There are two major benefits I have found in using twitter for business. Today we will talk about the first – connecting with people you would never ordinarily have access to or come across in your every day business life.
But first, what’s the point? As in, why do you even want to connect with people who might live in another state or country? The way I see it is that you want to connect with like-minded people. Regardless of where these people are in the world, you can share knowledge with them, you might be able to partner with them and they can also help you in spreading your message. I’ve even heard of people who have somewhere to stay in every state of Australia because they have formed meaningful connections via twitter. Note that I say they have made a meaningful connection via twitter. When it comes to building the actual relationship, this is best done elsewhere (ie email, phone etc)!
Well this is actually the easy part – no social networking tool is built for making an easy connection like twitter is. If you read my post on “twitter for business – who should I follow” hopefully you’re already following some key people in your industry, potential strategic partners, potential clients etc. There are a few ways you can connect with these people:
Say you work in finance and you see a tweet from kellyexeter that says “Can’t think why the RBA raised interests when inflation hasn’t gone up in 3 months“. You could reply by saying “@kellyexeter here’s an interesting article on the reasons for the latest interest rate rise: www.linkhere.com“. As you can see, if you want to reply to someone, you put the @ symbol in front of their twitter handle.
As Aaron Lee mentions in this post, re-tweeting something interesting makes two people happy: the person who you are re-tweeting, and your own followers with whom you have just shared something cool. The other happy benefit is that when you re-tweet someone, they notice you and will sometimes even say thanks. Connection made.
You can only direct message (DM) people who are following you but since many people in the twittersphere tend to automatically follow those who follow them this is not usually a problem (incidentally, I generally don’t recommend automatically following those who follow you). DMs are most appropriate if you want to share something initeresting with an individual, but not the whole twittersphere.
Regardless of the way you decide to connect, the number one rule to keep in mind is that any communication you do on twitter, whether it be replying, re-tweeting or direct messaging, should be 100% authentic. Don’t connect with someone just to get yourself on their radar. Connect because YOU have something to offer THEM. The best relationships are based on genuine communication and sharing.