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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Tweet like you mean business

One of the most sensible things I have read since I began tweeting was from a contact who said that you must use the same rules for social media as you do for real life. With that in mind it seems to me that when it comes to using Twitter the best tweeters are those who approach Twitter as you would a business meeting with a contact or a client.

In a professional, real-life meeting you are polite, you try to engage, ask questions, hold interest, listen and if you can, get someone’s attention for as long as possible so as to be able to get a message across or indeed receive one. This goes for B2B or when talking to a consumer and all the best businesspeople possess these skills.

But it seems like, on Twitter, these skills are lost for many. There is too much going on, too much flotsam and jetsam and to much inane information that means all the good stuff – the interesting, engaging tweets that swap ideas and thoughts – are lost in the white noise.

For Twitter to work as a proper channel of communication, the users have to think of what they are trying to get across. To spend the day on the mundane hides the real interesting links, the points of view or the news. As a journalist I knew I had to get the right news in a face-to-face meeting or over the phone, and I knew the best contacts were those who knew what to say, and when. Equally, a salesman knows they have to say the right thing in the right way to convince the right people to buy something.

Twitter is a channel for communication, pure and simple. It offers speed, accuracy and flexibility in what you can say and whom you can say it to. Texts are too personal, chat rooms are too specific audiences, emails not personal enough. Twitter fits inbetween all these. But it will only work if it’s used in the right way.

So for me, the best tweets are those that are treated like a remark to a contact or a client. They make me think, they ask me a question and some even make me laugh - but all the good ones say something I want to hear.

Lee Jones
Follow me on Twiiter @xpsocialmedia