How to Use Twitter to Develop Meaningful Connections
As PR professionals, many of our initial conversations about Twitter sound like: “Twitter? I don’t have time for that.”
Sure, it may seem like there’s a new social media platform every month, but several are truly worthwhile depending on your marketing and business goals. Are you looking to become a better thought leader on specific topics? Would you like your clients and prospects to view you as technologically savvy (even if you don’t feel it’s true)? Do you want a quick rundown of the latest news or interact with media contacts? Twitter will provide you with all of that – in 140 characters or less.
We talk with many business executives who are curious about social media yet brush it off due to being too busy. However, composing a tweet (a message that goes out on Twitter) takes two minutes at most. You can also re-tweet (repost) messages that others have written with only the click of a mouse. Plus, we’ve recently seen an increase in the amount of journalists who are looking for sources and asking questions on the site.
Whereas prospective clients and reporters used to scour phonebooks for applicable sources or worthwhile businesses, they’re now looking online. Unfortunately, sometimes just having a website isn’t enough to attract prospects and media attention. Today, people want to work with accessible, personable contacts that they can “read up” on and get a sense of their personality before they invest time in a relationship.
- Some tips for developing a network on Twitter:
- Set up an account! Create a custom profile with your picture and an interesting bio. Include hashtags and unique keywords that describe your personal brand. The process will take you 15 minutes max at www.twitter.com.
- Begin tweeting. You have 140 characters to convey relevant and insightful thoughts. Excited about an upcoming company event? Tell your followers why. Have an opinion about a breaking news story? Say so. Twitter exists for you to speak your mind and to put your two (knowledgeable) cents in. There’s no need to tweet a picture of lunch. Leave that to the celebrities.
- Find out what people are saying. Find people on Twitter or use a site like Twellow.com to research interesting contacts. Begin following their articles. Re-tweet the good ones; respond to the interesting ones.
- Engage in conversations and ask good questions. Check out this article by Mashable on 25 of the Most Engaged Brands. Are you an expert on retirement planning? Share your services with someone who mentions that they’re struggling with their 401(k). See a news article that echoes your thoughts about the value of employee education? Reply to the reporter with your thoughts.
In some cases, Twitter is replacing traditional email and text messages. It’s often easier to “direct message” someone on Twitter than it is to find their contact information on their website and then send an email. The site has been around since 2006 and is only gaining in followers and popularity, so Twitter is definitely worth the time – and a second look. Yahoo! even announced a new partnership with Twitter that will include relevant and personalized tweets in its search results. Coverage like that is hard to pass up.