What Twitter Isn’t

I love Twitter, and if you follow me over there (@VirtualCheetah) you know that I am pretty active on it. I’ve been using it happily since 2009 and have only questioned ever leaving it once do to some weird issues, that weren’t necessarily Twitter’s fault. (I’d like to point out that I have pulled the plug on Facebook more than once, and still wonder if it may be overrated in certain situations).

(I hear gasps.)

In the small business world, the term “Social Media” has become fashionable:

“Do we have a social media plan?”  “Who is your social media consultant?”  “You need to hire a firm to handle your social media needs.”

You may need to hire out if you are a huge company. But let’s talk Twitter in a small business world for a minute.

I’ve read testimonials on social media service providers websites that cater to small business that say along the lines of “In a week I doubled my followers”, and, “My Twitter followers have grown so much since using ______ , I never would have been able to do it on my own.” Yes, these are on the websites of real, legitimate self-proclaimed social media gurus who can make all of your problems go away if you just hire them. If you actually go to their Twitter sites, you will find a few things in common with most of them: they have a million billion followers and zero, (or close to zero) interaction. OR they have only tweeted 150 times, all self promo links.

Twitter is not a place to set up shop, get as many followers as you possibly can and sit back and watch all the dollars and website hits roll in. I’m sorry. It doesn’t work that way. Unless you are a celebrity, or do some crazy-ass networking and speaking, or have a bigger-than-small business there is no way you have 100,000 Twitter followers without paying for them somewhere. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news: but if you’ve paid for your Twitter followers, most of them aren’t real. You are doing it wrong.

Twitter is an amazing venue to reach out, put your business on the map, connect with potential clients, connect with current clients and engage with people on a real life level. Real life to me means not talking about yourself all the time (tweeting all about your business via only blog posts and posts from other networking sites), but having conversations about real life things with real life people, reaching out (and putting a small amount out there about your business). You should be networking and connecting way more than posting links.

If people enjoy connecting with you as a person, realize you are the real deal and not just a bot they WILL click your links. They will want to know more. They will refer people. You will be someone people can trust, enjoy talking to, and they will reach out to you with questions or opportunities in your industry.

Look at it as one big-ass 24/7 networking opportunity. At a real life networking event would you talk to a robot in the corner that talked about himself repetitively and never ever asked your name? Me either.

Twitter isn’t all about you and your number of followers. It’s about connection. If you are not making real connections, regardless of your follower count, it’s not going to work for you.

I always say, it’s better to have 500 authentic followers than 10,000 questionable ones.

Next week I will share how you can create an authentic Twitter following that works… without paying anyone.

Working smarter,