*UPDATE: Please click here to read this post on my new blog and ensure your comments are included in the right place. I no longer check/update this WordPress.com blog.
We’re all looking for ways to become better professionals. From conferences and webinars to books and seminars, we spend good money and give precious time to glean insights from accomplished marketers. Those are great, of course, but what if I told you that you can get smarter for free with Twitter and 20 minutes or so a day.
(If you have a decent idea of what Twitter is already, go ahead and skip to the first way twitter can make you smarter.)
Twitter is a free micro-blogging service that allows you to share what you’re doing in 140 characters or less. You can follow friends, coworkers and people you’ve never met before who may share similar interests. And, they can follow you and your updates.
Here are five ways Twitter will make you better at whatever it is you do.
1. You get access to different points of views.
First, the value of your Twitter experience will depend largely on the people you follow. If you only follow people whose updates are always about where they’re eating lunch or the weird guy in line in front of them at McDonald’s, then you’re not going to get much out of it.
On the other hand, you can find and follow folks who sometimes “tweet” personal updates, but also share great thoughts on their industry or ask probing questions. I follow a lot of people in the marketing and social media business.
2. The people you follow point you to great resources you wouldn’t find otherwise.
You can only scan/read so many blogs. So what about all the great content out there you’re not finding, reading and retaining to get smarter?
Most of the people I follow “tweet” about great blog posts, white papers and books they find, along with a url to the site. I choose about five a day to click and read. So, every day, I’m pointed to great content I wouldn’t have found otherwise that’s been pre-screened by other smart marketing folks.
3. You can poll your followers.
Wondering what others in your field think about (insert topic here)? You can ask your followers and get responses directed back to you. I did this last week about an hour before going into a meeting to get others’ takes on a topic. (As you may imagine, the more followers you have, the more responses you get.)
4. You can learn what consumers are saying about your company or your client’s brand.
Want to get an idea of what others say about your company or your client’s brand when they’re among friends? Well, you can find out if either is being talked about on Twitter.
Check out Twitter Search. It’s like Google Search, but it only searches for your key words on Twitter’s network. If someone trashed your client’s new promotion on Twitter last week, you’ll see it. If someone raved about the new product yesterday in a “tweet,” you’ll see it. It provides some great insights into how others view your brand.
By the way, you don’t need a Twitter account to run a Twitter Search and see results. Whether you’re on Twitter or not, you should use it periodically to see what’s being said about your company or your client.
5. Twitter will make you a better writer.
T.S. Eliot once said “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” Writing succinctly is hard. Writing succinctly and clearly is even harder. Sharing your point of view and great blog posts you come across in 140 characters or less is a wonderful exercise in both.
As with all things, it’s better to give than to receive. Once you join Twitter, you’ll make others smarter by sharing your thoughts and great reads while building new professional relationships.
If you use Twitter, what have I left out? How has it made you smarter? If you don’t, give it a test drive. Follow me and I’ll follow you back. And we’ll get smarter together.
*Image from Twitter.com