Home > Social media, Twitter, Uncategorized > Some tips on making the most of Twitter

Some tips on making the most of Twitter

Several years ago, I watched with curiosity — and a bit of judgement — as Kevin Dugan pecked away at his iPhone during a talk by a local PR pro at a Cincinnati PRSA luncheon.

I was curious because Kevin has always been an early adopter, a cutting-edge “nerd” of high regard. His Strategic Public Relations blog is one of my favorites.

I was annoyed because of my ignorance. In my mind, he was checking and responding to e-mails on BlackBerry. How rude!

Thankfully, the curiosity won out over the judgmentalism.

“What are you doing?” I whispered. He replied: “It’s Twitter. Give it a try. You might think it’s stupid, but give it a try.”

Well, I went back to the office and signed up for a Twitter account on my PC. It didn’t make a lot of sense. It almost reminded me of those online chats I first observed when checking out that new thing called the Internet in the 1990’s. Or, to go back further, CB radio traffic. Endless streams of mindless babble.

Still, I pushed ahead. And, I’m glad I did. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way…

* Twitter is a great tool for connecting with passionate people, the real movers and shakers, the enthusiasts. You can join their communities, their tribes, and keep up on the latest. I’ve connected with leaders in public relations, social media marketing, cancer research, healthcare… my favorite band, and sports team. I’ve conversed with authors of books and leaders of organizations. I’ve kept up with what they are doing, what they’re writing, where they’re speaking… I’ve watched live streams of their talks, viewed videos of them sharing vital information, read what they’re reading, scanned through their PowerPoints…

* Twitter allows you to “attend” powerful conferences and meetups across the globe — from the comfort of your office, font porch… anywhere. By following hashtags such as #cincyprsa #nmcincy #cincysm locally, or hashtags set up by the many excellent professional gatherings taking place, I can watch as attendees tweet notes, photos, links to presentations… live from the events. I’ve learned a lot from events as far-flung as a bloggers’ confab in Indiana to an innovation conference in Texas. I make a point of following people who are speaking at or sharing from those events.

* You really do care about what some people are having for lunch. That’s the first thing that late adopters say to me about Twitter: Why would I care about what somebody’s having for lunch? The second: Why would I care about what Chad Ochocinco is doing? I usually respond that it all depends on your goal. If you are using Twitter for building your personal brand or expanding your network, you may care about where somebody has lunch or what their personal interests are. It really helps a lot to have that personal connection. You’re not cold-calling, you have some warmth there. You can build on your common bonds — maybe even the celebrities you choose to follow. By the way, I care a lot more about what Conan has to say than Chad.

* Listen and share more than you broadcast and promote. It’s about what you bring to the party, not what you take from it. Devote a third of your tweets to sharing helpful information, a third info that allows people to get to know you better, and a third to promoting your cause.

* Have thoughts of retweeting and saying Thank You in you mind when you sign on to Twitter. Give, and you shall receive.

* Get a smartphone and wireless laptop, maybe an iPad. Take them to conferences, professional association lunches and other places where information is shared — and broadcast highlights and photos to your followers. Look at yourself as an at-the-scene reporter, giving live reports.

* Follow reporters at your favorite news outlets. I get most of my news these day via Twitter. Most journalists share notes live, and then link to their full written report later. I especially like following the Cincinnati Reds beat reporter, who answers questions as a game is taking place.

Twitter celebrated its five-year birthday recently. I’m glad to have jumped on the tweet wagon early in its journey. How about you?

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  1. michellebeckham
    March 23, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Mike,

    Love this post and the way you began by describing your first exposure to Twitter via Kevin Dugan. I too can relate to the CB radio days: the ultimate teen chat room!!

    It’s hard to believe that five years have already passed since the Twitter revolution. I have met many people on Twitter who have gone on to become great friends and business colleagues. In fact, I believe that is how we first met!

  2. mikeboehmer57
    March 23, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Yes. I think we met via Twitter, then connected in person at New Media Cincinnati or possibly Cincinnati Social Media. It’s been an honor to speak to groups with you two times, also!

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