I use this blog as my creative outlet. I like to write, I like to share, and I like connecting with people online. I don’t feel I’m a great writer but practice makes perfect and I like to do it, so it works for me. I also adore Internet marketing and while I don’t keep up with much of that world in my current lifestyle, I still like to dabble and experiment with things.
I know I’ve been talking about Twitter for a long time but it really is so awesome. It’s real time and while the Internet is extremely close to ‘real time’ it is not. It takes time to write stories, to publish them, for Google Reader (or your favorite RSS Reader) to find the published stories, and then for you to read them. Twitter is real time. You can use Twitter Search to find posts happening now. When Steve Jobs announced he was taking a leave of absence, people were reporting it on Twitter. When the plane crash-landed on the Hudson River, the first picture posted was on an iPhone to Twitter. I enjoy keeping up with my IRL friends as well as other people I have met online. I know that the conversation is going on NOW so I can contribute or ‘follow’ along.
Facebook is also joining the real time web. They have a live streaming feed of what your friends are doing in real time. You don’t have to refresh the page, it does it for you. Facebook also has a setting where you can be texted when certain friends update their status, comment on their wall, and receive friend requests.
The two services are similar but remarkably different. Facebook is developing ‘friendships’ and cultivating that relationship while Twitter is about following people with short conversations that encourage you to find out more. TwiTip recently posted a great article: Twitter vs Facebook – Which should you use?
I think you should use both.
So many of my IRL friends have side businesses, or even full time businesses that can benefit from these social relationships, or social media. If you are using it, great! But are you using it to further your business? It can be subtle but a great way to generate business. In these times, anything can help.
I recently went back to Facebook after ignoring it for a year. I ‘tweet’ quite a bit and I really didn’t need another social site to suck my time but people were talking about it, as they always do, and I decided to go back. I got sucked in. What can I say! But a few days after joining, I figured out how to sync my Twitter account and Blogcast my blog posts to Facebook which could possibly be annoying to people, but I’ve been rolling with it. Twitter doesn’t post any of the @ replies so it will only post my ‘true’ updates that are not directed to another person. Blogcast also doesn’t automatically post my blogs, which is good since I post a lot, but lets me pick and choose which ones to post to my wall in Facebook. That way I don’t over post to people.
Currently, Twitter is 3rd and Facebook is 4th for my list of referrals to my website. First is my old blog, then direct traffic, and then Google. When I post blogs that I want my ‘followers’ on Twitter or friends on Facebook to see, I post them up for people. Watching my traffic DOUBLE on those days is fun! Again, I’m not selling anything on this site, just experimenting and having fun. My other referrals are all from you guys sending me traffic from YOUR sites. These types of things always keep me thinking about my friends, your business, and how you can improve it.
Certain photographers and stationary designers need to be sending their beautiful photography & design blog posts to their Twitter account, Facebook account, and fan sites! How do you do that? TwitterFeed will do it automatically for you. If you don’t want to overwhelm your visitors and just do it yourself, you need to make it a priority. Boutique owners can be posting about monthly sales. Web designers can be tweeting about new site designs going up. Real estate agents can be sending out links to leases and good deals on homes. People selling items on Etsy and other places need to be dialed in as well. A good article about Growing your Business with Twitter can be found on CopyBlogger.
It really makes it better if your account is established and you seed these tweets in between your regular chatting. Yes, many of your friends know what you do. But are we thinking about it every time we talk to you? No. Are we interested when you do something awesome? YES! Tell us! We want to know! Just be careful to not overwhelm us, or be obnoxious…
With Twitter, it’s easy to RT (ReTweet) items quickly and that just gets things exposed to our friends and ‘followers’ and could possibly help your business. With Facebook, all that snooping pays off when we see conversations started or posted on our homepage or someones wall.
It might not be business related either. You just might make a new friend instead.
Online networking at its finest.
Facebook is a little more personal with many old friend and family keeping track of you. Your Facebook philosophy needs to be determined because, as I mentioned above, while Twitter and Facebook are similar they are very different.
I have always received questions about how to really ‘work’ Twitter. It does take awhile to get used to. You really need to reach out and find people. After following your friends, if you see them ‘talking’ to others, be sure to check out their profiles and see if you want to follow them and continue the conversation. You can reply to *anyone* even if you are not following them and vice versa. All you do is put an @ symbol and their user name and it will show up in their ‘Replies’ folder.
Twitter Search is also a great tool to search on your likes and interests to find fun people to follow. Small and large companies have twitter accounts and if you need help with anything, it’s great to search quickly to see if someone is monitoring the Twittersphere to help you. A few months ago ShirleyTipsy had a problem with a flower delivery from 1800Flowers, she spoke up, the company found it, and send her new flowers. Zappos is another example of a company who is in touch with the users of Twitter, offering discounts, coupons, and monitoring the conversation with clients.
There is also an RSS Feed that you can subscribe to with any search so you can monitor anything. Such as your name, company, or other interests. Add it to your Google Reader for the future.
If you haven’t yet joined Twitter or Facebook, do so and let me know. I adore my iPhone and it has TwitterFon and an awesome Facebook application to keep me ‘hooked in’.