It goes without saying that if you’re not tweeting, you probably should be. If not to gain new clients, at least use Twitter to connect to your existing customers and keep them informed on what experts are buzzing about in your industry. I think that Twitter is one of the most crucial channels that a small business can leverage; it’s a powerhouse of information that you can also use to build your professional reputation.
So now that I’ve got my “Twitter spiel” out of the way, let’s talk about the objective of tweeting. It seems that the Holy Grail of social media is to gain new followers. This idea is reinforced by the countless number of random requests I get to “follow me, and I’ll follow you back.” Not to mention that people typically gauge Twitter success on whether or not an account has surpassed some magic number mark of followers (5K? 10K? 24M, if you’re Justin Bieber??). I’m going to set the record straight and say that the volume of followers should not be the benchmark of how effective your efforts are. A high amount of followers may be indicative of Twitter success but you should never believe that to be your chief goal; thinking so dangerously places the focus on quantity over quality.
So what is the REAL objective of Twitter and every other social media initiative? Brian Solis, principal of Altimeter Group and all around digital media aficionado sums it up nicely albeit too generally: you can measure your own Twitter success by your “ability to cause effect, change behavior, and drive measurable outcomes online.”
Basically you should be tweeting to create meaningful exchanges in the hopes of influencing the right people so that somewhere down the line, a potential customer will say: “Hey, this company knows what they’re talking about. They’ve been generous with their information; they’ve even contributed entertaining tweets sometimes, which makes them human. Everything that they’ve tweeted so far has proven that they are truly expert, professional and possess business integrity. I TRUST that what they’re offering will have value and I wholeheartedly want to work with them.”
Don’t get caught up in the mindset that the number of followers you have would be the cause to success, it’s actually the effect. So how can you be Twitter successful? Tweet something new, relevant and worth reading every day, actually talk to (not simply at) people on Twitter, express your business’s identity through your tweets, post fun images and re-tweet articles that you genuinely find compelling. Above everything else, enjoy tweeting. Banish the mindset that tweeting is a necessary chore. Don’t think of it as a grueling process to convert followers into customers but understand instead that it’s an exciting opportunity to connect and even influence the right people.