At a newbie’s first glance, Twitter seems like a big waste of time and only for kids following Tay Tay (Taylor Swift) or the Biebs (Justin Bieber). Believe it or not there is huge opportunity for business people (particularly in a marketing or sales role). My kids laugh when they see I have nearly 1800 followers because I don’t really use it for anything personal – just business. Even if I wanted to use it for personal, my Generation Xer friends are not there for personal use either. I can just image what those hashtags would look like: #whatsfordinnermom #grocerystoresrock #conferenceroomcrazy – this is not typical Gen Xer behavior to be tweeting about this to our friends – after all, we’re too darn busy!
But, if you are looking for a way to meet, engage and do business with a whole new world of people, then twitter is your venue. The key is to filter out the chaos and noise. By creating lists, searching for relevant hashtags (see blogpost Hashtags Are Suffering a PR Problem) and using the HootSuite dashboard, all the good stuff comes to you. You don’t have to sift through the latest tweets on Obamacare, Deflategate, Gas Prices or anything else you could care less about.
To get started filtering Twitter, here are a few tips:
- Think of categories of people and then create lists for each one. For example: prospects, customers, industry thought leaders, solution providers, analysts, etc. Create a list for each one on Twitter. You have to name the list first, then fill it with people – and this can be done as you stumble upon people – you can add them to whichever list makes sense. Note: you can add someone to a list without following them. This allows you to monitor their activity without getting on their radar, which can be useful to monitoring your competitors.
- Use Hashtags. Rather than simply looking at all the incoming tweets of the people you are following, do a search on a relevant hashtags in your industry. For example #bigdata, #cloud, #payments, #banking or the hashtag of an upcoming big event in your industry. By looking at the hashtags of pertinent topics in your industry, you’ll find conversations and discussions happening in real time by people who are interested in the same topic. This is your opportunity to join the conversation!
- Use tools for filtering like HootSuite. HootSuite is a social media dashboard which enables you to create streams (columns) of tweets to monitor. The streams can contain hashtag searches, lists you’ve created, your tweets re-tweeted, etc. The streams can be added or deleted at any time and you can view multiple streams at a glance. So, rather than stumbling around, all your go to sources are right in front of you.
Of course, when it comes to building business relationship, nothing beats face to face interaction. But, since we can’t be at every trade show and networking event, Twitter is a great tool to find great content, get exposure, join the conversation, and grow your business (and with the right tools you can do it all from your phone). Follow me at @denisebahs and our team @profitecture for more social media tips.