From the Beginning
More than ever, building and growing a business means becoming part of the social web. A powerful network of loyal fans means your message can be visible, heard, understood and spread with the speed and reach of the Internet.
How do you get a network like that?
I often call Twitter the world’s largest networking room, but that doesn’t do it justice. Networking rooms are physical and geographically limited. They can’t expand and contract in size. The people who visit the room are limited by those who can physically get to the location where the meeting and the room exists in space and time. And not every networking event collects the people who are interested in what we do.
Unlike that networking room, Twitter let us decide who is at our “networking event.”
8 Tips on Using Twitter to Build a Powerful Business Network
- Have one clear business message. Define yourself clearly as a business person. Use a photo. Write a professional bio. Name the metropolitan area you’re in. Link to a business site that tells more about you. Some folks link to a special page on their blog set up just for Twitter visitors. Add a unique background to further define yourself.
- Have a goal. If you want Twitter to be your relationship command center, you’ll set it up differently than if you want it to be your idea lab, your outlet store, or your customer service base. Think about that.
- Do the research. Check out how @DellOutlet , @ComcastCares , @TwelpForce , @AlyssaMilano , @WholeFoods , @SharnQuickBooks and others use Twitter to connect. You may not be as big as they are, but you can learn from their approach.
- Start small and listen. Visit Listorious.com
and TweepML to find lists of Twitter people who share your interests. Choose to follow a limited number a day. Get to know how they talk and what they talk about. When they follow you back, use that as opportunity to say hello to them in a unique and personal way.
- Talk when you have something that will add value to the conversation. Be helpful, not hypeful, just as you might be in person. Use the @ sign (@lizstrauss) to make sure your comment about a person or to a person gets to the person you’re mentioning.
- Start a Twitter list.
Lists draw attention to and from people. Each list can focus on one group of people. Check the lists that other folks make, see what their lists say about them. Have a core list strategy. Lists might include a handful of advisors, thought leaders in your industry, partners and vendors, key customers and clients, people in your home location.
- Decide early who you will follow – who you want at your networking event. Some folks follow only a few people and keep their followers limited to people in their business. Other folks look for input from a wider group.
- If you’re looking for clients, don’t just talk to the people who do what you do. It’s fun and safe to talk business with our peers, but the folks who hire us are the folks who don’t know how to do what we do.
Like any networking event, Twitter is filled with opportunities to meet people who want to do business. The difference is that some networking rooms are filled with people who have no business in common with us. On Twitter, we can reach out to folks who are interested in being at the same networking event as us.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
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