Funny the commentary I’ve seen recently in various places ridiculing Twitter, because there is no obvious revenue model, or people think it’s silly that anyone would care what “we’re doing right now”. Whatever.
Twitter isn’t necessarily a “flash in the pan” that will fade into obscurity. Will it be here next year used in the same way it is used today? I don’t know, but I also know that’s true of any technology. Technology will continue to evolve and change. What existed 5 years ago is not what we use today. I think people like to use the rationale that Twitter doesn’t make money; hence the “they won’t be around much longer” comments, because the truth is that they do not understand the true potential of Twitter yet.
As with any business tool – that includes social media – you must have a clearly defined purpose and plan for achieving your objectives. Though I first scratched my head and said “why would I care where someone is grabbing their next cup of coffee”, I now realize just how powerful the appropriate use of Twitter can be.
I use Twitter for 3 reasons:
1) Build my business knowledge.
I follow some very top notch people who I learn from, because they are willing to share relevant, interesting and valuable business information. Using TweetDeck, I can organize the information into groups, which lets me easily track the information that is most important to me. It’s less overwhelming, and I can find things more quickly.
2) Watch for trends in my particular field.
Let’s say that I want to check out a new product idea that I’m thinking about creating. I’ve learned through the years that just because I think it’s a great idea doesn’t necessarily mean that others will think so too. How do I know if people think it’s a great idea? They buy. Using search.twitter.com I can easily search out conversations and information based on keywords applicable to the product or service I’m thinking about creating. The results give me a snapshot of what topics are trending and who’s saying and doing what. That includes the competition.
3) Demonstrate my business capabilities.
To build my brand and credibility with potential buyers, I freely share information that I believe will be valuable to others. Not selling though. It is about using Twitter as a way to extend my business brand, create relationships with others and build a reputation for helping people solve their business problems.
The inevitable question is – am I securing clients and making money?
There is no doubt that we need to be thinking about the time ROI using social tools like Twitter. Tweeting aimlessly with no plan gets you nowhere. At the same time, it is still difficult to accurately asses exactly where the sales revenue comes from as a result of my social media usage. I’m reminded of Albert Einstein, who said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”
For me, using tools like Twitter are as much a part of my sales and marketing plan, as attending local networking events. Do you really know exactly what networking activity will lead to that next sale? Of course not. You never know if the people you meet in person will actually buy from you, or if they will pass along your name to others. That’s not to say I don’t measure my efforts as much as I can. I absolutely do!
People buy from people that they know, like and trust. Using social media is a way to build relationships with people, engage in conversations with them that over time lead to sales. I know that invitations to speak at events, calls from journalists for interviews about social media, having others recommend me to their clients, all comes from my ability to use social media to support my business goals. How do I know? I constantly ask people how they found me, and I capture the answers to those questions.
Continued success with your sales efforts is always about having a repeatable process that when used consistently, gets you consistent results. I blend the use of technology with tried and true sales success strategies to achieve my sales goals.Twitter definitely has value, so I say that you don’t dismiss it just because you might not understand it yet:)