“Twitter is a waste of time.”
It’s a common assertion, but one that just isn’t true, argues social media addict David Kaufer (pictured). In his free e-book Behind the Tweets: 25 Unique Twitter Users & How They Use Social Media in Work, Love, and Life, he highlights just how much people can accomplish with their 140-character missives. This includes small-business owners.
Kaufer — a Seattle-based marketing and branding expert, a dad, and a huge Oregon Ducks fan — joined Twitter in May 2008. Like many new users, he let his account sit unused for a few months. Then, in February 2009, he tweeted that he’d checked into a New York City hotel and promptly received a reply from the hotel. The hotel’s tweet wished him a pleasant stay and told him about the specials being offered in its lounge. In that moment, Kaufer realized what a powerful tool Twitter could be for businesses.
“I remember thinking how cool receiving a personalized message like that was, and how smart the hotel was to track tweets that included its name and to respond so quickly,” Kaufer writes in the e-book, which demonstrates how other have used Twitter and its impact on their lives and businesses.
Kaufer interviewed 25 diverse Twitter users, including @SharonHayes (the second most influential woman on Twitter according to TweetGrader), Corey duBrowa (Starbucks’ vice president of global communications found at @coreydu), several Seattle reporters and social media experts, and a photographer and a humorist. Many common themes emerged during the interviews. Here Kaufer @DavidKaufer) shares five of the lessons and tips he gleaned from these savvy “tweeple,” many of whom he met via Twitter.
- Be yourself. The people who are most successful with social media are those who don’t try to put on an act, he says. They’ve figured out that Twitter is simply a channel or platform that helps them to connect and share with other, like-minded individuals. A small business should be transparent and tweeting should reflect the business’ culture and values.
- Twitter is still in its infancy. Although Twitter launched nearly six years ago many consumers and companies are still learning how best to use the service to meet their goals and objectives. Small businesses shouldn’t think it is too late to join.
- Social media enable new types of interaction. Twitter allows people to form relationships that were nearly impossible in the past. Fans of a particular celebrity or industry leader can now connect with these luminaries directly — and follow what they’re saying and doing. It’s also possible to have conversations about a mutual topic of interest with people you may never actually meet. Small businesses can learn a lot from interacting with customers, particularly online customers.
- Social networks can create strong support networks. “I can’t even begin to express how important it has been for me to be able to not only blog about my experiences with my son Stone and autism, but to receive feedback, love, and support from literally around the world through people I’ve met via Twitter and other channels,” Kaufer notes.
- Twitter changes you. “The concept of sharing bits and pieces of your life — via tweets, video/photos, or blogs — in a consistent, ongoing manner really does change one’s life,” he says.
How have you benefited from using Twitter? Or, if you aren’t using it, why not? Please share your comments below.