Twitter has become one of the best resources online, read on and you’ll understand WHY it’s important to make it an effective tool.

I can remember joining TWITTER before it was even popular in 2007.  To be honest I didn’t get it.  Here I was basically talking to myself.  I mean, I didn’t really have any followers, and even if people followed me I didn’t want to be a random poster highlighting my breakfast choice.  Admittedly, I had originally dismissed this tool as “just another Facebook”, it seemed redundant so I abandoned it.

When I began working as a Technology Coordinator, I revisited this tool, and began peeling away how Twitter was unique and different.  I made a number of discoveries and was prematurely excited to share them with my colleagues, as I talked about Twitter I could see everyone’s eyes glaze over.  Since they didn’t use it themselves, they had a number of misconceptions of the tool, or frustration.  Every time the topic came up in conversation 3 basic questions or statements resonated from friends and colleagues… “I don’t get it”, “How does it work”, “I tried it, but don’t do anything with it”, “isn’t it just for famous people?.”   Becoming THEDIGITALPIXIE has really pushed me to ‘hone’ and ‘refine’ my Twitter skills and in the process, I have embraced one of my professional missions as helping to support others in understanding the WHY, because once you get it, everything else falls into place.

After organizing my thoughts around twitter, I came up with four main categories of the WHY behind Twitter
WHY:

  • To Find and Follow People
  • To Follow a topic
  • To Have Purposeful Conversation
  • To Connect and Network

Finding and Following People

By becoming connected with people you naturally network and learn through collaboration, here are some suggestions to get you started.
Follow your interests
: Follow your favorite leagues, teams, celebrities, writers, etc…  The key point here is to follow the people who share your passions, when you find individuals that you share a common interest with review their tweets and follow those individuals that are reputable.
Search Hashtags: Identify common #hashtags these individuals are interested in that you may be interested in, this will connect you with more individuals to follow.
Stay on top of trends: Identify the thought leaders in your industry and stay on top of trends by listening to what they’re saying, read what they post; follow who they follow; retweet their information; learn from their activity, and recognize their work by mentioning or using the @reply feature.

 

Following a topic

By following topics you will be abreast of changes and announcements before anyone, remember Twitter is NEWS and INFORMATION in real-time.
Stay on top of news or a topic by filtering your reading: Follow news-related accounts, or focus on a topic.  There are three strategies you can use, you can either follow people, add tweeters to a list, or search using a #hashtag.
Find local events in whatever region you are: By identifying the #HASHTAG of the area you are in and/or visiting, you can monitor peoples suggestions for places to go.  You may find new events, offers or places!
Stay Informed during Emergencies: Search for #hashtags and relevant accounts during emergency situations.

Have a Purposeful Conversation

Twitter is a large conversation, take advantage of thousands of potential people being able to see and engage with what you put out there into the Tweetverse, know that your content and dialogue represents you !
Participate in a Chat: Twitter has many online conversations being hosted using a common #hashtag.  Once you know the #hashtag and the time, you can participate by including the hashtag in your post.
Gain insights from customers and others in your industry:  Ask for feedback from your connections on ideas, products and services “FLOAT them via a Tweet”.
Generate ideas and dialogue: Whether it’s an article, case study, a post from another individual, or reactions to your own, use Twitter to dialogue and expand your thinking about a particular topic.
Lead conversations:  if you have something of value to share, share it, don’t do it too often and make it worthwhile for others.
Engage with your community: Try to drive more conversational in your Twitter posts, while content is important Twitters strength is it’s ability to engage multiple users at once around a topic.  Manage your conversation and engage your community.
Boost your reputation: Post your own content or curate others’ to build your own reputation in your chosen area.
Monitor Feedback and Solve problems – Monitor for problems with your company’s customers, and actively solve them.

Connect and Network

Get to know your virtual network of people, and connect with them online, and in person.
New business connections and role models: Get to know people at companies you want to work with, or respect.  Create content highlighting their work!
Get to know journalists that cover your field:  Stay abreast of what they are promoting, spark dialogue, or just lurk.
Research competitors: Some say to follow your competitors, I think it’s smarter to create a private list and monitor what they post, and who they engage.
Volunteer and Meetup: Twitter is a great platform to offer volunteer time and to meet up with others that are interested in the same topics and are located in the same area, consider tweeting during an event using your own #hashtag for others to follow !