How to Show The Value of Twitter In 2 Minutes or Less

2170597742_77181240ccTwitter is not a service that will appeal to everyone.  Allegedly 60% of Twitter users leave after the first month (although this doesn’t include those who switch to desktop apps like Tweetdeck).  I’d argue it’s because they only have Oprah and Ashton Kutcher showing them the ropes and need some better guidance; Twitter is intuitive to use but not to build a network or get the most value out of it.  Here are some simple steps to show someone the value of Twitter.

  1. Pick a topic the person is passionate about.
  2. Go to http://search.twitter.com and run a search on the term.
  3. Find an interesting tweet or post about the topic, and click through to the profile of the person who posted it.  If the profile looks interesting, follow that person.  Follow a few folks like this.
  4. Start a conversation, reply to one of the posts as if you had started a conversation in line at the supermarket.
  5. Look for someone sharing a useful website or blog post related to the topic, click through to the blog and consider subscribing to it.  Maybe reply to the author via comment or back on Twitter to let them know what you thought.
  6. Spend a few minutes in the conversation and see what happens.  Try again the next day.
  7. Repeat.

Within a few minutes you’ll likely get valuable content and conversation to you, relevant to a topic you are interested in.  You might even find a job listing.  I just tried this approach on 3 people – using photography, user experience and summer camp – and went 3 for 3 on “wows.”  New to Twitter? Let me know if this helps.  Twitter veteran? What else would you recommend to get someone started?

ps. Try “ball bearings” – you’ll find manufacturing suppliers, engineers, and people who like Fletch.

photo credit: 2create via Flickr

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  • Good stuff Adam. I did this with my girlfriend and glamour blogs. It’s an instant sale usually or at least one that happens in a few days.

    Haha…ball bearings…

  • Good stuff Adam. I did this with my girlfriend and glamour blogs. It’s an instant sale usually or at least one that happens in a few days.

    Haha…ball bearings…

  • Yes to #3…very true.

    I’ve been on Twitter since Dec. 08. I only started to really use it two weeks before I started my blog (http://sashahalima.com/blog/) so that would put it at late March/first week of April.

    #3 is something I did, because it just made sense to me, and it def. worked.

    I think Twitter is so much about sharing information and ideas. When you use it correctly and interact — you can get so much out of it.

    It’s not about how many followers you have, it’s about the quality of the communication that goes on between all of you collectively.

    That’s my two cents anyway 🙂

  • Yes to #3…very true.

    I’ve been on Twitter since Dec. 08. I only started to really use it two weeks before I started my blog (http://sashahalima.com/blog/) so that would put it at late March/first week of April.

    #3 is something I did, because it just made sense to me, and it def. worked.

    I think Twitter is so much about sharing information and ideas. When you use it correctly and interact — you can get so much out of it.

    It’s not about how many followers you have, it’s about the quality of the communication that goes on between all of you collectively.

    That’s my two cents anyway 🙂

  • Great points Adam, as always…

    @goodridge

  • Great points Adam, as always…

    @goodridge

  • One of my favourite tools when trying to find people of interest is http://tweepsearch.com. It searches Twitter bios for keywords. Have a passion for Golden Retrievers? Want to find others in your company on Twitter? Interested in wind power? You’ll turn up anyone who identifies so strongly with these things, they’ve put it in their bio.

  • One of my favourite tools when trying to find people of interest is http://tweepsearch.com. It searches Twitter bios for keywords. Have a passion for Golden Retrievers? Want to find others in your company on Twitter? Interested in wind power? You’ll turn up anyone who identifies so strongly with these things, they’ve put it in their bio.

  • Stuart – Same here, with my sister who is a budding photographer. Glad to hear it worked for you.

    Sasha – Welcome to Twitter, and glad you found this valuable. I couldn’t agree more that it’s about the quality of the dialogue and the conversation and not about numbers or gaming the system. If I see someone who is obviously doing that I don’t follow back. Thanks for the comment.

    Tyson – Thanks my man

    Adele – Great tip on searching for people by bio. I’m a big fan of tweepsearch.com too. Thanks for contributing.

  • adam

    Stuart – Same here, with my sister who is a budding photographer. Glad to hear it worked for you.

    Sasha – Welcome to Twitter, and glad you found this valuable. I couldn’t agree more that it’s about the quality of the dialogue and the conversation and not about numbers or gaming the system. If I see someone who is obviously doing that I don’t follow back. Thanks for the comment.

    Tyson – Thanks my man

    Adele – Great tip on searching for people by bio. I’m a big fan of tweepsearch.com too. Thanks for contributing.

  • Hello, I like the xample of ‘started a conversation in line at the supermarket. ‘ To encourage people to use twitter or any other social media online, I always try to find simple terms. Many people are still afraid or privacy issues and what they’re allowed to say or not while using this at work. In the charity I work for, we’ve decided to write some guidelines collectively so we’ll all know what’s most appropriate. For instance, adding to our profie on twitter: these are my views only and not of my employer.

