I’ve been thinking lately about how tweeting has changed my work day routine. By some accounts, I’m probably a late starter to the world of Twitter. To others, I must have a lot of time on my hands if I can spend the day on that social network. And yet many still think tweeting is only done by birds. It’s amazing how much has changed in the last 6 months. When I joined Lexalytics two years ago, there wasn’t a marketing resource in the company. They had been working feverishly to enhance the technology. I was employee number 7 or 8 and it was a challenge to identify the core market for our software. Where were we going to fit and how was I going to present our software to the world? About the same time, the social media sites and social networks were finally emerging as reliable sources of information and opinions. What used to be a scratch-and-peck search process to uncover valuable market news and research was now more readily available through alerts and RSS feeds. And then there was talk of Twitter. What the *tweet* was it all about? It wasn’t until the Boston New Marketing Summit in 08 - now known as the Inbound Marketing Summit - when fascinating communicators like Laura Fitton (@pistachio) and Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) simplified the tweeting process, that I started to get more serious about it. Mix in a little push from my PR firm’s social media champion Joel Richman (@xylem) and suddenly I was a twitter-er. I had actually been dabbling in Twitter with a network of TwitterMoms so I had some idea on the social aspect, but not the power of the business aspect. Now that I’ve been tweeting a bit longer, and do still wonder “Who really cares what I tweet?”, I thought I would at least outline how it has changed my everyday work day and the value I see out of joining the world of Twitter. Believe it or not, I do see an efficiency factor to it all. Sort of like the introduction of call waiting to the phone. Remember? Before it existed we’d get busy signals and have to try calling back, over and over again. How did we ever get anything done at work? I also discovered the following along the way:
- Community Mind Share: I’m still a firm believer that face-to-face interactions are irreplaceable, but it’s hard to ignore the power of a platform where you can jump into a community and engage with people through a variety of opinions, reactions, questions, answers and statements. I don’t know if I believe having a million followers makes you a better member on Twitter, but I do know that interacting with your community however big or small, opens up an incredible mind share. 140 characters can lead you a world of knowledge - either in text, video or pictures. Join in!! All it took was following two or three people on Twitter, and I would scan their following lists and grow from there. Pretty simple.
- Networking Opportunities: Where are you going to be tonight? Unless you were on the VIP email distribution list, it was often hard to know where folks were gathering, and what they may be discussing. Thanks to TweetUps and other networking announcements, it’s easier and more efficient to plan your calendar and join in that face-to-face mind share that still exists. In our area, @BostonTweetUp has been a fantastic source. But sometimes it’s just one person, like @BobbieC tweeting about her Mass Innovation Nights (@MassInno) that can get you hooked.
- Faster Research and News: Breaking News! While some items must still be taken with a grain of salt, most of the published blog posts and news stories linked through the 140 character tweets offer insightful information and resources. And, they are arriving at my desktop faster than ever before. Want to get quick tips to Tweeting? You got it. How about new product releases or beta sites in your industry? Done. Want to interact with journalists or breaking news agencies? You can do that, too. Traditional news sources such as CNN (in case you hadn’t heard) are on Twitter @cnnbrk and more innovative sources like @mashable are there, too. Take your pick.
- Lead Generation: Seriously. You can find leads on Twitter. I swear. And not by being a spam-tweeter shouting about your super-biotic health pills, but by actually engaging in conversations. About anything. Sometimes that random common thread turns into a potential lead. ROI has been a big topic, but I think if companies would sit back and think how long it used to take for the “perfect marketing collateral” to hit a prospects mailbox, snail or electronic, read, reply (maybe) and engage - well, you get the point. What do you lose by talking - about work, weather, traffic or food (Jeff Cutler (@jeffcutler) can attest to the interest in a picture of a breakfast plate)? You just never know who’s listening (or watching)!
- Honest Inspiration: The world is a pretty gloomy place these days. Sorry to be the one to tell you. Bad news swirls the local and network news every night. I’ve found on Twitter I’m inspired by stories of hope, charity, laughter and encouragement. I have never logged off thinking “Wow. Twitter was a bummer today.” And I believe having a positive outlook, all around, can only help motivate you in the workplace.
I gain knowledge, insight and inspiration from many different tweeters every day, all of whom I’d love to send your way. But instead, just check out your favorite person’s following list and discover some on your own. And while I try to focus on learning more about work-related information during the 9 to 5, there’s always a little time to play. I mean it is only 140 characters - and I do work from home - so it’s my virtual water cooler to talk about American Idol or the funny at-home-mishap. Now, time to get back to tweeting! And if you’re curious, you can find me at @christinelexa or our company at @lexalytics