Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Twitter and Business

It seems to me that everybody's a social media expert these days. It's weird. There are millions of people living their lives without "new media". I go to meetings with highly educated professionals who are clueless about blogging, Facebook, and most of all, Twitter. I'm disturbed by all of the articles written to help businesses learn how to use social media for advertising, recruiting, and customer service because I think they miss the point.

Here's the way I view Twitter. It's a relationship and community building tool. If you own a business and you want to use a tool like Twitter to help you grow your business, hire a person to Twitter for your company. Make it that person's job to cultivate relationships with people who are potential customers. Tell that person that they are NOT in sales; they are in the relationship building business. THEN, Twitter might become a successful way for you to grow your business. This is because, when I need a plumber, I'll remember the person I've joked around with, the person who sent out a link to a really interesting article on water conservation. I'll remember that I KNOW a plumber and that's when using Twitter will pay off. Twitter is like word of mouth advertising - you can't pay for it, you can't truly monitor it, and it may be months before the customer shows up at your door.

Both my husband and I use Twitter. I use it primarily for the social aspects of it. I find out what's happening around town, I go to TweetUps and other events arranged using Twitter. Hubby shares bits of advice, positive vibes, and all around good will. I don't know if it has grown his business or not but people know who he is and that he is a therapist. I do know that we've eaten at restaurants because we saw a tweet about them - whether they were advertising a great special of the day or someone we follow recommended them.

That's Twitter's power for boosting business. You can't simply show up, send a tweet, and watch the money flow into your bank account. I know there are lots of ebooks and seminars out there that want you to believe differently but I think they are wrong.

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