Yesterday I met a bunch of local people who use Twitter. I already know a bunch of local people who use Twitter, but these were (mostly) new to me. Was fun meeting them all!
The first thing that struck me was that there was an agenda! And a scheduled speaker! Usually we just pull out our MacBooks and compare twitter apps at tweetups . We learned about how the local paper is moving on to the web and encouraging local businesses and groups to take advantage of their platform (mycentraljersey.com).
Of course, I knew there would be an agenda, because the focus of this tweetup was “how to use Twitter for business.” I have some pretty strong opinions about that myself.
Contrary to some of the “expert advice” out there, I don’t think Twitter is a good primary marketing tool. Twitter should supplement your marketing, and it won’t make you rich. I say this despite the fact that the vast majority of my business comes to me through Twitter. I’m no marketing expert. I have some marketing experience and some customer service experience, but I have a lot of online communication experience, and even more experience as the target of marketers (as we all are.) So that’s where I’m coming from.
The thing business users need to realize is that no matter how many followers you have, Twitter is an intensely personal application. People laugh about the “what I had for lunch” tweets but I see more value in those tweets than messages that promise me the secret to fast wealth, or links to the latest post from some blog. Not that I’m against linking to blog posts, I do it all the time and I’ll tweet about this one of course! But mostly, I want to get to know the person behind the Twitter id.
So post silly, micro-blog worthy stuff once in awhile. Prove to me you’re a human, because I don’t want to do business with a ‘bot.
Other bad twitter advice- “get as many followers as you can as quickly as you can!” Why? I guess it’s the same mentality that created spam empires. If you get your message to enough people, percentage-wise you’re bound to get enough bites to make it worth it. But the thing about Twitter is, it’s easy to be ignored. Blasting through and trying to gain as many followers as you can will not only turn out to be a waste of your time, it’ll probably get you flagged and possibly banned as a spammer. So. Just. Don’t.
An example. Someone you don’t follow complains that their bicycle broke. Someone you do know responds and commiserates. You see that response and think “Hey! I repair broken bicycles!” You respond to the original tweeter, offering advice. Original tweeter is grateful, you likely have a new follower who is a potential customer, and that person’s followers see the conversation, and since he’s a biker maybe some of them are bikers, too, and they follow you because they see the value you could offer them someday.
Yes, it really works like that. That’s how Twitter has brought me business (as a WordPress customizer, not a bike repairer) for the past year and a half.
(late edit- this was just posted by Sarah Evans on Mashable: Social Media for Business: The Dos and Don’ts of Sharing. Great suggestions for using not only Twitter but other social networks.)
(cross-posted at Pixel Currents)