Twitter is not just for telling everyone what you ate for lunch and bragging about your weekend. Nooo friends, Twitter has real value – for everyone.
Yup you heard that right. Everyone. You should be on Twitter even if you think it’s some vain, boring, overrated, over-sharing micro-blog. Which for some people it is – but you don’t have to tell everyone that you didn’t brush your teeth this morning or follow the people who do.
Thanks John Mayer for TMI.
There are better ways to use the service, and here are my personal fave reasons;
1. Job searches – follow the companies you want to work for, and get a feel for their company philosophy and important insights into their daily operations. Search for people working there and form a relationship with them by responding to their tweets. Seek out the experts in the industry you are looking to go into/ are already in. You’ll gain the most relevant insight into the field from these Tweeters.
In addition: Follow employment agencies or tweeters dedicated to help job seekers. You’ll hear about jobs in live time, and can get your resume in first – potentially one of the biggest advantages you’ll have. Here is a great list of 55 Job Search folks to follow on Twitter courtesy of Meg Guiseppi. I also recommend doing searches and following streams on the job you are looking for ‘e.g. Copywriter or Marketing Director’ and see listings of job postings as they are released.
2. Making Connections Research – a friend of mine admits to Twitter – stalking people she wants to contact for work or personal reasons for a week before getting in touch. By then she has a good idea of the way they conduct themselves, their sense of humor and how busy they are that day/ week/ month.
3. Contact your favorite authors, chefs, golfers, people you generally ‘heart’ – This is my personal favorite reason. Nothing beats getting a personal message from someone who wrote a book you have fallen in love to say thanks for reading. I have had conversations with Jamie Oliver, personal hero Peter Shankman and numerous authors who I respect and admire.
4. Hear breaking news first – When the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in March I was beyond terrified. With so many friends and family in Japan at the time (and on the East coast no less) I was frantically waiting to hear from friends as well as reliable news sources. The Western media was getting so much information wrong, and there was limited time and access to write emails and blogposts – but enough for friends to tweet that were okay, and what the actual situation was like.
5. Promoting your brand & your self. Get the word about your brand or product out there. I use twitter to market our books using the #GMAT and #wedding tags, with links to our blog, site or Amazon page. Quite often these get re-tweeted, we get more traffic and our books get attention. It’s like free advertising.
6. Keeping up with blogs – Sure I have Google Reader. But Twitter alerts me to blog posts I will find interesting without having to check it. It’s the perfect way to break up the day – check Twitter, read a blogpost or two and get back to work. Admittedly sometimes this snowballs, so if you worry about social media being a time suck, this is probably not a valid reason.
7. Complain to companies and get heard – When British Airways lost my luggage the week of my wedding and gave me the absolutely worst customer service I have ever experienced, boy did I let them know about it. When I was disappointed because the baristas at Starbucks were talking (annoyingly loudly) about things no one else in the coffee shop wanted or needed to hear, I had a little moan to Starbuck’s twitter account. It’s like filling in a feedback form, but far more conveniently.
8. Have you heard of keeping a gratitude journal (aka as Oprah’s 5 a day?) In a nutshell it’s the idea that when you regularly express things you are grateful for, it shifts your brain to focus on things you love about life instead of the things you don’t. Oh and it makes you feel good. Well since Twitter has a 140 character limit, it’s the perfect place to participate in this everyday in just 30 seconds. Follow my lovely friend P.Waltz and her account @5thingsaday to share your 5 petit plaisirs.
What about you? What value do you get from Twitter, and what are your personal reasons for using it? Also if you have any hesitations for using the service, I’d love to hear why.
Laura Pepper Wu is the co-founder of 30 Day Books: a book studio. She has worked with a variety of authors to successfully promote their books, including many Amazon best-sellers. Laura is the author of wedding non-fiction guides and book marketing guides 77 Ways to Find New Readers for Your Self-Published Book and Fire Up Amazon!
Laura also runs Ladies Who Critique, a critique-partner finding site. When she's not working at the studio, you can find her walking her dog, "yoga-ing" or at a coffee shop in Seattle.