When I started using Twitter back in the fall of 2008 (I had joined many months earlier, but barely used it up to that point), I was a little stumped by all of the lingo and the fast pace of the platform:
What is a "retweet"? Why do I have to use an "@" symbol in front of everyone's name to talk to them? Is anyone really listening?
Over time, I became much more comfortable with the platform, and it has been invaluable to me as a business tool. I connected with my radio co-host there. I recruited some people to work for our company. I had real-world dollars in my pocket because of the things that I learned there and the people I met, some of whom I got to know in person as well.
In an effort to share some of the things that have worked for me, I am starting a series of posts about Twitter and its usage. If you're looking to learn how to use Twitter as a legitimate tool to grow your business and your base of connections, you will probably want to follow along.
Today's tip (as you probably noticed in the title above) is this:
START OR JOIN A CONVERSATION
One analogy that I've heard and used to describe Twitter is that it's much like a big party. If you are hanging out at a party, you will probably be part of many conversations throughout the event. Sometimes the conversations get a little more in-depth, and sometimes they even get private. Other times, you're just kidding around with friends and having a good time. Most things that you can do with regard to networking in person can be done on Twitter as well, although I am not suggesting that Twitter or any other social media tool should replace face-to-face meetings.
HOW TO START A CONVERSATION
I know that this seems really rudimentary, but we've had so many clients ask this that I thought it would be pertinent to include here. Think of how you start a conversation in person. Do you mention a blog post you just wrote? Well, maybe, but only if you describe it somehow and then chat about it afterward. The same applies with Twitter. Simply broadcasting your posts to the tweetstream with no commentary is valueless, in my humble opinion. You can include them, to be sure, but only as part of a larger plan.
Try these ideas:
- Mention a cool article or video you have seen
- Take a poll
- Ask a question of any kind ("what is your favorite TV show/movie/80′s song?")
- Say something funny - anything truly funny will usually get a good response
- Promote others by retweeting stuff you find interesting or wise
HOW TO JOIN A CONVERSATION
Unlike being at a real-life party, Twitter offers you the opportunity to join conversations with little chance of personal rejection. If you spot something of interest, respond to it, as in, "Me, too. That book changed my outlook on life in general." If you see something funny, respond accordingly, "I laughed so hard just now that milk came out of my nose."
If you see a discussion about something that looks interesting or about which you can converse, just jump in and participate. The worst case is no response at all, and you haven't really risked much, right?
Again, I recognize that this is pretty basic stuff, but I'm trying to illustrate that Twitter isn't mysterious or difficult. It can facilitate things if you use it the right way.
I hope this is helpful for you. I would love to hear your input below. Thanks very much for reading!
Next Twitter tip (coming soon): Promoting others