I was so late to this bandwagon I wasn’t even sure it still had wheels anymore. Sure I “started” a twitter way back in 2009, but this included months, if not years of dry spells. I would even venture to say I didn’t really even understand the concept until mid-2014. Occasionally I would login, but a scrolling page of 140 characters just looked like a bunch of mush. Since then I really have taken a whole new approach. Along the way I may not have gained a ton of new “followers”, but I have meet lots of real people, created real connections and grown my business.
Meet Real People
Imagine sitting in an airport waiting to board an airplane to a city you have never been, with no one you know on the other end to greet you. Well that was me last October. I was waiting for a flight from MCI to LAX. I was heading to Los Angeles to attend Adobe MAX, i.e. the mecca of all creative conferences! I knew I would be traveling alone and I knew on the other end there would be many like-minded people, but I wasn’t totally sure how to connect with them.
In comes twitter. I send out a tweet in desperation, hoping for someone to answer back. I used what I thought would be the appropriate hashtag for the conference. And moments later to my complete surprise Rachel Blake answers!
Sure this could have ended a completely different way, but as a result I met Rachel in the airport at LAX. We shared a shuttle to our respective Hotels. And I had a buddy for the whole rest of the week. We sat next to each other in conference sessions, explored the city together and even shared some delicious meals.
Twitter can seem like a scary place full of words, photos and videos, but it is really full of people just waiting to make a connection.
Create Real Connections
Sometimes it can feel like you are talking to the air as you send out a tweet, but if you participate in conversations the results can be amazing. Follow someone you think is “awesome” and when they tweet something you agree with, have a question about or an opinion, hit reply and say something. Often participating leads into more meaningful conversations on other platforms.
Recently I was involved in my first twitter chat. For those of you who have never participated, groups of people are all on twitter at the exact same time using the same hashtag. Generally there is a host leading the conversation and asking questions or at minimum moderating the activity.
Several weeks ago I participated in #Ellechat. Not only was it a great opportunity to talk about a subject mater I was interested in (Freelance to Fulltime), but I was able to connect with other people in the same boat. Many of these tweets were followed up with email. One girl, another fellow blogger, ironically also named Rachel, I met during #Ellechat. She lives in Topeka, KS which is about an hour or so from where I am living. We were so close in fact that we decided we couldn’t miss the opportunity to connect so we are having coffee at the Roasterie this weekend!
Grow Your Business
Though Twitter hasn’t directly lead to paying customers… yet, it has led to many new followers of my blog, other social media and even friends. This past weekend, I had a chance to listen to Laurie Davis, eFlirt Expert talk about how to Grow Your Business through Twitter. She has grown her twitter following to over 15,100 completely organically and with zero dollars in marketing.
She recounted the early days of growing her business. She would spend hours “listening” in on people’s conversations about #dating. To spark interest she would reply back with dating advice. People were often taken off guard, but intrigued by the idea that she offered help.
One awesome customer service idea she has included into her business model is allowing any questions via direct message. If she can answer it in 3 DMs or less, the advice is free. Laurie even mentioned occasions where people would ask for advice in the middle of a date.
Which this brings up an excellent point… You must be timely. If someone messages you, tweets at you, comments, replies, etc. they are expecting a response ASAP. If social media is apart of your business model, monitoring it and responding also must be part of your model.
Start daring yourself to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Create rawness and always stay real. Give to grow. Big hearts create big brands. Do this by having an original voice. If someone follows you, instead of a thank you, create a unique response.
Are you looking for more than just a following? Reach out to brands or even reporters via twitter. Many of Laurie’s last minute interviews came because of her activity on twitter.
Feeling a little overwhelmed? Get out and just try it. Worst case there are crickets. Best case you meet real people, create real connections and grow your own business!