So you’ve done it, you’ve jumped on the Twitter “bandwagon”. At least, you’ve decided that its now worth your time and you’re ready to reap the rewards, whatever they are.
There’s been a lot of discussion in the corporate space for the use of Twitter. Why you should, why you shouldn’t, and a lot of “mushy middle” discussion around the water cooler that doesn’t really help much.
I’ve been there behind the firewall where it’s difficult to get access, or demonstrate value of a service. So here are some tips on how you really get value for yourself when using Twitter.
1 – The Follow
Don’t think of “friends”, think of people you would like to learn from or listen to. Sure, your personal friends and colleagues will be among those you follow, but find interesting people to follow. Check out who your friends follow, you’ll meet a few new folks, then check out who those people follow, and I guarantee that you’ll start connecting with truly interesting people that you’ll benefit from knowing. It’s really a form of viral networking.
2 – Be Conversational
Jump in and take part in conversations and discussions. Or simply share your quips and quotes, though with nearly any followers at all you’ll be brought into the conversation. Twitter is possibly one of the best tools for introverts to meet new people and enter into conversations.
3 – Be Inquisitive
Ask questions, seek answers, explore! While an unending stream of questions can be annoying, starting conversations through the use of questions is quite often appreciated. By our very nature, we all like to learn something, so for the sake of a conversation or for getting an answer to something, ask away! Twitter is a wonderful crowd sourcing tool.
4 – Be Helpful
A very powerful aspect of the Twitter community is how helpful most people are. There are so many ways being helpful to your friends and followers that it’ll pay you back in the long run. Think of it on interpersonal networking terms. The folks you help out may end up helping you in the future.
5 – Please Disagree
Differing points of view help foster learning and discovery. Its ok to disagree with friends and followers. What isn’t pleasant is arguments. Sure these happen in any social interaction sometimes, but its having different points of view that make sharing more interest. Be respectful, be nice, but be yourself.
6 – Don’t Flame
This goes hand-in-hand with number five above. If you can’t add something constructive, informative, or useful, perhaps it’s time for a break.Flaming only harms a person’s reputation (personal brand) and since it’s online, it’s hard to get rid of that newly written record of your actions. Something to keep in mind for online reputation management!
7 – Share Things
Everyone enjoys learning something new, so bring a link or unique piece of knowledge. Maybe its in your profession, or more enjoyable, something that you’re passionate about. Don’t hesitate to share things you find online as your Twitter community is probably already sharing things with you. It’s a great way to learn new things.
8 – Peripheral Services
There are a ton of unique services that build on top of Twitter, or make it an even better platform for communication. There are a number of audio, photo, and video services that add extra dimensions to Twitter. Other services use Twitter to share what you’re doing, like webcasting, or checking in with geo-location services. Other services are built for sharing links and use Twitter for that sharing platform.
9 – Twitter Clients
The Twitter ecosystem has expanded to include dedicated client software as well. There are web based solutions and desktop/laptop based solutions, not to mention mobile apps too. You can likely find the one that fits you best to help customize how you use Twitter and read the stream of information from your network of peers.
10 – Be Yourself
Of course, it should go without saying that you need to simply be you. Trying to be something you’re not usually is discovered early on anyway, and the value of interaction is to be transparent – that’s one of the ethos of social media to begin with. So be you and be proud of it, even if you’re more of an introvert, you’ll find Twitter is a great way to break out of that shell.
Photo credit: Leo Reynolds