Written by: Wendy on June 10, 2010 @ 10:01 pm
I’ve been a big convert when it comes to Twitter. When I first started using it a few years ago, I pretty much considered it to be noisy, random and self-involved. However, by implementing the use of a deck (I use Seesmic as a desktop app or even a web app) and setting up searches, I have found it to be an amazing tool for prospecting, discovery, building community to start, then culling it down to the things I find more interesting once the whole thing begins to take shape.
The difference between following Twitter on your profile vs. using a deck are vast. The deck puts the whole concept into 3-D, so if you aren’t using a deck, there are several available (FREE) online.
It’s not about how many followers you get.
Actually, I don’t exactly follow my followers. Rather I post and look for posts mostly by filtering tweets and mining hash tag niche categories. I’ve managed to make some really contextual and great interconnective contacts via Twitter, for both me and for my clients. It’s also kind of fun to follow up on certain topics and add to the conversation, despite the constraints of 140 characters. By using bit.ly links, it’s a great way to funnel people to an updated blog post, contest or a call-to-action—thus, building the overall community apart from Twitter. A more important guiding principle is to think out in advance, “is my message relevant to the audience I am cultivating?” Too many individual shout-out @replies and retweets can turn some people off, but not in all cases.
The wisdom of utilizing several Twitter profiles.
On the surface, this may seem like over-kill, but I have found that using a “curated” approach to Twitter can result in cultivating different types of audiences. For instance, I establish profiles for each of the niche businesses I work with, but then I will create an account to cover a larger group. So, if I’m doing the individual Twitter accounts for Business A and Business B, I will then establish a third account that covers both of them under the auspices of geography or common purpose. So, if Business A and Business B have small niche communities, but not a lot of cross-over potential, the third account can selectively retweet the content of both A & B but also speak to issues of that identity at large. The effect is a layering of content, that is simply repurposed out to different communities, but in the end is an exercise of creative redundancy that serves to get the message of A & B out in a contextual way to a larger audience than either of them have alone.
An interesting real-world example I use in this manner is KerrytownA2. I “curate” this Twitter feed by finding interesting news from businesses that are in the Kerrytown neighborhood. I take any information people send to me (client or not) and mix it up with my own observations. This has been a pretty lively account, and even though I have several other accounts I help to manage in the neighborhood: Monahan’s Seafood, Found, Al Dente Pasta, and many I help with informally, I use the KerrytownA2 feed as an amplifier because it is perceived to be more comprehensive and less niche than these individual businesses. It allows them exposure to an audience who may not discover them otherwise. However, let me stress that I don’t simply rebroadcast everything from these account to the KerrytownA2 account—rather, I pick and choose among the posts that I feel will be most relevant and varied to include in the Kerrytown feed. In the end though, it has shown some amazing results in fostering crossover and awareness for all the businesses who take part and choose to be involved.
A pet peeve.
I have found a lot of people send their tweets directly over to Facebook as a status update and simply repeat the exact same message out to both profiles as a form of “short cut.”
My opinion is that this sort of identical messaging is not only lazy thinking, but kind of insulting to members of your community, some of whom may be following you in BOTH places. It also indicates you are not on Facebook, so the ensuing conversation that takes place on your FB page is not even being monitored. I see this again and again by people who should know better.
In any case, social media profiles—be they on Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In, MySpace or whatever— should be distinctly separate. Each should have their own voice and purpose. This doesn’t necessarily mean one should craft different content for each profile, but rather they should utilize each network in an appropriate way that lines up with the overall goal. This could be as simple as not using the exact same headline.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to have an account simply for frivolity’s sake.
I was joking with a friend that having two Twitter accounts (one for personal and one for official purposes) reminds me a bit of The Mullet—”Business up front, party in the back.” This definitely rings true if you are inclined to be silly now and again, but don’t really want to be that frivolous on your business profile.
Case in point:
For the record, my business-related Twittter account (where I tend to be slightly more serious) is here.interconnectivity