Since I mentioned this crush on Twitter in the “About” page for this blog, I might as well explain why. Get ready for some gushing—and a few key points about Twitter as a business tool.
Twitter plays hard to get. Literally. As I mention in this article, Facebook is intuitive. Twitter isn’t. When I first heard about Twitter, I had the classic reaction of most non-Twitter users: “What do I need that for? What can you say in 140 characters that’s worthwhile? And why would I want to talk to strangers?”
Well, it’s like this: Facebook is that person at the cocktail party everyone likes. (Pun intended. Puns are always intended on this blog, even if they’re hokey. These are self-aware puns, so it’s ok). Facebook is the cool kid, the center of attention, and is very outgoing. What’s not to like? Nothing. I like Facebook! But Twitter is that person at the party who’s a little less flashy and a bit more reserved. Twitter is the one hovering near the cheese plate taking it all in, looking stylish in an understated way. You strike up a conversation and find that Twitter is smart, intriguing, and worth getting to know.
The cocktail party metaphor has another dimension, given that Twitter itself is often compared to one. It’s the social media equivalent of strolling through a room, getting bits and pieces of conversations, chiming in where you feel like it and sidling past when you don’t. It’s fine to interrupt. It’s expected. (I’m Polish-American, and our family dinners are as non-WASP as you can get. Interrupting is practically in my DNA. Maybe that explains this crush).
Want to “join the conversation” about the Red Sox? Local restaurants? Technology? Books? Whatever your personal or professional interests, you can find like-minded individuals on Twitter.
Twitter, when used well, connects you with strangers based on a mutual interest. Isn’t that the goal of business? Your company reaches out to customers that need its products or services and vice versa. Furthermore, the idea on Twitter is to develop that connection into one that somehow benefits both parties. The benefit could be information, humor, networking or business opportunities, or simply the enjoyment of having something in common. (Do you know how much fun I have taking swipes at the Yankees and Jets over Twitter?). The same is true for business, of course. A successful business arrangement only exists when both parties benefit.
Speaking of benefits, here are a few to using Twitter for business:
• That 140 character limit compels you to be articulate. Pithy. Clear. Efficient. And if you’re good at it, memorable. All excellent qualities for company communications.
• Every brand needs a personality. Twitter lets you put yours on display.
• Twitter (like Facebook) facilitates two-way interaction with customers. Listen to and engage with customers over Twitter. Respond to customers, find out what people are saying about your industry or brand, and participate in relevant conversations.
• Virtual connections can become real. I landed a speaking engagement a few months ago by replying to a tweet in which someone was looking for a guest speaker for their group (Western MA Sales Professionals).
• You can learn a lot on Twitter. You’ll see plenty of links to useful articles, blog posts, and webinar announcements for your industry or skill set.
Takeaway: Twitter isn’t as popular as Facebook, but it can be just as rewarding both personally and professionally. Think you can’t benefit from connecting with people you don’t know in a virtual social setting? Think again.
If you’re on Twitter, I invite you to follow me @MuchAdoMktg. Oh, and don’t worry. Facebook and Twitter are BFFs. Facebook is aware of my crush on Twitter and—wait for it—gave it a “like.” I told you, self-aware puns . . .