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How I use and think about Twitter as a business tool.

Twitter engagement tells (some of) the opinion leaders in the community who influence your business success that you are keen to engage in meaningful conversation with them.

Through Twitter you join a sociable, self selected group of early adopters. Members are generally pleased to share what they know and inclined to learn from others.

Has Twitter been good for my business? I meet followers and fellow travelers, clients and prospects every week. Sometimes in the flesh, other times through email or on the phone. For those that I have touched through Twitter commercial conversatbions are easier to engage. As are personal engagements. There’s trust in the relationship from the go. Business is flourishing.

I have developed a number of ‘practices’ for want of a better word over the last 18 months that I am happy to share.

  1. Best if 5 or 10% of the community you are seeking to engage have identifiable early adopters already on Twitter. How do you find them? If they are in business visit their websites and look for a Twitter link.

  2. Your initial goal is to find out and then show you care about the things that are important and relevant to them.

  3. You will find some of that information through their Twitter activities, most you can research using traditional means: visit their website, talk to them, talk with other suppliers to them, etc.

  4. Reciprocity is a very powerful human driver: share what you know and learn. Curate direct links to articles, websites and YouTube on issues that are likely to be of business value to them.

  5. Express your personality, showcase your enthusiasms and project a rounded individuality. Don’t be formal. Be yourself. Speak in your own voice.

  6. Join Twitter conversations when you feel comfortable to do so. There’s no rush.

  7. Your large competitors won’t and can’t use Twitter. Most of your small competitors won’t Tweet. It’s an open opportunity.

  8. No more than 20 of Tweets should be specifically about your business, it’s products or services

  9. No more than 10% should be personal Tweets and then only to enhance readers view of the individual you.

  10. 60 to 70% should be useful opinions and information for your community.

  11. Twitter engagement forces you to widen your knowledge, so you can share more

  12. Twitter encourages communication discipline as you will need to summarise often complex ideas into 140 character messages.

  13. Tweets allow easy cross reference to your other communications: workshops, integrations, websites, white papers, joint ventures, blogs, LinkedIn, media etc

  14. Twitter can rarely effectively be outsourced. Best carried out by the principal of the business.

  15. Stimulates happiness in the Tweeter: many of us take pleasure through sharing what we know. Great satisfaction when you are retweeted, more so when you get receive an intelligent response from someone you respect.

  16. It can take as little as 10 minutes a day. It’s like exercise. The more regularly you do it, the longer you do it, the better you do it, the greater the return.

Twitter is a trip, it’s not a destination. How do you start? One step at a time.

  1. Subscribe to Twitter.

  2. Follow one new person who you know every day for several days.

  3. Visit their Twitter account, see who they follow, review their Tweets.

  4. You will soon see a pattern. Follow those that they follow.

  5. After a week or so you will want to say something, join a conversation, or share what you have just read.

  6. Be tough. Unfollow those that don’t add value to your life.

  7. Don’t follow more than 100. Cull ruthlessly.

I am relatively new to Twitter but not new to sharing business ideas. The world is made up of two sorts of people: philanthropists and thieves. I don’t want to die with my ideas and enthusiasms a secret.

This blog emerged after a rather energetic dinner conversation I had with Caroline Hayes, Ben Mason and Andy O’Keefe.

Follow me at #paulresnik

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