You know the look. That blank stare you get when you mention something the other person hasn’t the slightest idea what it is. Mention Facebook and people warm up immediately. Mention Twitter and they freeze. Why is it that Twitter is so hard for people to get? Well, there is good reason why people don’t openly embrace Twitter, and I believe it has to do with a sense of “lack of control”. We live in a country where we try to be in control of almost everything from our careers to the people we marry (both of which are predetermined for millions of people elsewhere in the world).
Twitter is free and open to everyone. Therefore once you have an open account, everyone is free to follow you. Yet, the more people who follow you, the more beneficial it is to you. Depending on your goals for Twitter, having a large following is critical. Write a creative Bio, start following people in your target market, get involved in conversations, be helpful, and watch your followers grow. Don’t let this “lack of control” over who your followers are worry you. Yet, this is the #1 worry I get when talking to people.
Some people feel the content of what people are tweeting can adversely affect their product image or business. The answer is yes, it can. BUT people are going to tweet about their opinions, successes, and frustrations whether you are active on Twitter or not. Therefore, using Twitter to listen to customers, monitor conversations about competitor products or offer insightful comments can be very helpful to damage control and gaining a healthy grasp on what people need and want in products and services. There is ample opportunity to be active on Twitter to develop relationships with key people interested in what you have to say and sell.
There is a wonderful, yet complete lack of control over what and who gets Retweeted (RT) on Twitter. You can ask to be RT’d, but you can’t make anyone. Therefore, you are responsible for writing tweets that peek interest and stimulate emotions that will end up going viral through followers who feel compelled to RT what you have to say. It’s a wonderful way to reach new people and get the word out about something for which you are passionate. You’ll be surprised what grabs people’s attention and gets retweeted.
And of course, you have no control over what Google decides to grab from Twitter and display in its search results. Yet, Google seems to really like social networking content. Therefore, use this new found method of reaching people via Google to communicate, market, and meet new people. Whether someone walks in your front door, tweets with you on Twitter, or finds you via a Google search, your relationship with him/her is priceless. Don’t be afraid of your lack of control using Twitter. Embrace the possibilities.