Welcome to 2017. We always hear a lot of chatter this time of year about how good, bad, great, or terrible last year was. Recently what most people seem to focus on remembering 2016 for is the seemingly high number of famous people who died. Really? Why don’t at least a portion of the population focus on stuff like the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series for the first time in 108 years? I blame it on human nature and our twisted behavior of almost naturally looking for the worst in stuff. It is that same attitude that we often seem to carry with us when we look at anything new or different. One key that I have found in being a success online is to try and not do that. Rather than look at a new tool or new platform, and see what is wrong with it or what could better, I try to look at a new tool and focus on creative ways to use it to improve our online projects.
It might be easy to Look at Twitter and see lots of things that we would like to change. On the other hand, Twitter is what Twitter is. Yes, they are making changes, some might see them as improvements, other folks may not. In any case, what can we do with it as it is today?
Twitter is actually a great way to get traffic. As the old Golden Rule states.. “Do onto others, as you would have others do unto you”. Okay, don’t ask what version of the Bible that is from. I admit I did not look it up, and yes I did paraphrase I am sure. In any case, The “Golden Rule” of Twitter that I like to follow is “ I will follow everyone who follows me”. If you follow me, I will follow you back. Now, if down the road, I see that you have unfollowed me, either because you did not like my content or because you were hoping that I wouldn’t notice that you were absent, I will then decide if I care to continue to follow you.
The reason this “Golden Rule of Twitter” is important to me goes back to my analogy of Twitter beign a river, which goes something like this: If you can picture a river in the fall season, where all the colorful leaves are floating downstream, except in this case each leaf is a post-it note. Each post-it not has up to 140 characters on it. That river is basically Twitter, and each post-it note is a Tweet. If I follow you and you follow me, then the water in our river increases and there is more flow. While this can make keeping on top of finding and reading what interests you, it is very powerful.
When you want to find the tweets that interest you, you can use Twitter’s tools such as hashtags and lists. Hashtags, some people still like to call them pound signs look like this “#”. Okay, quickly an example of how to use a hashtag is let’s say you are attending a conference. Let’s say the conference is a large annual auto show. Every tweet that pertains to this show gets #2017AutoShow tagged with it. That is fairly unique, right? So if you want to know what is going on open your Twitter app and search for #AutoShow2017. Did you have a message that you wanted to get to all 4,000 attendees? No problem. Simply write a tweet and put #AutoShow2017 on the end of it. Now, let’s say you are leading a break out session at the auto show about tires. Let the attendees know that the breakout session will be using #AS2017Tires. This will allow every attendee in your session to engage and interact if they have a question or comment that they want to get to you.
One of Twitter’s most under utilized features I believe is their lists. Twitter Lists can be really useful. I am involved in the local food truck / mobile food unit ( this term includes food concession trailers and carts ) scene. Many people complain that it is hard to find where a certain food truck might be serving, or what food trucks are closest to a given location. While there are plenty of mapping apps and such out there that hope that food trucks will subscribe to, the truth is that many of the trucks will not. A great answer to this is Twitter. In my community, I have created a Twitter list of all the local food trucks that have Twitter accounts. In one simple place, you can quickly see that the wood fired pizza truck is at the park today until 6pm, and the taco truck is at a local brew pub, etc. Since many of the food trucks work with local brew pubs, I made another list called #COSBrewPubsWithFoodTrucks. Again this makes it super easy to find which trucks are available where.
Twitter makes it super simple to ad active links, and will even shorten them for you to use less of your 140 character limit. I recommend that you don’t abuse this feature, but when appropriate definitely use it. I like to keep tweets about 100 characters and end with read complete story at : www.somedomain.com
There is much much more that I want to share about different ways to use Twitter, but this should be enough for you to see that Twitter can be a useful tool to have in your digital online sales and marketing toolbox.