My colleagues often ask why I use Twitter so often. There is a belief amongst those who do not really use it that everyone is just broadcasting the details of their breakfast, or which train they are waiting for. This is a misconception.
Twitter is great for short promotional discussions about what you and your company are doing. You can create a buzz about an idea or product very quickly and use the short 140-character messages to promote something far more substantial than these short messages suggest. I do talk about Teleperformance and what we are doing, but also engage in general conversations about the industry – hopefully of some value to those who follow me. I know for sure that people on my team at all levels find it a useful way to directly interact with me.
This general misconception about Twitter is that you need to be endlessly publishing tweets – commenting on your day for example. Many executives ask why they would need to be tweeting their diary and who might even be interested in these banal conversations, but it is worth considering the real value of Twitter in listening to the conversations of others.
For example, try this with a brand new Twitter account:
- Find and follow the key influencers in your industry. They might be the journalists who write about your business, the industry analysts, the consultants who recommend companies to clients, or even other executives in your industry. They are all on there – go and follow them. You can use a directory service like listorious.com to help find interesting people.
- Now add some search terms that are specific to your industry.
- Then, just watch and listen… all the messages on screen will either be from trusted people who are influencers in your industry or people talking about the subjects you are interested in. In fact, you could even call it a curated feed of news and information.
Engage with those people – just talk to them. Comment on what they say and post links to information online that might be relevant to the discussions you can already see taking place.
As you can see, these simple steps can make the value of Twitter obvious – what are people saying about your company right now? It’s a listening tool – just forget the tweets about bagels and muesli.
Photo by Claire Yuki licensed under Creative Commons