If I had to choose one social platform to grow my business, there is no question that Twitter would be it. The stories and experiences that have happened to me over the years on Twitter are just incredible. The number of people I was able to access is wild and the support Twitter has provided to my marketing efforts is simply unparalleled.
While Twitter does get a lot of attention, in my opinion, it is actually underrated as a business tool. Many entrepreneurs aren't using the site to its fullest potential.
That said, here are five commonly overlooked ways to get the most out of Twitter.
1. Use it as a search engine.
When you think of search engines, you probably think of Google, maybe Bing, maybe even Yahoo. If Twitter isn't on that list, well, you'd be wrong and you'd be leaving money on the table.
When you publish a website, Google takes time to index it before it appears in search results. With Twitter's search option, you get a real-time feed about the word or phrase you just searched.
There are endless examples of how to use this to your benefit. Search your company's name to see what people are saying about you. Search your competitor to see why people love them or hate them. Search a certain industry pain point and you can get access to a long stream of people who want a solution. Then you can use that list to do some marketing and let those people know about your product.
Many people view Twitter as a broadcast platform when in reality, it's the best listening platform the world has ever known.
2. Cultivate relationships.
There is something about the culture on Twitter that allows and even encourages outreach to people you can't access on networking sites like LinkedIn.
Whether it's a leader in your space, a potential partner, or your favorite celebrity, you can always access them on Twitter and begin a relationship; or at least get on their radar by tweeting and replying to them.
3. Learn about an investor before pitching them.
One of the biggest challenges that founders face is choosing investors. Many know that due diligence is part of the investment process. Investors have countless resources to learn about a company before investing. But where can a founder learn about an investor before taking their money?
Of course, they can speak to founders who already took money from that investor, but chances are that founder is not objective. After all, he took that person's money.
On Twitter, you can follow an investor and truly learn who they are as a person. What are their passions? What excites them? What are their values and their priorities? Again, use Twitter to listen, learn, and familiarize yourself with the person with whom you're about to form a deep business relationship.
4. Become familiar with journalists.
Public relations is a core part of your marketing strategy but to do good, effective PR, you need to learn what a journalist wants before you pitch them.
For example, does that journalist like to be pitched with a formal press release, or do they want an informal email? Are they OK being pitched on social media? What kind of stories really excite them? How difficult are they to pitch or are they accessible and waiting for stories? Follow the relevant journalists on Twitter and get to know them before trying to sell them on your company's news.
5. Let your personality shine.
To me, this is really where Twitter excels. You might be an introvert and you might have social anxiety when finding yourself in a big crowd. Twitter is the best town square or water cooler there is.
On Twitter, you can safely share your opinions on various topics and you can truly be yourself. While this may also apply to other social platforms, there is something about the character limit on Twitter that just makes it easy to share your opinion. The character limit combined with Twitter's etiquette just makes it easier to truly be you.
You can and should capitalize on this to let your potential partners know who you are and whom they're about to collaborate with. No reason not to let your true essence make an appearance, thereby giving past, present, and future a glimpse into who you really are as a person and a leader.
When building your marketing strategy, Twitter should most definitely be a big part of it.