8 Unique Benefits of Twitter and 6 Tips on How to Leverage Its Value
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Over in Facebook Land, I often see people disparage Twitter.
They say they don?t know how to use it.
They don?t know what it?s good for.
They ?have one? but never tweet.
I understand. Twitter is not for everyone. But in this article, I?d like to show you how Twitter is different from Facebook, how to leverage its unique value, and tips for how to grow a following on Twitter.
First a social media emoji-thon where I try to describe how each social network is different in 8 words or less:
? Instagram is the coffeehouse of visual documentarians
? Snapchat is the underground of augmented tweens
??????? Facebook is where 3?4 generations of family gather
? Pinterest is the poster child of the web
? Reddit is the unfiltered digital human brain
? LinkedIn is the perpetual professional networking event
? Google Plus is ?
? Twitter is the dark horse of social media.
Twitter is an enigma.
It?s not as clean cut or as universal as its peers.
There?s a tribal hivemindedness to it. An untetheredness.
But this is what makes it extremely valuable.
8 Unique Benefits of Twitter
Here?s how I?ve found Twitter to be a critical part of my life, work, and leisure.
- Current trends down to the second ? When I want to know what?s going on in the world right now, I go to Twitter for the latest. The same thing happens on Facebook ?a day later. Or the news that night. It happens first ? live ? on Twitter.
- Decentralized news ? Instead of getting all my news from one source, I get a balanced inflow from many sources, big and small. On Facebook, friends share news when it?s important to them, and it?s always colored with their input. On Twitter, people share news more often because it?s just important news to know. And they believe word should get out.
- Networking ? I can?t begin to describe how helpful Twitter has been for me in this area: to connect with creators, readers, experts, bloggers, and colleagues. It?s an open platform, so you can reach out to anyone (it?s up to them to engage). The ?character limit? makes introductions brief and efficient. And it?s fast. Facebook and LinkedIn require more thought and drip with professionalism or over-personalization.
- Access to big names ? Continuing with another benefit of an open network, how cool is it to get quoted or retweeted by celebrities, huge corporations, and influential leaders? Of all the online platforms, I?ve seen more engagement between the small people and the big names on Twitter. It?s special when it happens.
- Opportunities ? Twitter has led to cash-paying gigs for me. If you?re in the blogging world, Twitter is a must. After I send an email, I?ll follow up with a tweet. This second touch helps oil the gears of a sale or negotiation. Also, people announce jobs all the time on Twitter. And you can follow companies you want to work with so that you?re the first to know.
- Hashtag communities ? The hashtag was born on Twitter. It?s one of the greatest inventions for organizing information. Whether it?s an event, sport, meme, or journey, a hashtag brings people together. I use the search function to see the trending hashtags, which gives me a delicious palate of news, events, movements, and just straight up shenanigans. Speaking of?
- Humor ? I?m not sure where they come from or who these people are, but the Internet?s comedians write their best jokes on Twitter. Their material: news and pop culture. It?s a reminder that as the world wins or falls apart, we can always make each other laugh. #ReplaceAMovieTitleWithGoat
- Melting pot of culture ? Twitter is definitely a mixed bag of pearls, warts, gems, and stones. When I sign on, I see people on every side of every issue voicing their unabated, raw opinions. And yes, Twitter?s gotten in trouble for this. But I don?t want to throw the baby out with the bath water. We all have our good sides and our bad sides. For what it?s worth, I believe Twitter does a good job of painting an accurate picture of the world, unlike Instagram, where everyone?s life is a gorgeous adventure with pretty friends and perfect plates of food.
6 Quick Tips to Help You Do Well on Twitter
I don?t profess to be a master or expert of Twitter at all, but I?ve observed these best practices on Twitter over the years.
- Don?t give a rip about how many followers you have or don?t have. It?s not an accurate nor holistic reflection of who you are and the value you create.
- Your bio matters. Give people an idea of why they should follow you. What?s unique about you? What do you really care about? What do you do?
- Tweet at least a couple times a day and remember it takes time to grow a following. Try to be helpful more than clever starting out (it?s easier to perceive authenticity this way). If you?re a blogger, speaker, leader, maker, photographer, musician, tweet about your creations and whereabouts.
- Tag people, accounts, businesses, and relevant hashtags to tap into related audiences. For example, if you?re a startup founder in Washington DC, use the hashtag #DCTech to launch your new product. Or, another example, if you?re a founder in Phoenix, check out the #yesphx community. Make sure you stick around, engage, and don?t just spam people.
- Find your tribe. I know the feeling of tweeting into the Twitterverse and finding not a soul cares. But don?t give up. I have three friends that like and reply to almost every one of my tweets, and I do the same for them.
- Tweet what interests you. Dharmesh Shah, co-founder of Hubspot and writer at onstartups.com, has 295k followers. He said he started on Twitter by tweeting articles he wanted to read later. It was essentially his public journal of things to read. Turns out a lot of people wanted to read them too.
If I had to leave you with one word association for Twitter, it would be: light (as in, the opposite of heavy).
Compared to the other social platforms, Twitter is the place to write lightly.
Quick snips, first thoughts, condensed ponder-journeys, and announcements. All the other social platforms carry a sense of protocol or ?this is what works best here? ? Twitter?s different. Everything works, which could be the same as saying nothing works. Perhaps that?s the fun of it and we?re all still figuring it out. But, hey, don?t take things too seriously, right @realDonaldTrump?
I hope this helped clarify some of Twitter?s value to folks on the fence. This is definitely just from my experience and I?m sure others have different impressions or uses of Twitter. So I?m curious: what do you use Twitter for? How has it been beneficial to you? What?s your best tip for how to succeed on Twitter? Leave your thoughts in a response below.