Monday May 11, 2009 4 commentsNormally, I'm a very positive person (ask anyone). This is one of the few times I'll rant and complain. I have a good excuse for my rant:
I've just read another article bashing Twitter. And, yes, it was written by someone who is NOT in Twitter. (Surprise!)
This person owns a marketing agency and has the good fortune to be writing a column in a business publication that has a very healthy subscriber base, considering the current demise of newspapers. He missed out on an opportunity to educate thousands of people to Twitter, who could have also become his followers.
I want to ask him and many other newspaper columnists and TV talk show hosts this: if you're not into Twitter, then why are you bashing it?
If you don't have a Twitter profile, you're not participating in it. If you're not participating in it, then you don't "get it." If you don't get it, then why are you writing a backlash article about Twitter? Why don't you go find something else to complain about that you have absolutely no knowledge about? Better yet--read Jeff Jarvis's post: To Newspaper Moguls: You Blew It or Clay Shirkey's: Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable.
Okay. Now I feel better. Let's turn this into a positive thing: this is an opportunity for me to educate you about the top 10 myths about Twitter.
Myth number one: "I don't understand Twitter. Why are so many people using it?"
Truth: Twitter is a micro-blog in which you can post a 140-character message ("tweets") to people who have chosen to "follow" you and read your "tweets" . I firmly believe that it's THE best broadcast channel ever invented in the history of humankind. Sometimes you and your followers engage in conversation by tweeting to each other. Most people are using Twitter to market and grow their businesses; to fundraise for their non-profit organizations; and to connect with like-minded people around the world.
People who continue to spend money on the old way of advertising (newspapers, yellow pages ads, for instance), are throwing away money. Twitter is the most cost-effective way to promote yourself and your company because it's free and it's highly viral. But you must remember the number one rule of Social Networking (and networking in general): be of service to others 90% of the time, then toot your own horn 10% of the time. If you break this rule by reversing it: you'll be branding yourself as a selfish person or a spammer and wondering why you have no followers.
Myth number two: I don't have time to Twitter! I'm busy enough dealing with e-mail and running my business.
Truth: Don't have time to Twitter? How many hours are you spending by attending networking events, from which you go home with a bunch of business cards of people you just met? If you follow up with those people, how many hours do you spend having coffee with them and getting to know them? I'm not advocating that you give up "real world" networking and meeting people in person. In fact, as you build relationships online, there will come a time when you should phone people and meet in person---that's when the magic can really happen because you've gotten to know each other online. It's almost like meeting old friends.
I'm not saying that in-person meetings should go away and Twittering should replace face-to-face meetings. I am saying you can save a lot of time when you do use Twitter to build your online community.
Let's add up the hours of networking vs. Social Networking:
- Let's say you've spent 3 hours at the networking event (including drive time), which cost you $20 to attend.
- You probably spent an hour on the phone and writing e-mails to set appointments with those people.
- Then you've spent 1.5 hours with each of those five people.
- If you're really good, you've deepened relationships with five strangers after investing 11.5 hours and twenty bucks, plus $75 for your lattes and your guests'.
- So, $75 and about 12 hours later, 5 people are now part of your network and might remember to refer you to their friends or maybe even do business with you.
Dramatic Results Happened After I Leveraged the Power of Twitter
By leveraging the power of Twitter, I achieved dramatic results! Here's what happened:
- I invested 5 hours writing a blog post for Twitter beginners: Top 10 Most Powerful Twitter Tips for Brand New Beginners, and 5 minutes tweeting about it and DM-ing a handful of friends (sending direct messages), asking them to please Re-Tweet my blog post to their followers.
Within 24 hours, 1500 people had read my blog post and I had 150 new followers.
It cost me nothing but my time. Yes, it did take me many hours, over the course of two months, to build up to 950 followers. But it wasn't much effort: in fact: it was quite fun! And my knowledge grew so much because I read a lot of helpful blog posts that greatly increased my knowledge on Social Media and other subjects. Of course, I followed my own advice and was helpful and supportive and encouraging most of the time, with most of my tweets, which resulted in building up trust and credibility with my followers. (FYI: I love helping people anyway. So, this was a pleasure and an honor to do).
I learned that, not only would my followers refer me but people I've never met would refer me, too.
I had over 800 Re-tweets of my original tweet about my helpful blog post for Twitter beginners. Within three days of my sending that original tweet of my blog post, almost 3000 people had read it. Plus, a total of 304 new lovely people decided to become part of my community of followers. If I were to put a price tag on that Social Capitol, I probably would have had to pay thousands of dollars for that kind of publicity or word-of-mouth advertising.
Now do you see why you SHOULD make time to Twitter?