Why everyone with a small business should have at least two Twitter handles, if not more…
Years ago (about five minutes after Twitter launched) a brilliant colleague of mine at Harley-Davidson Motor Company directed me to get a Twitter handle and start tweeting. I didn’t. Well, I did get a handle but I didn’t tweet a syllable for years. Truthfully, I didn’t “get” Twitter at all. All I did in those early years was follow people – politicians, thought leaders, celebrities, authors, musicians, media outlets and the like. I followed people I admire and I even followed the “other” political party (it’s like getting a peek at their playbook!).
After five years on Twitter I began ever so occasionally to tweet because by this time I had a handful of personal followers. To this day, my original Twitter handle is used mainly as my personally customized news feed. This is why I consider Twitter the most underutilized tool on most people’s phones. Tweeting pithy, thought-provoking or eye catching tweets is only half of the Twitter appeal. The other half (the one few of us appreciate) is that Twitter is the most elegant and efficient way to gather highly personalized news and information related to your interests, passions and profession.
Today, I have three Twitter accounts, one for personal use, one for my coaching business (@rachelholley4) and one that targets a niche market I hope to explore in the future. My personal feed functions as my news source for everything from local breaking news to advice on building a small business. My professional feed gathers wisdom and inspiration and shares information in my field of personal coaching and family wellness. On my newly acquired niche handle I follow others who are active in my niche and for now I’m just collecting information. Everyone should have a Twitter handle targeting their private and professional needs.
Many handles, one goal
Twitter offers insights, in-depth coverage and of-the-minute updates on everything from news to politics and entertainment. Enjoy free access to media outlets you may not wish to pay for (think New York Times and Wall Street Journal or even obscure research journals) and a front row seat to breaking news. Recent tweets of an earthquake on the east coast reached New Yorkers on their feeds before the tremors hit their feet! If it’s happening right now you’ll find it on Twitter first.
Everyone should be following the leaders in their field, their competition and people whom they admire in their industry. Follow your competition on your personal feed. Put people you admire on your business (public) feed and share (retweet) their wisdom with your customers. Follow thought leaders and share the latest research or industry news. Explore new business channels on Twittter. Create your feed as a resource to others about your industry. Using customized handles and separating your personal and professional feeds allows you to stay on top of all areas of your life with an effortless news gathering tool.
Twitter as a research tool
Twitter can be used to conduct market research. My son took at AP Government course that required summer homework. The task was to follow political developments in seven different countries and write a one-page summary about each country before the first day of school. At the start of the summer he began following the assigned media outlets and throughout the summer he simply scrolled through his feed and sent relevant tweets to his email address. In August when he was ready to write, he used his emails to find the articles, conduct research and write his papers. Easy! Twitter is one of the easiest ways to conduct ongoing research in your industry. With a Twitter handle and an email address, you can amass guidance about everything from developing science and the latest trends in your market, to how to promote your business. Twitter is FILLED with experts who are willing to share their knowledge and you have only to follow them!
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