What’s so good about Twitter anyway?

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Jay Dillon

Director of Strategy and Creative at Inbound Experts
Jay is a digital marketer and producer whose creative and technical skills have developed digital brand strategies and sales campaigns using a range of complex internet applications from stand-alone websites through to Facebook API integrations.
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Out of all the social media networks Twitter seems to be the dark horse. I regularly have discussions with people who just don’t get it and fail see any real benefit for sending short messages filled with hieroglyphics (#RT@DM) to complete strangers. I contend that when the time is taken to learn Twitters particular quirks, it has the potential to quickly become your central method for building business networks.

twitter

Twitter has a much higher learning curve compared to some of the other social media networks and to the uninitiated it isn’t quite as obvious how it all works. In many ways this barrier-to-entry is exactly what makes it so valuable.

I often tell people the best thing about Twitter is “Your mother isn’t using it”. What I mean by that is that the barrier-to-entry described above means the conversations on Twitter tend to be less about relationships between friends and family and more about views and opinions from those who have a particular passion on a subject. The subject matter is unlimited and can include business, marketing, sports, politics, movies etc. That’s what’s so good about Twitter.

No matter what your passion, Twitter is a fantastic place to network with others who share this passion.

Other key aspects of Twitter include:

• It’s uncluttered:  Twitter is a lot less cluttered than some of the other platforms and the way information is organised into streams means there is less time spent on navigating the interface and more time devoted to reading and sharing content posted by your Twitter community (the progressive rollout of Twitter ads and promotions is putting this benefit in danger, but it hasn’t seemed to impact negatively so far).

• It’s easy to search: The first step to getting started on Twitter is to find people (especially influential people) who share your interests and passion. Twitter has a range of ways to discover people and content that interests you (download our eBook at the bottom of this article to learn more).

• It’s fast: Twitter has similarities to SMS text messaging in the sense that it is super-quick to write and send a message. However in Twitter the message can be directed to the community generally, to those interested in a particular subject or just to an individual (publicly or privately). The mechanisms for achieving this take a little while to get the hang of but once you do it’s a breeze.

It’s restricted to 140 characters: Some might think that the messages you send being limited to 140 characters is a disadvantage but you will quickly realise that this is Twitters best feature. Being forced to write short, sharp concise messages will stop you from waffling and can actually make you a better writer.

It might feel like a right-pain  initially, but trust me it won’t take long until you can present a comprehensive book review of ‘War and Peace’ in just one sentence.

Of course the other side of this is that it stops other people from waffling on. See previous point.

• Third-party tools: Twitter have encouraged other developers to build platforms that tap into their messaging system. This has resulted in a seemingly limitless number of third-party applications that add an extra layer of interest, fun and insight into your use of Twitter.

Some highlights include:

• Hootsuite and Tweetdeck: For managing multiple Twitter (and other social media networks) accounts.

• Buffer: A quick way to share stuff you find on other websites scheduled throughout the day.

Hastagbattle: Not sure which hashtag to use in a post? Find the most popular of two in this super-quick free tool.

Tweriod: Find out the best times of the day to Tweet to your followers.

Vizify.com: This clever program can present your Twitter (and other social media) activities as an infographic or even a snazzy little video like this.

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