Unless you have lived under a rock, you know about Twitter.
Twitter is my favorite way to communicate online. You can quickly and easily chat with a lot of people who you would not likely otherwise meet, much less communicate with.
Twitter can be really lame as well. Many Twitter users like to tweet about mundane things – such as “I just washed my car” or something like that. I’ll admit, I tweet junk like this too. Only a small group of friends and family might slightly care. Emphasis on the word “might”. The rest of us would never pay attention to these types of meaningless updates, and that is why many people do not like Twitter. They think it is a waste of time.
Like anything else that ISN’T reading ‘ReWork’ or ‘4 Steps to Epiphany’, I guess it is indeed a potential waste of time. Why then do I get such high value out of it?
If you want to use Twitter for more than just a way to describe the cleanliness of your car, then you need to get out there and introduce yourself. Don’t be an idiot about it either. Be yourself (hopefully “yourself” isn’t an idiot!). Always.
These people, for whatever reason (including “none”) have decided to follow what you are doing. I would consider myself a decent example of a solid Twitter account that can be used to help benefit my business efforts. I wrote a post awhile back about some of the things I’ve done to grow my account to 47,000 followers. I certainly am not the expert, but I do use Twitter often and as the title of this post says, I’d be willing to pay for it if they started to charge.
Let me give you an example of how Twitter has helped me in business. I tweeted that I was headed to the Dallas, Texas area for a business trip. One of my followers, a successful entrepreneur in the area, contacted me via Twitter and we connected via phone later that day. He was very insightful and truly interested in helping me get connected with some other entrepreneurs in the Dallas area. He in fact introduced me to a few and I was able to start the beginnings of a new network of successful entrepreneurs in the Dallas area that I get to meet and know. Cool! How would I have done that so quickly, easily and effectively without Twitter?
Answer: I wouldn’t have.
Twitter, to me, represents an opportunity to communicate instantly with people who share your interests or you are interested in. Prior to Twitter, how could I get my daily updates from Shaquille O’ Neal that I was sorely missing? He is actually a pretty entertaining guy to follow and he does some great things thru Twitter; spontaneous tweets announcing that whomever meets him somewhere that he tweets about will receive free basketball tickets or $2,000 of food. Shaq uses Twitter to communicate with fans directly. How else could he do that so directly and spontaneously?
I also enjoy following the thoughts of people who I respect, such as Hank Haney – Tiger Woods golf coach (for a while anyways). He is a great teacher, but the only time I get to really read into his world is thru his books or occasional articles. On Twitter, I get to follow him throughout the day if I choose. He has a lot of interesting things to say about golf. Hank is over $1,000/hour I’ve heard. On Twitter he is free. Check out his Twitter timeline; tons of free advice. He even watches videos that people tweet to him and gives them swing tips. The value of professional time is somewhat nonexistent on Twitter. This same principle applies to successful business people, venture capitalists, authors, athletes, bloggers and celebrities.
The trick is to make sure that you don’t spam people or turn Twitter into a big infomercial. Many companies are already making that mistake. Valuable tweets sent to even more valuable, targeted followers – and then analyzing that aggregated data – will prove to be a great benefit to businesses that can harness the power of Twitter. The possibilities to use Twitter for good and interesting things is long. It’s not endless, but it’s long.
I will continue to try to use Twitter as a tool to grow my personal network, learn more about people I am interested in, and grow the sales and buzz of companies I am involved with. I will try not to use it to tell you about my car wash, although I make no promises.
By the way, send me an @ reply on Twitter @_AlexLawrence