In my last post, I tried to summarize a few of the things I often hear about “Why Twitter Is Stupid”.
As a semi-recent convert to the power of Twitter, I wanted to quickly play counter-point to my previous argument and provide a few real life examples of how I’ve actually found Twitter to be very useful.
- Ability to Interact With Employees / Executives / Leaders: Regardless of what you’re interested in – politics, sports, t.v., social media, etc.., many of your “idols” are probably on Twitter right now. At worst, it can be interesting to hop on and see what they’re rambling about. In many cases, the information they are sharing can be very interesting and valuable. Finally, because it’s quick, you can sometimes even get a little interaction with a famous person that you probably would never have had. Check out this recent interaction my friend had with Tiger Woods:
- Valuable Pre-Call / Research Sales Tool: If you’re targeting a certain person or contact, you can often find that person on Twitter. Reading some of their tweets will give you insight as to who they are, what they like to do, and even an image of what they look like. Typically, you’re not going to get all that info with Facebook or even LinkedIn unless they agree to “friend” you.
- Connect With A Tough To Reach Contact / Prospect: Anyone who sells knows the challenge of getting someone to respond to your e-mails, phone calls, and voice mails. Assuming your message didn’t end up in a spam folder, it’s probably one of 200 your contact received that day. Sending a tweet mentioning your prospect (assuming you can’t send them a DM because they’re not following you yet) can sometimes open a quick dialog if they actually use Twitter.
- Track The Competition: The fact that Twitter is very open does create some interesting insight from a competitive research perspective. You can see what your competition is saying and what people are saying about them (good and bad). You can see who the competition is following and who is following them (a very interesting resource for leads).
- Interaction / Support From Small Companies: I recently had a few technical problems with my iPhone caused by apps I purchased from small developers – neither of which had an available phone number and one of whom didn’t even have a public e-mail address. However, I was able to post a quick Tweet and within a few hours, I actually had a personalized response and answer to my question.
- Interaction / Support From Large Companies: I’m not as convinced about this one yet, but I do think that many companies are looking to monitor the Twittosphere for complaints, questions, and compliments. A few interesting examples include this campaign by Wheat Thins:
And click to read about this KLM story about a guy who tried, successfully, to get KLM to change their flight schedule via a Tweet.
- No Advertising & Targeted If Used Correctly: Although Twitter is FILLED with people tweeting every 2 seconds about get rich ideas, it is basically advertising free depending upon the client you use. While I occasionally skim my main timeline, I primarily use Twitter’s List functionality to keep an eye on different people I want to follow (e.g. Social Media Leaders, Celebrities, Prospects, People From Work, etc.).
- Very Real Time and Mobile: It is interesting to see how recent events around the world have been impacted by the real time nature of Twitter. The uprising in Egypt and elsewhere as well as the death of Osama Bin Laden were spread and driven by the power of Twitter. In addition, Twitter can be a real time measurement and gage of your own efforts. For example, a recent blog post I did on social media by employees was published on Social Media Today and I could track in real time as people retweeted it, made comments on it within their Tweets, as well as sent DMs to me to offer their own thoughts. The fact that many people tweet from their mobile phones and devices makes the comments even more immediate and unfiltered.
- Amusing At Times: Occasionally, I find people / comedians, writers, or Tweets that are funny – similar to the silliness that is spread around via e-mail and Twitter. Most recently, I did enjoy @ghostosama impressive growth to 35K followers in 12 hours with only a few pretty funny tweets. Check out the story here.
- Create “Flash Groups” & “Flash Trends”: The searchable nature of Twitter and the ability to easily add hashtags to tweets can create interesting quick groups. Companies are experimenting with using this concept at events by having people tweet with specific tags to win prizes. I also enjoyed the quick group that started up around #govtshutdownpickuplines.
Bottom line, social media is not going anywhere. I think Twitter is an interesting tool both for companies and individuals. The trick is to find ways to make it work for you and ignore the rest of the noise.
Please follow my noise @ericsgoldstein or check out my blog at http://www.ericgoldstein.net.