To Tweet or not to Tweet

By Twitter

To Tweet or not to Tweet. That is the question on every business owner’s mind today. Some businesses have jumped right in neck deep into the twitter tide, sink or swim, just going for the gusto. Others, sit on the edge with barely a pinkie toe submerged, terrified of this crazy wave of social media. I am constantly asked by small business owners, what the heck is Twitter? Most days, I just tell them, you won’t get it until you get in it. It’s that simple.

At a meeting on Monday, I sat next to a gentleman who owns his own company. I was very impressed with his use of Social Media to promote his business. He was telling me about his use of LinkedIn and Facebook to gain new clients and monitor his competition and then he said. “Twitter is stupid. You’ll never convince me otherwise.” My being a self proclaimed “Twevangelist” I was all set to give him an argument, when he continued. “But, the other day, I realized the power of Twitter. All I did was “retweet” one of my followers Tweets, and 20 minutes later my phone rang and it was a new customer who had been referred by that follower.”

This was his Twitter “Ah Ha” moment. My “Ah Ha” moment on Twitter came after about 3 months of tweeting, when I posted something about attending the Martha Stewart Blogging show in New York. Seconds later I got a direct message from the Food Channel asking me to do a guest blog post on the event. Since that time, there have been many, many “ah Ha” moments for me. Today, I am heading up to North Jersey to have lunch with nine other women entrepreneurs I have met on Twitter. This is the third “Tweetup” I have attended since jumping on Twitter last July.

For many of my clients, however, this still doesn’t explain the How. How the heck do I do it, this tweeting stuff? In Joel Comm’s excellent book, Twitter Power, he gives some great tips on the how in his chapter “The Art of the Tweet.” Comm breaks down the “types of tweets” into 5 categories:

The Classic Tweet: “This is what I’m doing now?”

The Opinion Tweet: “This is What I’m thinking now.”

The Mission Accomplished Tweet: “This is What I’ve just done now.”

The Entertainment Tweet: “I’m making you laugh now.”

The Question Tweet: “Can you help me do something now?”

These five examples are a great start for the novice Twitter user. As each individual wades deeper into the Twitter waters, they will discover their own unique voice and unique way of using Twitter to communicate with followers and to promote their brand. I tell my clients that to discover the true value of Twitter, you have to be persistent and you have to be patient. As one client put it to me “It’s like talking to yourself at first. No one responds and you feel a little silly. Then all of sudden, people start to follow, they start to respond back and pretty soon you’re getting it.”

Personally, I had no idea what to expect when I started Tweeting almost a year ago. But, being the “jump in” kind of gal I am, I dove in head first. To those businesses who are still sitting on the edge, undecided, watching everyone else take the plunge I say: Do some research. Read some case studies on how other companies are using Twitter. Come up with a plan and get wet.