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Using Twitter thoughtfuly (with some Twitter 101)

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Twitter, the online platform changing the way we interact with people we don't know. For a while I was quite passive in my use of Twitter. For all sorts of different reasons, 140 characters is a ridiculous restraint, I own part of Facebook and I don't know anyone on Twitter, I had used Twitter and its hooked up to my Instagram and WordPress so I was delivering plenty of valuable content through that channel. Although I never really engaged with it.

When I decided to really look into what value Twitter could really provide, and how it is being used in the business and professional arenas. I found that the interactions that I make on Twitter are for the most part, people I haven't actually met. From the way Twitter has changed and grown it seems to commonly facilitate communication to and with people/brands that you don't know personally. You may know or even use the products associated with the Twitter account in question but most of the time you can't tell me the name of the person tweeting. This dynamic of Twitter is the reason we as users of the internet can find unique value from each of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn (and other forms of social media for that matter).

For a few years now, all of my Instagram and WordPress updates have shot straight through to my Twitter. This is great, especially as my followers grow these updates become more and more valuable as their reach extends. Sharing the content you're generating or content that relates and supports what you're about is key to Twitter. Each of your followers follows you for a reason. People only follow you because they want to hear what you have to say (in theory at least).

The more I use Twitter, the more I see that it's more effective to tweet a combination of content - tweet your own content AND also related content that can  e x t e n d  your own content's usefulness. This 'content' can be a various amount of things, blog posts yours or others write, videos, product information or pretty much anything on the web. One use of Twitter accounts that I like is @Nike, as you can see they use Twitter to share short simple statements that relate highly to their brand, and are quite "shareable". They're offering (often) motivational value to followers and building equity in to their master brand and sub-brands at the same time. Very clever.

'Share-ability' a good topic for another time.

Twitter is about sharing but you don't have to create all the content to share, there is great value in re-tweeting other user's content as this highlights that you're reading, absorbing and potentially filtering out what is meaningful to your target audience and shows you are endeavouring to provide value to your customers.

Replying and interacting in a thoughtful and meaningful way with others on Twitter builds your brand loyalty. I made a post to Greg McKeown the author of 'Essentialism' and within an hour he favourited and re-tweeted my tweet. This reinforced my support for him and made me as a customer feel supported, i.e it's a positive experience.

Using the @ and # tagging functionality on Twitter opens your tweets to be of so much more value. When you connect your posts with these functions it extends its reach even further. With the Nike example again, you can see that it's rare their posts aren't associated with an @ or # tag. They have # tags that relate to their values, campaign slogans and tag lines.

In developing and refining a digital presence, social networking and spreading your message provides a specific value opportunity where you (your business) become easier to find and open yourself up to be found by more people who find value in your brand. Having a strategy and a purpose for all of your branding including usage of Twitter and this separates your business out from everyone else and can be the difference in you receiving business or not.