Twitter: Is it for you?

twitter-icon“I don’t understand Twitter. It scares me”.

“What a waste of time!”

“It’s for kids”

“What would I tweet about?”

“Twitter users are narcissists”

I have heard all of these and more. (Ok, there’s a little truth to the last one). But the issue for the Struming du jour is whether Twitter can have a meaningful role in a well crafted social media strategy. Notice that I started with social media strategy which needs to be driven by the overall business strategy. Twitter can play an important role in an integrated strategic social media program.  And if you’re not serious and still want to tweet, go ahead anyway and let the world know that you had Cheerios for breakfast, but in that case most of us won’t care.  

But let’s assume you are serious about how a social media program can help position you, your products and services. There are those who are more advanced in understanding social media strategy, but over the past year I’ve come to more deeply appreciate its power in marketing. Social media is a marketing tidal wave. First and foremost, social media is not just about “selling stuff” or just reconnecting with high school friends. It is about two-way communication which can aid sales. Obviously if you are in business you want to generate revenue. But if you want to get involved in social media the way to do so is to give first. Communicate–give information, thoughts, ideas, knowledge. Give freely and often.

Then resolve that every social networking platform is not for you and that there are mass platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace, etc.), and niche ones as well. But let’s assume that you want to venture into Twittersphere as part of a business strategy to position yourself and/or business as thought leaders in your industry. This is a good use of social media. If you want to get inolved on Twitter, then start by listening. Follow people in your industry, see how they converse, ask yourself what do you find interesting and valuable?

Realize that Twitter is a bit of an alternative universe with its own rules and etiquette. Learn them. It’s not as intuitive as other social media so it takes a while to figure it out. I’m still learning, but as a communicator I like the brevity of expression that comes with the 140 character limit (less, if you want to attain the coveted retweet). But its growth is phenominal, and yes, there are many “users” who open an account, have virtually no followers, and then are frozen about what to do. But one thing’s for sure: it is not a fad, it reaches millions of people and it is an opportunity to listen. If you are a service provider, listening to what others are saying about you is a must.

So start listening and then start sharing thoughts and ideas of value. Build a group of people you want to follow and then over a period of time you too will develop a following.  After you’ve shared meaningful information and thoughts, it’s OK to tell us you had Cheerios for breakfast and I might even care whether you had the original or Honey Nut.

I welcome followers at  I will gladly follow you as well, and hope we can share thoughts of value. PS: I like Honey Nut Cheerios.

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