By Kevin M
Twitter can seem daunting at times. It’s the preverbal “fire hose of information” coming at you so fast it’s almost incomprehensible–the information superhighway of the information superhighway. To the outside observer, it can seem as if there’s no logical purpose to it, as if everyone is sending out information that no one else is reading.
To a very large degree, that’s even true—but it doesn’t mean that Twitter doesn’t work, or that it won’t work for you. True, not nearly everyone will even pay attention to most of your messages, but you don’t need everyone—you just need a few at a time. Multiply that small response by several efforts each day and you’re beginning to talk about something significant.
The best way I can describe what Twitter can do for you is to tell you what it’s doing for me.
Generating traffic. Twitter is bringing visitors to this blog who wouldn’t otherwise be here. Not all tweets bring visitors all the time, but many bring in several at a time and when you send several per day it begins to add up. This can be especially important for a small or upstart blog or website. It’s an opportunity to “get things going” in your direction and to do it in real time. From a marketing perspective, you can measure results in a matter of minutes rather than days, weeks or even months.
Tweets normally have a short shelf life, being most effective until your next message is tweeted. A strong one however can draw visitors for as long as it remains on your Twitter home page. Some others can draw long past that. I’m an active tweeter, and yet I’ve noticed traffic coming in on messages I’ve sent out days or weeks earlier. Every tweet you send represents an opportunity to draw people your way.
Generating connections. What ever enterprise you’re in or contemplating entering, one thing that greases the wheels is getting connected with others who are already there and doing it. Twitter has put me in contact with other bloggers, and because of its speed it’s enabled me to connect with a large number of them in the shortest space of time.
This blog is my first effort at a presence on the web, and I can say with total confidence that I’ve learned more from other bloggers than I’ve learned on my own. Most of them I “met” on Twitter! In fact, ongoing communication happens mostly through Twitter. The short, quick nature of the messages enables ongoing communication in a world where we’re all too busy for more formal methods of communicating. Often, all you need to do to connect with people is to go to their home page and respond to one or more of their tweets.
Posting my beliefs. As a Christian, I’ve often felt that I’m not doing enough to “get the Word out”. Twitter offers a chance to do that even for the most timid would-be evangelist. Tweeting Bible verses is a way of bringing the Gospel to people I’ll never meet, people perhaps in parts of the world where it isn’t welcome.
Another thing I like to do is to tweet inspiration quotes from famous (and not so famous) people. A Bible verse or inspirational quote may not change thousands of lives, but it may be a real lift at the right moment to a person who’s in a bit of a ditch at the moment. If we can do anything to lift up others we should, even if there’s no direct return to us. Sometimes however I get responses on these and interesting conversations follow.
Use Twitter to broadcast your faith, beliefs, political views—anything you feel passionate about. Most won’t pay any attention, but a few will and that’s often all you need to do to make a difference or get a ball rolling in a desired direction.
Getting noticed. If you’re trying to build a website or blog, or promoting a business or product, one of the most important things is getting noticed. There are many ways to do that, and Twitter is one of them. Tweeting my blog posts has led to some of them being picked up by other sites. Last week two of my posts were linked by Time.com and The Consumerist, both leading to increases in traffic and exposure. My humble little blog has been linked or quoted by newspapers and other blogs that I never solicited directly. That’s the power of Twitter to broadcast simple messages.
Generating activity. An active stream of tweets generates activity, and activity draws people to you for good or for ill, but always with activity comes opportunity. In order to get noticed, you have to find ways to “stir up the pot”—so to speak. In fact, that’s what advertising is all about. Twitter is a way of generating that activity, and because it’s cost free, you can sustain the effort as long as necessary.
Drawing traffic to other social media. One of the cool attributes of Twitter is how it can be used in conjunction with other social media. Twitter makes use of URL shorteners, enabling you to link your tweets to posts on other social media, such as Digg, Tip’d and Stumbleupon. You’re promoting your posts on those media via Twitter, and once visitors go to those sites, they might digg, tip or thumb the post, helping to drive even more traffic your way.
In my experience, Twitter has been on balance the best and most flexible of the various social media.
As a source of news and information. That Twitter feed that seems to blast an endless stream of messages contains some valuable stuff that can lead to interesting discoveries. All kinds of things are coming through on Twitter, and you can scan your home feed periodically and just sample some of what’s coming through.
There’s news, information, ideas and opportunities. Check them out and see what works for you. Usually, when we need an idea or opportunity we go on the web and start searching. With Twitter, you don’t have to search; all you need to do is scan and wait for it all to come to you. People are doing all kinds of things and broadcasting them on Twitter, so you just might find the inspiration you’re looking for.
Every tweet you send out, every person you connect with on Twitter represents a potential opportunity for you to advance your cause, what ever that cause is. The more people you can connect with, the greater the potential for good things to happen. If you’d like to build a larger list of followers but aren’t sure how, check out my short e-book, Do You Need 5,000 REAL Twitter Followers?. It’ll help you add thousands of followers of your choice in just a few months.