How to Use Twitter Strategically

Dennis from Fort Lauderdale asks…

“So what’s the deal with twitter? I just don’t get it. I know how to use it, but I just don’t find it interesting, there’s too many posts to keep up with. I never managed to understand that app.”

First, Dennis, you are smart to ask. At this point in history, we humans can still pretend to be more insightful than computers. Smart phones, technology, social media, these are all means to an end to support our STRATEGY. So whether or not you need or want to use Twitter should start with the question…

“What do I want to achieve in real life that Twitter can help me achieve?”

If it’s “I want to keep up with what famous people and complete strangers are doing hourly around the globe,” you could easily just follow as many people as possible and settle in with your phone and a bowl of popcorn and start scrolling until your brain pops.

If it’s “I, as a human, want to see what the bots are up to these days.” Again, get the popcorn and start scrolling. Because if you thought it was confusing before, now it’s a lot of bots talking to bots. If someone has 100’s of thousands of tweets—it is most likely a robot algorithm tweeting links to trending news.

Twitter Strategy

But, there are some strategic ways that Twitter is effective to support a strategy, including building connections, finding a community or establishing your leadership around a certain topic.

You can do this by using #’s (hashtags) to search by subject, or just start with the @ sign in the search box and see what comes up. Separately you can Google “Brazilian Jazz on Twitter” and then go in and follow them.

For example, let’s say you are a DJ with an expertise in Brazilian music. Twitter can be a platform for you to find others around the globe with the same interests. You could tweet teasers of music you will play for an upcoming show to encourage people to listen in. You can connect locally to other businesses for a cross promotion. Offer the popular ice cream shop down the street a chance to give away a gift certificate to their shop on air.

Twitter is the ultimate equalizer—you can find and reach out to anyone. Again, if you have a strategy, that can be worthwhile.

Use Twitter to Establish your Expertise around a Topic

Twitter also can be a way to build a following around your expertise. Going back to the Brazilian Jazz—you can tweet snippets and insights about your knowledge, tweet links to upcoming shows in your area of related music, or even links to videos of artists performing. It’s sharing knowledge that you have accumulated over years, but it’s all new and exciting for others.

Using Twitter for Real World Results

For me, I have used it effectively to get speaking engagements about intercultural marketing, and, believe it or not, used it for a client to connect to a community of grandparenting bloggers. That strategy really paid off in book reviews for his book and he’s also now a columnist for GRANDMagazine, a national online grandparent magazine. Those were all connections made through a strategic use of Twitter.

Using Twitter to Follow Breaking News

Twitter can be a source for breaking news.  Because Twitter can be used by anyone, anywhere, big news events my start trending on Twitter first, before a major news outlet even hear about it. That was definitely true during the terrorist attack at the Ariani Grand concert in Manchester, or with the Syrian refugee crisis, where refugees were crying out to the public for help.

Just one word of caution (for me, not for you!) set a time before you start—one tweet links to one article and then there’s another interesting article in the sidebar and then you remember you were on Twitter and go back and start over and all of a sudden it’s been 45 minutes and….what was the question?

I hope this helps, Dennis, either to affirm that your gut was right and to appease any lingering anxiety that you somehow “should” be on Twitter, or to give you some knew ideas of how you might re-approach Twitter with a specific strategy in mind.

Need more help with digital marketing?

And, if you do decide to dive in on your own, here are some starters on “How Do I Know Who to Follow on Twitter? Or contact us now for professional help with strategy and tactics for your digital, intercultural and real world marketing needs.