I’ve been asked many times before, “What’s your favorite social media platform for business?”
Many people think that if you’re in business, LinkedIn is the only place to be, and while LinkedIn has its many benefits and is a strong contender in my social media platform, my answer may be surprising to you.
My favorite social media platform, hands down, is Twitter.
I know. I know. I hear it all the time. You’re thinking “What? Twitter? I just don’t get all that tweeting stuff. All it is is stuff about what everyone had for breakfast!”
That’s where I’d jump up and down, pointing my finger at you and shouting “Wrong!” Well, maybe not so much jumping up and down… And probably not shouting. (It’s not my style.) I have no idea why I’d point a finger either…
But you’re definitely wrong. Sorry!
As simple as the site is, Twitter is the most powerful tool in my social media arsenal.
The Best Social Media Platform for Business
When I found out in 2009 that I was soon to be unemployed, Twitter was where my job search took root. It was where I was first exposed to the power of hashtags to find and sort content being shared on the internet.
I was a bit nervous at first about using Twitter. Was everyone a scam artist?
Then, I came across Steve Keating (@LeadToday) on Twitter. For some reason, his simple reassurance in his bio that he wasn’t selling anything on Twitter, only giving back, set my heart at ease. I started engaging with him a bit, and enjoying his nonsensical animal trivia on Saturday mornings. It reminded me of a book my kids and I enjoyed called 365 Days of Nature and Discovery: Things to Do and Learn for the Whole Family.
Our shared interest in leadership topics led me to discover the Lead Change Group (@leadchange and #leadchange) shortly after their Leader UnPalooza in early 2010, which sounded like a lot of fun. I struck up a friendship with Mike Henry Sr. (@mikehenrysr), the founder of the group, which led me to discover and make connections with many of the founding members of the Lead Change Group.
I participated in the first Lead Change Round Table Mastermind group, which exposed me to other business owners who were crucial in helping me through the early hurdles of getting Aleweb Social Marketing established. Their support, encouragement, accountability, and love carried me through many bouts of fear, uncertainty and second-guessing.
Within my first year of using Twitter, I’d used it as a resource for:
- My job hunt
- Overcoming the isolation of unemployment
- Engaging with others around a shared passion (leadership)
- Establishing my business
Soon after, it became a means of establishing myself as a thought leader and speaker.
Then, I started to discover third-party tools that helped me even further. I’d already been a big fan of Hootsuite for a long time at that point. However, I started regularly using Bottlenose to find out what topics my extended network was currently discussing, and contributing there as appropriate. It’s “sonar-like” conversation mapping cut down my “listening” time immensely, allowing me to quickly and easily pinpoint the conversations I wanted to join. This was great for everyday conversation with the network or people I already knew and loved.
When I combined that with using InboxQ to find people asking questions in my areas of expertise, I was able to extend my network to individuals I didn’t know, but whom I could help.
Continuing conversations and participating in discussions that interested me “grew” my world, and helped me develop both personally and professionally.
One of my favorite talks that I give is called “To Tweet or Not to Tweet.” It explores whether Twitter is a useful business tool or a devious distraction. Believe it or not, the answer has as much to do with your personality as it does with how well you know how to use the site.
I can trace specific instances where interactions on Twitter have led to:
- Support in times of need
- Great conversations
- Lending assistance where others requested it
- New business
- Speaking, writing and collaboration opportunities
- Participating in, and being the featured guest for, TweetChats
- Interviews with influential people
- Guest posting on other blogs
- Opportunities to review books that interest me
- Connections that have become deep and lasting friendships
- New employees
- The ability to help a friend when an accident resulted in astronomical medical bills
Of course, all of those opportunities could come from real world connections and other social networks as well, but the convenience and ready accessibility of Twitter made it a natural place for me to grow. As relationships developed on Twitter, I selectively extended them into the real world via phone calls, Skype sessions and email exchanges.
Twitter has always been my best news source as well, especially during emergencies. While there can be a lot of misleading early information, the facts start to take shape fairly quickly from eyewitness accounts. Living near the Sandy Hook community and having both of my children’s schools “locked down” that day, I wanted to know everything that was happening, as distressing as it was. Yet, the media really didn’t seem to know much. People talking on Twitter, sharing information they’d gotten from people at the scene or en route to the scene, provided a much clearer understanding of the impact and significance of the events that day than the media was able to do at the time.
So, if you’re wondering whether Twitter is a useful tool or not, let me share one last example with you. The Lead Change Group mentioned above started out as a conversation on Twitter. A few people engaged in a conversation about what could be done to improve leadership today.
That conversation led to the formation of the community that centered around the idea that we needed more character-based leaders; people encouraged to lead from who they are, rather than their position in an organization or community. Together, those early adopters created a LinkedIn group, a vibrant hashtag, a mastermind group, a membership website, an influential leadership blog, a regular guest spot on SmartBrief on Leadership, a non-profit organization, and then to top it all off, we wrote a book together!
There’s no doubt that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the three legs of the stool that supports my business and career. However, Twitter has yielded more friendships, business contacts and opportunities for me than the other sites combined, which makes it both personally and professionally satisfying to me.
If you’re interested in ideas on how you can use Twitter, or other social networks, similarly, check out my book The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books. It will help you get started!
If you enjoyed this content, why not
subscribe to the blog so that you don’t miss out on future posts!
Latest posts by Tara R. Alemany (see all)
- 2017 Social Media Image Sizes Cheatsheet [Infographic] - March 23, 2017
- Podcasting Has Improved My Life - June 30, 2016
- Four Ways to Get Stellar Results When You’re Working With a Copywriter - May 25, 2016