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  • Hello, I like the xample of ‘started a conversation in line at the supermarket. ‘ To encourage people to use twitter or any other social media online, I always try to find simple terms. Many people are still afraid or privacy issues and what they’re allowed to say or not while using this at work. In the charity I work for, we’ve decided to write some guidelines collectively so we’ll all know what’s most appropriate. For instance, adding to our profie on twitter: these are my views only and not of my employer.

  • I really like this post Adam. Seems like very smart and sensible advice, and makes more sense than the “dive in head first and go nuts” approach I’ve seen more and more of lately.

  • I really like this post Adam. Seems like very smart and sensible advice, and makes more sense than the “dive in head first and go nuts” approach I’ve seen more and more of lately.

  • Adam,
    Great guidance, even for someone who’s been on Twitter awhile. I took your advice and searched on a couple of topics of interest and found quite a few new folks to follow.

    Twitter is about staying engaged and joining the conversation. Finding people who have common interests – both professional and personal – takes Twitter from a novelty that grows old quickly to a useful and powerful communications tool.

  • Adam,
    Great guidance, even for someone who’s been on Twitter awhile. I took your advice and searched on a couple of topics of interest and found quite a few new folks to follow.

    Twitter is about staying engaged and joining the conversation. Finding people who have common interests – both professional and personal – takes Twitter from a novelty that grows old quickly to a useful and powerful communications tool.

  • Stephanie – great point about Twitter conversations not always being ultra-formal. While there are guidelines people should follow, participating on Twitter should not be the equivalent of 140 character corporate memos.

    Beau, Michelle – Thanks very much for the feedback! Michelle, we’ve spoken about this before, but you are right on – Twitter can be a useful and powerful communications tool if used correctly.

  • adam

    Stephanie – great point about Twitter conversations not always being ultra-formal. While there are guidelines people should follow, participating on Twitter should not be the equivalent of 140 character corporate memos.

    Beau, Michelle – Thanks very much for the feedback! Michelle, we’ve spoken about this before, but you are right on – Twitter can be a useful and powerful communications tool if used correctly.

  • Todd

    Adam – great insight.
    As I told you yesterday, I’m just looking into this as a medium – I don’t keep eyes glued to any of the blogs etc on a daily basis.
    Go figure – yours has been the only one over the last year plus…

    I’m definitely going to use adele’s tip on tweepsearch.

  • Todd

    Adam – great insight.
    As I told you yesterday, I’m just looking into this as a medium – I don’t keep eyes glued to any of the blogs etc on a daily basis.
    Go figure – yours has been the only one over the last year plus…

    I’m definitely going to use adele’s tip on tweepsearch.

  • ellen hoenig

    great step by step approach to getting started with Twitter…its exactly how I got hooked myself-yet people ask me everyday about twitter and this is where I’ll point them to get started! Need to just keep following the interesting content…

  • ellen hoenig

    great step by step approach to getting started with Twitter…its exactly how I got hooked myself-yet people ask me everyday about twitter and this is where I’ll point them to get started! Need to just keep following the interesting content…

  • Excellent post for creatively using Twitter. We need more information like this. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Excellent post for creatively using Twitter. We need more information like this. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • @sethmsparks

    I’d contest the 1 month rule as well. I’ve noticed a lot of user’s activity drop after the first month, but watched it pick back up after another 30-60 days. I think in the old Twitter world of last year, when the search tools and examples were weaker, users needed more time to “get the water to boil”.

  • @sethmsparks

    I’d contest the 1 month rule as well. I’ve noticed a lot of user’s activity drop after the first month, but watched it pick back up after another 30-60 days. I think in the old Twitter world of last year, when the search tools and examples were weaker, users needed more time to “get the water to boil”.

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  • Do you frequently search for ball bearings?

  • Do you frequently search for ball bearings?

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  • Fantastic!!!

    I’m working with some book publishers on SM and this very useful to show the power of twitter!

  • Fantastic!!!

    I’m working with some book publishers on SM and this very useful to show the power of twitter!

  • Lisa Halpert

    Yes, a great help. A simple rule of thumb that we should remember when introducing anything new… “meet people where they are at.” Thanks for the reminder.

    Thanks Adam!

  • Lisa Halpert

    Yes, a great help. A simple rule of thumb that we should remember when introducing anything new… “meet people where they are at.” Thanks for the reminder.

    Thanks Adam!

  • Excellent approach, Adam. I also do this with brands to show them the importance of social media in customer service. The larger the brand, the greater the impact. I also encourage them to download the Summizer app if they have an iPhone and let the search run for a couple of days. It usually results in a follow-up discussion.

    @bradmays

  • Excellent approach, Adam. I also do this with brands to show them the importance of social media in customer service. The larger the brand, the greater the impact. I also encourage them to download the Summizer app if they have an iPhone and let the search run for a couple of days. It usually results in a follow-up discussion.

    @bradmays

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