What is the practical use of Twitter in business? Even if you accept it does have a business case, how do you use it? And what if you use it – how do you capitalise on it? These are regular questions business people ask about Twitter. Essentially business owners and executives are wondering what the point of Twitter is for business and if they see the point they want to know how on earth you use it and make money from it.
One rather brilliant example of how to use Twitter came during a talk I gave recently at a breakfast meeting of the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce. Indeed, one person in the room gave a complete masterclass in how to use Twitter to significant effect. Nigel Morgan, a public relations expert who runs Morgan PR, sent several “tweets” while I was talking. Indeed he started his Tweeting before I began to speak.
The day before my talk Nigel sent a message on Twitter (a “Tweet”) which read:
Off to see @grahamjones in Henley tomorrow morning talking about Twitter at a Hotel du Vin, should be a good breakfast!
There are four key elements to this message.
- It demonstrates what Nigel is doing, informing his clients who follow him on Twitter that he is keeping up-to-date on the latest information on a key topic. It shows he is continuing to learn and thereby shows his clients and prospects he is developing his business knowledge and expertise. That helps build trust.
- The message also shows his location during the next morning. This helps his clients and prospects know that “tomorrow morning” probably will not be a good time to call, as he will be out. It also shows that if they wish to set up a meeting with him, he’ll easily be able to see them in Henley.
- This Tweet also uses the “@grahamjones” tag. This is my Twitter name and it connects Nigel’s Tweet to my account. This means his followers can see me, my Tweets and can, if they wish, follow me as well.
- Finally the message above sent by Nigel uses a business name “Hotel du Vin”. If they are “on the ball” they will know he has used their name and they will be able to connect with Nigel for a bit of customer relationship building.
One sentence of a mere 119 characters (Nigel had space to say more if he wanted) which is packed with information. Who said the Twitter message length of a maximum of 140 characters was limiting?
But this message was a whole 24 hours before I started to speak. During my talk Nigel was a prolific Tweeter. A couple of people in the room sent a single message about my talk (thankfully both positive…!), but Nigel sent 17 Tweets during my 20 minute presentation. In fact, when you follow his Tweets you’ll be able to get an excellent overview of my complete talk.
What did all this activity achieve for Nigel – and for me? Firstly, it brought my talk much greater attention. Several of Nigel’s Tweets about my talk were “re-tweeted” by some of Nigel’s followers. The result is that my talk – instead of being to 40 people at a business breakfast – was brought to the attention of a total of more than 8,000 people. In other words, Nigel’s Tweeting activity brought me lots more attention and the result was that my normal daily increase in followers was doubled. Twice as many people decided to follow me in the hour after Nigel’s Tweets as would happen on a single day. Clearly, getting other people to Tweet about what you are doing has value in bringing you more attention, publicity and followers (people who wish to remain connected with you).
The Tweeting activity which Nigel was doing also brought publicity for someone who was not even in the room. One person, who read one of Nigel’s Tweets was personal branding expert, Lesley Everett. She replied to one of Nigel’s Tweets saying:
@Nigel_Morgan Make sure Graham mentions how important Twitter is for your personal brand and say Hi!
During the interactive part of my talk, Nigel mentioned this Tweet. I was then able to provide a comment and give publicity to Lesley’s expertise and business. Remember, the power of word of mouth. Furthermore, this connected Nigel and Lesley who is now writing a guest post on Nigel’s website on the value of personal branding in public relations. That will bring extra traffic to Nigel’s site and provide a useful link to Lesley’s website too. One Tweet and several benefits:
- Publicity for Lesley Everett and her expertise on personal branding
- Further benefits for two websites
- A new business connection between Nigel and Lesley which could yield even more benefits
- Plus…my talk on Twitter was publicised to Lesley’s followers on Twitter as well.
So, in a single 20-minute session with Twitter what actual benefits have been received?
- My expertise was made known to 8,000 people, instead of the 40 I was talking with
- My Twitter account received a significant boost in followers, enhancing my future business promotion
- Nigel’s business development and learning was made known to all of his customers, building trust and credibility amongst them
- A new business relationship was created between Nigel and Lesley, enabling both to gain web benefits through new sharing of content
Oh…and one other thing….someone contacted me after seeing all the Tweets and has asked me to provide consultancy work with them – for money…!
If you were in any doubt as to the value of Twitter, perhaps this example shows the ways in which it can easily bring benefits to your company. Of course, when you want to know exactly how Twitter can help your business call me and we can discuss how my strategy consultancy will boost your company via Twitter.