Saturday, June 27, 2009

Why And How To Use Twitter?

funny twitterEarlier this week I had a delightful dinner with some friends of mine at a local Chicago eatery called Elliott’s Seafood Grill and Chop House.  For the record if you are in Chicago and happen to be on the Northwest side (Edison Park) this restaurant is one to check out….. Fantastic food, wonderful service and friendly staff.  It truly has the feel of a neighborhood hangout with casual elegance.  If you meet the restaurant’s owner, Alex, please tell him “Big Mike” sent you.

During dinner, the subject of Social Media inevitably came up.  My friend Denny (Dennis Bruno)  is in the “Discovery” stage with social media, in particular Twitter.  In short Denny is a savvy business person with an impressive history in Executive Leadership.  An “outside of the box” thinker he is always looking for innovative ways to do business.

As with many folks Denny’s first perceptions of Twitter were confused.   When the subject of Twitter came up during our conversation his immediate response was “Why would anyone spend anytime whatsoever using Twitter?” Not surprisingly I am asked this question a lot these days, as many people are starting to discover Twitter, but don’t yet understand its use or value.

For those of you out there just beginning to consider Twitter ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you interested in a networking tool enabling you to build your reputation as a thought leader?
  • Do you seek to market your “personal brand” and expand your circle of contacts?
  • Would you find a resource valuable where you may quickly find information on just about any topic, business or personal?
  • Do you enjoy assisting other people?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then read on…..  Twitter is a dynamic platform for like-minded (or not) individuals to exchange information, insight and experiences with one another… all in 140 characters or less.  This article is not about learning the basics of Twitter so if you are interested in that information read this article written by Michael Hyatt.

No two people utilize Twitter exactly the same way, as its flexibility is one of its greatest strengths.  For those of you interested in figuring out how to utilize Twitter I would recommend doing the following:

  • Find Focus — Think about what you want to accomplish with this social media tool.  Do you want to grow your network of business connections, or do you wish to focus on hobbies and interests?  Maybe it’s both… perhaps you just want to have a social outlet for meeting people and entertaining yourself.  The choice is yours….. the key is to decide upfront what you at least initially want to pursue.
  • Setup Your Account — This is a very important step as it will determine how you are perceived by other twitter users, in essence your first “Twimpression.”  Click here to find a quick start guide I created for a recent blog article.
  • Find Twitter Users to Follow — In order to get followers (ppl that read your tweets) you must entice other users to follow you.  Read this article to discover some techniques for effectively growing your Twitter account.
  • Start Tweeting — The best way to gain experience with Twitter is to use it!  If you have followed the steps above you will know what to tweet about as it will come naturally.  Be natural, be yourself… people will respond!

If you have a suggestion or idea to add to this article I would love to hear from you…. all ideas/feedback is welcome!

Follow Michael McCurry on Twitter

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Justin Locke July 8, 2009 at 9:37 pm

well this comment is a perfect example of twitter at work. okay, let me admit, i approached social media with an agenda other than ending world hunger. I wanted to make connections and market my services (i am an author/speaker). 2 weeks ago i had no idea what twitter was. now i “get it.”

all i had to do was search for “meeting planners,” and various people in the meetings industry popped up in the search. so what the heck, i clicked on their “follow” button. then i started reading their websites and tweets. many mentioned blogs by other event managers. so i went and read them. amazingly, an imaginary wall of difficulty in connecting with folks i wanted to meet melted away. here were wall-to-wall meeting planners, and association managers, all with with blogs. and their blogs listed the blogs of other noteworthy event professionals.

while i blog myself and have my unique following, i have learned that bloggers love comments. so by commenting on these potential customer’s blogs i have done much more than a cold call or a flyer or a video. I have engaged these folks in direct conversation, i have learned a lot about them and who they are and what their world is about, and i’ve had a chance to get to know folks all over the place. granted, it was self serving to start but hey, a lot of my blog comments, people seem to enjoy them! so what the heck! it’s like playing golf with potential customers. if you don’t sell anything, you still got to play some golf. it happens or it doesn’t.

of course another approach is to look at someone’s twitter page and look up all their followers, and if you someone vaguely interesting, you can follow them. i’m like a kid in a candy store.

i like to talk about infinite possibilities in life, but twitter makes it happen here and now.

of course,some people tweet with constant “call us we’re great” spam.” ugh. they don’t get it. this is real immediate people to people contact. where it will go, frankly i can’t tell. you never know who you will meet at a party or who you will meet on twitter. amazingly, all sorts of people are following me too! why? don’t ask me! 2 weeks ago i thought twitter was the dumbest thing i ever heard of. now i love twitter. –jl


Michael M McCurry CMP July 9, 2009 at 10:21 am

@Justin Locke

Hi Justin,

What a great comment post!

Thanks so much for your insight into how Twitter is working for you. I especially like your comment about engaging folks in conversation by responding to their blogs. That is so true!

I, like you, was very confused at first about Twitter and over the past four months have become a “Twitter Evangelist.”

I wish you the very best in your twitter quests, and just so you know I am following you now… hope you will do the same!



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