One Word… Excuses. (Insert laundry list of “reasons why twitter won’t work for my business” here.)

We all make excuses for the things we don’t want to do. We justify not doing things that are hard or require us to give something of ourselves so that we can instead do the things that are easy and allow us to consume. We are products of the consumer culture and it has trained us to look at the world around us in terms of what can we take not what we can give.

Twitter is an enigma to many because they can’t understand why signing up for an account, following a bunch of people, and tweeting a few times a month about what they are eating for lunch or the great weather, doesn’t revolutionize their business. After this failed attempt they determine that Twitter is not for their business because… (Insert laundry list of “reasons why twitter won’t work for my business” here.)

I say that this is an excuse because the channel (Twitter) is being blamed for bad strategy (being selfish). Social media and to a larger degree Twitter, because of its format, is about relationships. Its not called “Social” media for nothing. Relationships take work and they are as much about giving as they are receiving.

My advice to you is think of Twitter like a cocktail party or networking event. When you signed up for your account you walked into a large room full of strangers. Now is not the time to be shy. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the location – Follow a lot of people to see how others use Twitter to communicate, you can always unfollow them later if you find they aren’t interesting to you.
  2. Stick with people you know at first – Following people that you know and can easily communicate with will make your time spent on twitter meaningful and will help it to become a regular part of the way you communicate, think about how you got started with email
  3. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself – If you see a conversation that you can add value to don’t be afraid to reach out to that person. A quick @ mention could be the start to a meaningful connection
  4. Don’t be that guy – You know that guy, the one who has something to sell everytime he sees you. Remember relationships first.

Don’t be shy and if you want someone to introduce you to others at the party follow me @timzack.

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