At its heart, Twitter is like attending a cocktail party – albeit one on the global scale with a seemingly endless capacity for attendees. However, most people who haven’t engaged with the medium are at a loss for why Twitter matters. I can’t tell you how many contacts – ranging from hip 20-somethings to Baby Boomers and beyond – have remarked “I don’t ‘get’ Twitter.” If you find yourself trying to explain the benefits of Twitter to Twitterphobes, you may want to explain the reasons why tweeting is worthwhile. Here are a few talking points for starters:
- Direct communication – Back in the day, individuals did business with other individuals. They shopped in the town where they lived, and they personally knew the shopkeepers. As business has become global, we’ve gotten away from that personal touch. Twitter, however, opens the door for businesses and consumers to interact directly again. One survey showed that customers choose Twitter as the medium for interacting with customers specifically because they receive answers and are treated like individuals.
- Personality – Twitter presents a great opportunity for creating awareness about your brand, product, or service. The less formal nature of Twitter lends itself to showing off a company’s personality through trivia and factoids, contests, and other messages that bring a face and personality to the brand.
- Cross-promotion – Through Twitter, you can link to any online item, from industry news and company-specific news to YouTube videos and product reviews. It’s a wonderful way to gather a myriad of information into one place and share it with your self-selected audience.
- Gathering information – Not only is Twitter an effective means of communicating to your audience and telling your story – it’s also a great way to gather information through a variety of sources. You can build lists that group people you’re following into one feed based on your labeling. You can also search all of Twitter via search.twitter.com to find out what people are saying about your company or competitors. Hashtags are a quick and easy way to see what people are saying about a specific topic or trend.
Of course, the most important takeaway to leave with Twitter newbies is to not get sidetracked by the medium. Yes, Twitter is a hip social media tool, but it’s merely that – a tool. Tools are merely instruments that are specialized to aid in the accomplishment of a task or goal, and in this case, that task is communicating effectively. By making the message the focus – not the method – you’ll be able to jump into the Twitter fray in a meaningful way.