How many of you are already on Twitter? It’s a growing networks and more and more people seem to be joining everyday but there are still so many that are against it. That’s completely fine, I also was against joining at one point. First of all, it’s just another profile you have to manage and maintain…do you really have time for that extra work? It’s already hard enough watching over your Facebook account – you have to make sure people don’t tag you in horrible pictures, wish people happy birthday, leave funny yet random comments on your friend’s page, and of course you have to creep around and see what people are doing with their lives! Most importantly, the biggest reason not to join Twitter is because your life is just not that interesting right? I always used to say that same thing. Why in the world do people want to know what I’m eating for breakfast or how my experience in the crapper went? I barely even change my status on Facebook, what makes you think that I’m going to tweet often? Although these are all valid points, there is a lot more to Twitter than meets the eye. Just like I suggested that you should start blogging, I am also going to give you 4 reasons for why you should get yourself on Twitter and actively use it.
1) Using it as an educational tool
This is the greatest benefit I got out of Twitter when I first joined. I began following influential people, companies and blogs and started listening to and reading all the informative links they were sharing. I specifically was reading up on social media and online marketing but you can do this for almost any industry. Two Twitter directories that I would suggest using in order to find the right people to follow are Twellow, Follower Wonk and Wefollow, but there are plenty of options out there. These people or organizations that you follow are the big dogs in your industry of interest and therefore what they have to say must hold some sort of value. See what articles they share and read the ones that interest you and make the most sense for what you want to learn.
2) Sharing may be caring but it also makes you look smarter
Let’s be honest, if you see someone sharing interesting articles about a specific topic, you automatically assume that the person must be highly involved with that specific industry. So using Twitter to learn is great, but sharing all this amazing information is one step better. Curating content will not only allow you to gain followers here and there, but it will give off the image that you somewhat know what you are doing or talking about in your field of choice. Want to take it up a notch? Add a little personality to the links you share by telling your followers why you are sharing the link with them. You can tweet the title and the url of the article followed by a brief comment in parenthesis or just start off with your comment (making it obvious what the article is about) and then the link. This also shows that you are not just sharing random crap that you find online but rather articles that you actually found value in. Once you have created a nice following and built trust with them, you can start getting more eyes back to your own blog posts or company website. Sharing quality articles, whether your own or ones you find online, makes it seem as if you understand what you are talking about and helps in the first step of becoming a thought leader for your specified industry (note that I said it helps you start becoming a thought leader, not automatically makes you one).
3) Social media is and always will be about connections
It’s nice to share photos on Facebook or check-in on Foursquare but the ultimate goal of social media should be to create strong connections and engagements. Twitter is amazing for this. When I first starting using Twitter, I was somewhat afraid to tweet some of the influential people in social media and online marketing, but I began realizing that Twitter’s main purpose was to build connections. So eventually I started replying to tweets and to my surprise, I was able to have a few conversations with people in the social media world that I may have never met in the real world. Let me warn you though, some of these influential people that have 40,000+ followers rarely reply back (kind of taking away from the purpose of being “social”) but that is no reason to be discouraged. How do you make these connections? There is no clear cut way. You could go straight in for the kill and direct message them, you could create conversation by replying to their tweets that you can relate to or you could even give them credit when sharing links that you found through them or are written by them (via @anandp29 or by @anandp29). Connections may not come right away but eventually you may meet the one person who could give you that big break you were looking for, whether it be exposure for your blog or the entrance to a dream job.
4) It all comes down to building your reputation and personal brand
At the end of the day, you do all this listening and connecting in order to help build your reputation in your industry. Obviously the number of followers you have is important but if you really wanted to, you could build up your following pretty quickly by using directories. On the other hand, having quality and influential followers will help increase your reach to the right people. If I have created a relationship with an influential social media expert and they are now following me on Twitter, just imagine how much that could help me. Maybe they will see when I tweet my blog post and find it interesting enough to share with their 40,000+ followers…how cool would that be? What if you are applying for a job or a speaking opportunity and the decision makers decide to check out your Twitter profile (which seems to be happening more often now) and they notice that you seem to be well connected with some very influential people. Think that adds some brownie points? I’d hope so!
Work hard at sharing important and quality content in addition to building the right relationships. If used correctly, and not completely mindlessly, Twitter can help show your knowledge in your specific field and with time, you may just become a big name
Here are two good reads on building a personal brand and Twitter credibility. Do you have any good tips or stories on building a reputation and personal brand by using Twitter or any other social network?