you want to get out and ten people could retweet it. If each of those have an average of 2000 followers, your message has suddenly reached 22,000 people. Not bad. This could do wonders if you have a speaking engagement, book or simply your practice to promote.
Convinced? Here's a bit of terminology to get you going.
• Tweet – what you say in 140 characters
• Tweeple – people who are on Twitter
• Retweet – you repeat what someone else has tweeted and credit them
• Reply – you reply to someone, (their original message doesn't show).
• DM - Direct message: you can only DM someone who follows you. This is private like an email.
• # – hashtags are used to indicated the subject of a tweet. There is #musicmonday, #quotes #traveltuesday, #followfriday... you can find all tweets using a specific hashtag on the right side of your Twitter home page.
To get started do a bit of research. There are many articles on the Internet as well as free videos on YouTube that cover the basics. Look before you leap. Think before you tweet. And grow your influence.