Make the human connection in 140 characters or less
In the six years since its launch, Twitter—the social networking service with the funny name—has gone from a few dozen to nearly 350 million active users. And there are more than a billion active searches on Twitter every day. Why? I think it’s the human connection. People like to engage. People like to share ideas, perceptions, thoughts. Some people—it seems many—even like to share what they just purchased in the produce aisle at their local supermarket. And Lady Gaga has almost 30 million followers on Twitter.
Does this make Tweeting irrelevant, or even silly? No. I believe Twitter is a powerful business tool and one that I urge you to start using before the year is out. Warren Buffet garnered 100,000 followers (people who follow his Tweets) with a single Tweet of his name, Meg Whitman has 243,000 followers, and Bill Gates and Martha Stewart each have more than two million. If you Tweet, you’ll be in good company.
As I push to get on board, there are good reasons to Tweet and one of them is engagement—making that human connection with your customers, with your employees, and with your professional colleagues. A short time back, we reported in our MI Newsletter that nearly 90 percent of respondents to a survey said CEOs could use social media to build better connections with customers. Eighty-two percent said they were more likely to trust a company whose executives used social media. And 85 percent said executives who used social media could build better connections with employees.
I started Tweeting just a short time ago and my brief experience with this new engagement tool tells me the survey is right on the money. Here’s why:
- We have a multigenerational workforce. If we want to reach the younger members of that workforce, we had better be using all the tools of social networking, especially Twitter. Pew reports that 26 percent of adults age 18-29 use Twitter.
- The social media network is already talking about you and your company. Your customers, prospects and employees are already talking about you in the social media space—in blogs, on LinkedIn and in Tweets. By Tweeting, you take part in the conversation and can even lead it.
- You can establish a position of thought leadership. With Twitter you can communicate your perceptions, your ideas, and your reactions to events of the day. You get ahead of the communication curve.
My advice is to get started—now.
- Open a Twitter account and start writing. Respond to an event of the day. Comment on an article you’ve read. Share what you just learned at a show or conference. Let your followers know about one cool thing your organization did today/this week/this month.
- Think before you send. You want to be authentic but you need to be thoughtful as well. Who do you want as your audience? What do you want them to know? What do you want the impact of those 140 characters to be?
- Don’t strive for perfection and don’t worry about what others are doing with their Tweets. This is your space, your voice.
- You can make a difference. You still might be wondering, Why should I Tweet? Because you can make a difference. You can communicate your organization’s culture, its values, even its personality to the communities that matter most. And you don’t need thousands of followers for your Tweets to be effective. In the B2B world it’s quality that counts, not quantity.
Tweeting is important, it’s fun, and it’s now. Will you join me?
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