Courtesy of Guest Blogger, Jessica Burde, Inbound Marketing Specialist. Click here to learn more.
Today I'd like to introduce you to one particular social media that is near and dear to my heart—Twitter.
I love Twitter. It's not the right social media for all businesses, but on a personal level it's my favorite. Why? Because I like talking with people, and that's what Twitter is all about.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a social media platform where everything is 140 characters or less. For reference, these two sentences are 138 characters long.
So everything on Twitter has to be about as long as that paragraph, or shorter. That's not a lot of room to say something, right?
It's not supposed to be.
Think about having a conversation with someone. I say something, you reply, I respond to your reply, and we keep going back and forth. In most discussions, those replies and responses are fairly short. We aren't making speeches at each other. One sentence, maybe two. Then it's the other person's turn.
That is the first and most important fact of Twitter. It's all about having conversations.
But People Never Reply to Me!
Let's take our conversation analogy a little further. Most conversations, you say something directly to someone, either your friend sitting next to you, a client in your office or a family member on the phone. Sometimes you'll be talking with two or three people, but what you say is almost always directed at specific people.
When you first get on Twitter, you don't have any friends there, or business clients, or family. You are surrounded by strangers like you would be standing in line at a grocery store.
Say a magazine catches your eye while you're standing in the check out aisle. If you randomly say something about the magazine, what's going to happen?
Well, some people might not hear you—they're focused on other things, and there is a lot going on. Some people will go “Huh, that's interesting” and remember it for later. Some people will turn to their friend standing next to them and ask, “Did you hear what that person said? Do you think they're right?” If what you said was really interesting, someone might respond to what you say and start a conversation. But most likely, you're going to feel like a fool standing there talking to yourself, with no idea who heard you or even cared.
A lot of people who are new to Twitter feel exactly that way—like they are just talking to themselves and foolish for it.
The people who would ignore you in the grocery store, or not hear you, are the people who either don't see your tweet or ignore it. They have other things on their minds, and their Twitter stream is pretty full. The people who think what you say is interesting and remember it for later are the ones who favorite your tweet. And the ones who start talking to someone else about what you said are the folks on Twitter who retweet you.
Like all analogies, this one isn't perfect, but it hits the main points. Including the most important one: If you keep going to the same grocery store at about the same time each day, you'll see a lot of the same people. If you keep saying interesting things (and responding when other people say interesting things), sooner or later the other people there will get to know you, and you can start having some real conversations.
So that’s Twitter in a nutshell. Standing in the grocery aisle trying to make conversations with total strangers, learning to recognize the regulars and drop-ins, until one day you aren’t strangers anymore, you’re friends and colleagues, hanging out and sharing the latest news.