When I first heard about Twitter—a tool for instantly broadcasting the minutiae of your day and following the trifles of others—I couldn’t imagine a bigger waste of time.
Why would anyone care about what I had for lunch, or whether someone was headed off to the gym? Why would any business person add more noise to the signal to noise ratio?
Or—thought I—maybe Twitter is the inevitable conclusion for a culture fascinated by fame, fed by sound bites, and forced to short attention by an overwhelming amount of data.
Well, as is often the case, Twitter is not the end of civilization as we know it; it may in fact be a glimpse into the future of communication. Because, at its heart, Twitter is ...view middle of the document...
And I’m not just talking about aggressive Web marketers who tweet every blog post they make and create links to all their online activities. (You can create clickable links in tweets, but they have no direct search engine benefits.)
Rather, there are professionals who are using Twitter as a communications tool. (Imagine that!) Here’s how you might use Twitter for business:
Follow industry leaders who post links to important resources and influence conversations
• Post questions for quick answers and answer others’ questions to establish your credibility and expertise
• Create links to your Web site or blog (don’t over do it!)
• Keep up on the buzz in your industry
• Network with like-minded people.
How to Find (The Right) People on Twitter
The Twitter search box will search matches in others’ profiles, but not in individual tweets. Here are a couple of 3rd party tools that allow for more advanced searches:
• Who Should I Follow?: Finds and suggests like-minded people based on your tweets.
• Summize: Allows you to search tweets for keywords and offers lots of customization tools.
How to Get People to Follow You
The more people who follow you on Twitter, the more influence and networking opportunities you have. Thus, it makes sense to try and build a following. Here are some ideas on getting others to follow you:
• Follow them. There’s an almost kneejerk reaction to follow people who follow you. However, there’s a backlash against people who follow just about everyone for the sole purpose of gaining followers. In short, be discriminating with whom you follow.
• Post some good tweets right before following someone else. I find...