This weekend I received a message on Twitter from someone who had heard me speak at her company’s convention, and decided to jump into social networking. (LOVE folks who take action!) The problem was, she signed up for a Twitter account, and didn’t know what to do next. And I can understand that. I signed up for a Twitter account MONTHS before I actually did anything with it. Since I didn’t know who to follow at the time, it was a little bit like talking into a wind tunnel…nobody was there!
So today I want to give you a few tips on getting started with Twitter, so you can get some value from it. Let me be very clear, however. If you are brand new to social networking, and want to use it for your direct selling business, Twitter is NOT the tool to start with. You should begin with Facebook, where many of your colleagues are experiencing a lot of success connecting with customers, prospects, and hostesses. If you’ve got your Facebook strategy where you want it, however, and are ready to add another tool, here are some tips for Twitter.
Who is on Twitter anyway?
In my experience, the crowd on Twitter is an entrepreneurial crowd, to a large degree. There are a LOT of people there trying to sell something. Those who actually understand effective Twitter use are using a content marketing approach. That means they are sharing links to a lot of free content. That is GREAT news for you, because it means that you can find a lot of information that can help you with your business. Just keep in mind as you consume this content that lots of folks there are hoping that if they’re valuable enough to you, you’ll consider doing business with them.
When you mindfully connect with people, you’ll find some great people to have conversations with. Some of these will be people just like you…entrepreneurs running businesses. There are also bloggers, authors, CEOs, speakers, etc. I’ve had the opportunity to connect with some REALLY smart and influential people that I would never have had the opportunity to connect with anywhere else.
How can I use Twitter for my business?
That’s the hundred thousand dollar question, isn’t it? Will Twitter work for your business? And the answer is, it depends. You really need to decide what the goals are for your social media marketing strategy, and then decide if the people that you want to reach are on Twitter. So if your goal is team building, then yes, you may actually find people who are good fits. But you must be very conscious of the fact that people on Twitter are on high alert when it comes to Network Marketers. Too many folks have spammed Twitter for far too long with their business opportunity messages, and therefore people run in the other direction when they see us coming.
Now this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bother. But you need to approach Twitter carefully, if you want it to work for you. Focus on connecting with people looking for opportunities. You can tell by searching on keywords such as “out of work” or “job.” By spending time building relationships with individuals, you may actually find people who become new recruits for your business. But if you think you can just post an ad about your business opportunity and people will come running, think again. It’s ALL about relationships.
Twitter for professional development
Another goal that Twitter can help you with is professional development. Remember all that content sharing going on that I told you about? Well there are a ton of folks out there sharing content directly related to running a home-based business. Now I want you to be careful if you plan to use Twitter for this. Because there are also tons of slightly-less-than-ethical folks out there too, who would sell you a bridge to help you build your business, if you know what I mean. But by focusing on people who have a demonstrated track record of ethics, and who are committed to providing you with value, you can find some really useful information on Twitter that can help you build your business.
Here are some of my favorite direct selling people who provide useful info on Twitter. Some of these folks are affiliated with individual companies, and some are independent trainers.
Oh, and you can always follow me at JenFongSpeaks. 🙂
If you follow these folks on Twitter, you will find consistently good information about running a direct selling business successfully. You should also be following your company, your company executives, and leaders within your organization. You can search for them here: Find People on Twitter
Taking advantage of the #dstips hashtag
Last thing: Many of the folks I list above share info about running a direct selling business using a “Hashtag.” This is a little code that is used on Twitter to identify posts about a specific topic, and all you need to do is search for the hashtag in order to find people talking about the topic. Hashtags always start with the # symbol.
In this case, the hashtag is #dstips. If you type #dstips in at http://search.twitter.com, you’ll see a lot of tips about how to run a direct sales business. Many of the tips are from the folks I list above. Now keep in mind, some folks do abuse this hashtag in order to get people looking for these tips to see their advertisement or opportunity. Just be cautious, and only use those tips that make the most sense for your business.
Twitter can be a great tool to connect with people. There are lots of folks talking at once, having conversations, sharing resources, and networking. By using good networking skills, and focusing on building relationships, you can get some great benefits from using Twitter. (Personally, I got my first speaking gig as a result of a conversation I had with someone on Twitter!) But it must be used strategically, as part of an overall plan, to get the best results.
Do you use Twitter? Has it helped your business? Would love to read your thoughts and tips in the comments!