As we gear up for spring, I assume most people are hiding out in their cozy homes, and starting to think about summer plans. Me, however, I’m working on how to maintain my business network and social connections while the roads are icing up and the calendar gets mapped out for the year. Then along comes Twitter to save the day!
I’m what is commonly referred to in the tech industry as “an early adopter”. I will beta-test the hell out of any new app, website, or piece of technology I can get access to, and all with the question in mind of “How can I use this to reach one more person?” So far in almost 15 years of digital marketing, I have NEVER found a tool more powerful in its’ simplicity than Twitter. At its core, Twitter is a platform that allows people to share status updates, links, images and videos to the world. Like any other network, you can build an audience, and that audience can help spread your messages.
Why Do I Use Twitter?
I use Twitter because in just 280 characters I can express an opinion to the abyss, garner the attention of an entire movement, show appreciation for a talented creative, or provide validation and feedback for someone else doing the same. I can get a compacted summary of the national climate, and an in-depth look at what is happening in a major event in real time without a mass-media bias filter. I can seek out my neighbors and peers just as easily as a fun pen-pal from across the world.
Twitter has, over the last 10 years, become the most powerful communication tool in my arsenal. Through Twitter, I have been honored with panelist opportunities at major social media events and met some of the most amazing, quality connections I could ever dream of meeting. It’s one of the few digital spaces where the wall between citizen and celebrity (whether that’s a movie star, author, scientist, politician, or other major public figure) is slim to none.
How do I Use Twitter?
When I first joined Twitter, I started by synching my Gmail contacts and choosing who I would like to know more about outside of our existing connection. I tried to follow the rule that I had to have met them in person on a social level at least once, so it really helped me feel more comfortable using the platform. Eventually I realized that I would miss out on so much if I didn’t expand my circle some, so I started clicking on hashtags for local events I went to and bands that I liked and followed people with similar interests, all the while using status updates to talk about what I did for work, and for fun. I make sure to include hashtags that are relevant to what I’m posting about so that others may find and interact with me in return. Here are a few examples of tweets that have helped me reach kindred spirits!
— Shauna Castorena (@WhiskeyChick) February 26, 2016
— Shauna Castorena (@WhiskeyChick) November 6, 2015
— Shauna Castorena (@WhiskeyChick) November 1, 2015
At first, it feels like you’ve walked into the middle of a busy convention room floor where everyone is shouting their thoughts and sales pitches all at once, but over time, if you curate your stream, that is when the true value of the platform presents itself. If you are just getting started, try following some of the amazing women from The LWC, who you can find in this handy list and we’ll help you get on board!
What are some Twitter Tricks and Tips?
- Be sure to connect your account to your cell phone number, especially if you live in an area with sketchy 4g coverage. This will allow you to send tweets and direct messages via SMS without using data at all. You can also get SMS notifications from your favorite accounts this way.
- Find someone you love to follow, but they tend to go on retweet binges, clogging up your timeline? You can go to their profile, click the three-dot menu and select “Turn Off Retweets” allowing you to only see their original thoughts and shares.
- Want to stay connected with a friend, but you realize they use automated services to just forward their statuses from Instagram or Facebook and never actually check the platform? Then just select the dropdown on one of their tweets and Mute them for a while. (This is a trick celebrities use, allowing them to “follow” millions of users but only actually see the tweets of the people they want to interact with).
- You can use third party services like TweetDeck that allow you to “mute” certain words. For example, if you “mute” Kardashian, then ANY tweets that contain that name will be filtered out of your stream. This is especially handy for blocking MLM tweets, and cutting through the clutter during election season.
- Looking to break into a professional circle on the platform? Then participate in a tweetchat, which is a conversation that is marked by a specific hashtag and scheduled in advance, much like an online cocktail hour. For more on Twitterchats, check out the next upcoming #MediaChat hosted by Aaron Kilby.
As always, if you see a feature on the platform, or have questions about this or any of my other Web Wednesday posts, feel free to leave them in the comments below or reach out to me directly. In fact, you can Direct Message me on Twitter right now!
To see some of the handy blogging tools I keep close by when I go out in the field, check out this collection on my Kit.com profile!
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