Should you use the social network Twitter? Find out if it’s right for you with these explanations and examples.
What is it? It’s a social network used to send and read short messages, called tweets, to and from anyone else on Twitter. It’s micro-blogging that anyone can do.
Why should I use it? The quick and dirty answer: to keep up with the latest. The latest what? The latest everything. It can also be a great way to market yourself if your target audience is already there.
Twitter is pertinent. It isn’t about your brother-in-law sharing what he ate for breakfast, it’s about sharing useful content. In addition to seeing the latest news, you’ll find tidbits about working and living smarter and links to pertinent articles online. Of course, there is plenty of fun, too, like photos, quotes, and jokes. What you see depends on who you follow.
Twitter is fast. There is nothing as fast as Twitter to spread the word. It’s almost simultaneous, it’s so fast. You could see a tweet from someone standing right in the middle of any event.
Twitter is free. Yes, I mean really free. You don’t need anything except a smart phone, desktop, or tablet and an internet connection to enjoy great content. You can read tweets using a web browser or via a specific reader app for tweets.
Twitter is short. Each tweet can only contain 140 characters, so there are few wasted words. Not only does that make it easy to type from your smart phone, but it’s also easy to read a bunch of tweets very quickly, and time is precious.
Twitter is interesting. Not like your brother-in-law interesting, but like Jimmy Fallon interesting, or Rupert Murdoch interesting. You can see tweets from influential people and learn useful things at every glance.
Twitter is a great business tool . . . for some businesses. Not everyone needs to use Twitter to market their goods or services. However, for any marketing, you should go where your customers go. If your target audience uses it, you should, too.
Twitter is non-binding. It is open to everyone and no one is under any pressure to tweet. In fact, millions of people use Twitter without ever sending their own tweet.
A Few Tips
Whom should you follow? Influencers in your area of interest. That might be your brother-in-law, but it’s more likely to be people like David Pogue, KSAT 12, Alice Hoffman, San Antonio Spurs, UTSA, Neil Gaiman, ESPN, the San Antonio Express-News, NASA, or Harlan Coben, just to name a few active tweeters in the diverse online universe.
Start by following only a few people and see how it goes. You may get overwhelmed if you see too many tweets. Choose to follow people or companies that you are really interested in, and pare down when necessary.
Only spend 30 minutes a day on any social media. More is not better in this case.
Whom do I follow? I follow people and companies in several categories: news (local, national, and international), web design, books and favorite authors, and history and genealogy. I currently follow 200 twitter feeds, which seems like a lot, but since many of those only tweet rarely, it’s not overwhelming.
- Lillie Ammann @LillieAmmann
- Historical Pics @HistoricalPics
- TED Talks @TEDTalks
- Half Price Books @HalfPriceBooks
- John Jantsch @ducttape
- Wall Street Journal @WSJ
- Texas Rangers @Rangers
(Just thought I’d stick that last one in there in case you were interested.)
Do YOU have favorite Twitter feeds? Let me know by leaving me a comment, and please consider following me on Twitter, too.