I began tweeting being an executive of my former company – I remember what it was like when I started ;)
If you google “how to use twitter” you’ll receive over 10 Million results. Brilliant tips and tricks how to set it up, how to follow etc. but how should I actually make use out of Twitter was not really to find – obviously I did not have the time to grind through 13 Million results.
I searched for “why should I use Twitter” and the results were still 85,000 – but most were an epic explanation what Twitter is.
Michael Campbell writes: “Twitter is a way to get your message out”, uhh really? Blogul says “It is a cross between blogging, texting or SMS” hmm, if I’m not doing either am I off? Wayne Moran posted: “Twitter is all about the relationship and the socializing.” true, but is that helping those who don’t know?
So why should I use Twitter?
1) Because it is the one medium where almost any news is available before you and everybody else can read it in traditional news sites on the Internet – let alone news papers.
2) It is one of the fastest ways to get on top of peoples mind
3) It is the most efficient way, to get and stay in touch with people who are relevant to you.
4) It is the most effective way to communicate your own news with the people you care about.
5) It is by far the easiest way to learn what is on top of mind of friends, customers, partners, competitors…
I’m a very busy executive, I just don’t have the time for Twitter.
Don’t waste a moment with Twitter. Seriously – just don’t . But how much time do you think you have for your business friends, customers, partners, management team? You travel around the world because you want to be in touch – right?
Rule No.1 Be on top of people’s mind
1) Have a browser window open and tweet once in a while
2) You want to be on top of people’s mind – right? Here you go.
3) If you are not only present but share interesting thinghs you see, or you think about, you REALLY get on top of peoples mind
4) You drive an hour to see a customer to strengthen your relationship. OK you have to do that. But how about augmenting this by keeping the dialog on Twitter? You just doubled the number touch points.
5) Help your client with what they are dealing with, regardless whether it has to do with your business or not.
6) Do what the world class sales people do on a golf course: socialize.
I’m not interested in reading about somebody is walking their dog or having pizza for breakfast.
No one is. If you read this type of stuff – you are following the wrong people. In Twitter you only read things from people you are interested in. If your interest is rather random and you follow whatever comes your way… that’s what you get
Rule No.2 Only follow people who are highly relevant to you
1) Start by looking for the people you know and you are interested in
2) Expand by following people you DON’T know BUT you are very interested in
3) Look for topics you are really really really interested in and then follow people who contribute interesting content.
4) In order to read the hottest latest and greatest, find people who typically tweet about it and look for people who re-tweet others when they find cool stuff. If something happens in the middle of nowhere, you may not know the person who tweets it – but somebody is re-tweeting it and someone else is re-tweeting that re-tweet. It took me only a few seconds to read about the earthquake in Japan, long before the News picked it up – and my connection to Japan is rather weak but my overall network is strong enough to get that RT (Re-Tweet) within a few seconds.
If you see Michael Dell, CEO of Dell responding spontaneously to someones tweet, only because he is just following some 600 people – not 60,000 like some others.
I have no time to sit for hours and find the right people
Well, most people take years to get connected to important or interesting people, some couldn’t make those connections in their entire life time. Stop bitching about hours of work to connect to the top people in the world.
Rule No.3 Make investments in relationships
1) You can connect by simply following every industry leader or anybody who is important to you. Lookup the person and click follow. Note: This is nothing at this point other than you see what they write.
2) Start commenting on their tweets, re-tweet if you feel it is of interest to those who are following you.
3) Over time, that person may read your answer or comment and maybe even start following you as well.
4) Time is what it takes – because you are building a relationship to somebody who would potentially never take your call, read your email or otherwise respond to you.
If you read through the tweet stream of some twitter luminaries like Liz Strauss, you will recognize that most of her tweets start with an @sign and a name – simply because she is using Twitter to continuously strengthen her relationships and she is one of the most trusted twitter users in the TwitterSphere
I have no time to read every tweet they write – this is w-a-y to much
Rule No.4 Only read what’s relevant to you
Unless you are retired you probably never read an entire news paper. It would simply be too much content and with too less relevancy. You also probably never read an entire lexicon.
Now – if your goal in life is to have a conversation with a person just tweeting about walking his dog. Would that tweet still be stupid – or would you consider it an great opportunity to chime in?
And if you follow Rule No.2 you won’t get in trouble with tweets from people you are not interested in.
Ok, So I want to get “my message out” and blast as much as I can about my business
This is what many people do all day long. From smallest to biggest companies. Some use tools to do that automatically and others hire people to do that for them. Those who ‘should’ read it however consider it spam. So all I can say: WRONG
Rule No.5 Don’t sell on Twitter
1) When you write a tweet, imagine for a second – what would your best friend tell you about it, what would your best customer think, how would your worst competitor talk about it.
2) Make sure you contribute some value to the people you are connected with. Promoting a product is usually no value.
3) Review the answers to your tweet and check if there are retweets – that gives you a good indication of your value. No re-tweet, noo feedback – maybe it was of no value.
4) If you start selling and promoting, you jeopardize Rule No.2 and 4 and as Rule No.3 is what everybody is following, it won’t be read anyway – so spare your energy.
Even Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com who is known to always take an opportunity to sell is pretty balanced on Twitter not overselling to his followers.
To be one of the first to know what is going in, follow the relevant news provider and those who always re-tweet interesting stuff. That’s all it takes. In order to get in touch with top notch people, follow them, respond, share what is relevant to them, never spam and you have the best chance of all the available techniques to actually get in touch. As your network has grown and you became attractive because of interesting content, you become a contributor of those news and you can do this faster and more effective than any other way. And since you maintain a dialog and communicate 1:1 with the people who are relevant to you, most likely you discover Twitter as most efficient way to keep and strengthen those relationships. That you know what is on top of peoples mind is only a result of all the above. What took people years, market research and a whole staff of people helping, can be done in real time with minimal effort.