With everyone from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to Queen of Jordan Rania Al Abdullah to outspoken Virgin chairman and businessman Richard Branson now active on Twitter, the popular social-networking site can certainly help you keep up with the latest musings from actors, politicians, and business people.
Cisco partners and execs alike have said they find Twitter to be a useful business tool to help stay in touch with colleagues and customers, even amid rumors of Twitter’s growth slowing down. (The site still had its busiest usage day on January 12, 2010, so there’s no reason to quit tweeting anytime soon.)
Keep reading for our informal survey results and helpful Twitter tips.
Plenty of our partners have embraced Twitter, from Netarx to Nonstopnetworks to DataVox and Ingram Micro, and the list goes on and on. (At the end of this blog post, be sure to share your Twitter handle).
Our Informal Survey: Why Tweet?
We asked several Cisco_Channels followers what they find useful about Twitter, and we got a variety of responses from Tweeters around the world. Here’s a sample:
- Value of twitter--shared links, higher SEO ranks, article filing via RT for later reference, soc med industry knowledge (@deidrabodkin)
- Everyone’s here…customers, partners, competition. EO ranks, article filing via RT for later reference, soc med industry knowledge (@Pinx)
- i think its a kind of human nature. share something, need someone else’s opinions etc.We use social media to satisfy our egos. (@erkan_ozer)
- re:why tweet -- Real-time Search for and posting of useful / relevant info to your life, family, friends and business. (@nonstopnetworks)
- I tweet to convey my thoughts on what I do in life and as a tech guy. Also I value the insight of the community on twitter. (@bestone)
For those who haven’t yet jumped into Twitter, what’s the best way for you to get started? Here are some helpful tips.
1. Follow and search for interesting people to follow.
When you sign up for Twitter, you should start by following others who are important to you, whether industry leaders, important members of the press, or even other partners that are on the site. You can search for people and companies to follow by subject, name, or whatever sort of criteria you choose.
Listen to the conversation that’s already happening online without inserting your own agenda. Learn from the community, and what they’re writing about before jumping into the discussion.
3. Get tweeting.
When you do start reaching out and writing your own tweets, be chatty and personal, not stiff and formal—that just doesn’t work on Twitter, and especially when you only have 140 characters to work with. What should you tweet about? Consider what those you follow are tweeting about and follow suit: Post links to articles you find interesting, for example. Tweet about what you’re working on, ask a question, post helpful tips, where you are travelling to, or what issues you’re confronting in your work. Your followers will enjoy seeing a mix of information in your Twitter feed.
4. The art of the RT.
Tweeting is great, but “retweeting” or reposting a tweet you find useful, interesting, or insightful is a way to endear yourself to the community, gain followers, and make friends. Read this article on the Mashable site for more tips on the RT.
5. Use third-party apps.
You can tweet directly from Twitter in your browser, but for easier access and a good overview of what’s going on, try a tool like TweetDeck. TweetDeck aggregates all of your Twitter information in one place, lets you customize your columns to list those you follow, any direct mentions of you, and any direct messages. You can also set up a search to show you tweets that mention a specific word, such as “Cisco,” “VAR” your company’s name, or your own name. It’s a helpful way to stay on top of the vast flow of Twitter chatter while also allowing you to tweet or RT directly from the tool.
There are other tools as well. This list of the Top 5 Twitter apps lists other tools that can be useful, such as Brizzly and Seesmic.
6. Have fun.
This is the most important tip: have fun: Twitter can help your contacts and customers get to know you better, which will only improve your business relationships.
More Twitter Information and Resources
- Check out this video from Partner Velocity, where Will McInnes, Managing Director at social media strategy firm NixonMcInnes, explains the Eight Social Media Commandments.
- Visit the Partner Velocity site for more presentations that touch on how to best use social media.
- The Channels Buzz community lists Twitter tips and you can also post your questions here as well.
Do you have a Twitter account? Share your Twitter handle below in the comments along with your tips or questions.
Got an interesting idea for a story on this blog? Interesting people for us to interview? Topics you’d like to see? Pitch us: channelsblog at cisco.com.