Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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To Tweet or Not to Tweet

October 14, 2016

Unless you can go all in, don’t. Here’s why I think a Twitter presence is so important.

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Written communication used to be so, well, wordy. Before email and social media, we wrote letters. Or at the very least, memos. We penned multiple paragraphs because we were usually expounding on multiple topics or really fleshing out one core theme.

Postcards were the exception. They were the closest thing we had to tweets and posts back in the days when we used pens and typewriters instead or keyboards and styluses to express thoughts and ideas.

I’ve shared the common wisdom about how to use Twitter in past blogs posts. You know. The standard advice like:

  • Optimize your profile.
  • Tweet as often as you have a good reason to.
  • Interact with your followers and with individuals on other Twitter feeds.
  • Use visuals and links to recommended content when you can.

But let’s think about our reasons for crafting those 140-character messages. Why are you on Twitter (besides the fact that it’s there)? Here’s why I am.

It’s one of the ways I establish an online persona. Self-publishing—and that’s really what Twitter is—has made it possible for everyone to present themselves to the world without being interviewed for a newspaper article or taking out an ad. Anyone with an internet connection can be seen and heard (which is not always such a good thing, we’ve all discovered). Twitter has many rules and boundaries, but I like that about it. We all have the same opportunity to carve out an identity, to broadcast news and views that were previously limited to friends and business associates in meetings, on phone calls, at lunch, etc.

I learn things. Twitter is one of my daily news sources. I can read through my feed and absorb information about local, national, and world events in a way that’s different from reading a newspaper (which I still do, by the way). I can see what other people think is important, and how followers are reacting to that.

I “meet” people I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to otherwise. What more can you say? We’ve become so accustomed to having access to words and images from people around the globe that it’s hard to remember when we couldn’t. No one is choosing that content and placing it in a publication. We’re hearing it from the horse’s mouth.

I like its brevity. Twitter forces me to distill what I’m trying to convey in far fewer words than I would normally use. Many people use the freedom of the internet to bloviate at such length that you can hardly even follow their train of thought. Twitter makes us work at choosing words carefully.

I feel like I’m part of a community. Many years ago, a co-worker dropped a magazine clipping on my desk. It was written by a man who was listening to a symphony on the radio. He had his own recording of it and had heard it before, but it felt different this time because he knew that other people were enjoying it at the same time.

That’s a good analogy for the difference between keeping a journal and tweeting. We might look back at a particular insight we expressed or an article we saved in our own private journal. But like the man listening to the radio, it just feels different because you know other people can read it and respond to it.

It helps me further establish my business brand. No one has to read my profile to know something about what I do and what interests me. They can tell a lot from reading the tweets I post. I don’t try to sell on my Twitter feed, but I could. Some people have a knack for crafting a social stream that skillfully blends the professional and the personal. I would encourage you to work toward that kind of combination if you do use Twitter for sales and promotion. Your customers and prospects are looking for that. If they simply want product information, they can go to your website.

You probably share my interest, too, in getting feedback. Twitter provides that. I may not always like it or agree with it, but I don’t post online just to “hear” the sound of my own voice. Comments, retweets, and all of the opportunities for learning and interaction that Twitter provides enhance my ability to do my job well. And that’s a good reason to be active on it right there.


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