Is Twitter for Everybody?


Is Twitter for everybody?

This is the question that eventually gets asked by every person and every company trying Twitter for the first time.  In the height of your initial frustrations, you may be wondering … is Twitter really for me?

Most social media hype-masters will tell you “yes.”   Indeed, there is probably some business use or benefit you could discover for everyone and every organization.

But after working with hundreds of students and professionals across diverse businesses, I’ve come to realize the answer is no — it’s not for everyone.

Here’s an example. One of my customers is a brilliant management consultant. An engineer by training, he does not come by marketing instinct naturally and asked me to help.

This is a customer who would be perfect for Twitter:

  • Small business-owner
  • Enormous, global market potential (needs a lot of awareness)
  • Small marketing budget
  • Selling differentiated personal services
  • No time to blog, develop extensive content, etc.
  • Tech-savvy
  • Is a charming, bright person with engaging personality.

And yet he WILL NOT TWEET.  I coaxed, cajoled, and threatened him. I’ve trained him patiently and even prescribed a daily Twitter regimen.  I demonstrated the power of the platform when I found him a potential new business contact on the very first day of our operation.  He didn’t follow-up and seems content with his tweet-free existence.

This may seem strange, but it isn’t uncommon.  I’ve found similar resistance from many people who can obviously benefit from this business tool. I asked my client ”why” and here is his answer:

“I’m not sure why really.  I guess the idle chatter (which is mostly what I seem to see when I log on)  just doesn’t make any sense to me.  There’s obviously some self-imposed barrier that I can’t or just don’t want to cross.  You were kind enough to introduce me to Twitter, and I appreciated that.  There’s the old expression about leading a horse to water.  Guess I’m just not that thirsty for Twitter water… at least yet.”

The Twitter Quitter

This type of reaction is not unusual. In fact I was a Twitter Quitter myself and had to really push through a few weeks of this non-intuitive communication platform before I started to understand it.

What is the difference between a Twitter-lover and hater?  Does success on Twitter lend itself to a certain personality type?  Some say it favors out-going people, yet introverts are quick to say that they love the platform as way to connect on their own terms and build quality relationships slowly. Maybe it has something to do with patience.  Perhaps it is being creeped out by the crowds or by having strangers “follow you.”

Honestly, I haven’t figured it out, but I do acknowledge the fact that some very intelligent and wonderful people just don’t like Twitter even when they can see the benefits.

What About Organizations?

Is there a business case for Twitter for every organization and company?  Like nearly every business question, the answer is, “It depends!”

Medical professionals, lawyers, financial managers, and defense contractors may have severe regulatory limitations on the information they can discuss in public.  Remember, Twitter is a form of publishing.

When it comes to business communications strategy, it really gets down to this: What are your business objectives?  What do you need to say?  Where do your customers get their information?

If your customers are not engaging in this platform you’re going to waste a big wad of time on Twitter and get frustrated.

But I want to suggest two big HOWEVER’s before you decide your business is not cut out for Twitter.

HOWEVER, you may not really know where your customers are getting their information, even if you think you do!  People are piling on to the social web in record numbers and are also spending an enormous amount of time there. In an always-connected world, the role of social media in the business and personal world is blurring.

Better check those customers again!

I have a client who resisted Twitter because she insisted that her customers had no interest in it.  I conducted some customer research for her — completely unrelated to Twitter — and discovered that “social media” was the number one marketing and business issue for the majority of her customers!  By getting in front of the curve and mastering Twitter before her customers were immersed in it, she capture a leadership position and guide them, become a valued subject matter expert, and even create new business opportunities for her company.

Now for HOWEVER number two — However, there are MANY other business benefits to Twitter beyond simply getting sales leads.  Even if your customers aren’t there in force, it is still an incredibly powerful way to learn, connect with thought leaders, and identify new business opportunities.

I have seen an incredible diversity of organizations thrive on Twitter, from pizza joints to florists, from mega-brands to my handyman (who I found on Twitter).  Colleges, hospitals, non-profits, shipping companies, government agencies, and utilities have all realized business gains from a Twitter presence.

There are just so many way to define success, create wealth, discover benefits, and even have fun with Twitter.  Clearly there can be benefits for anyone if they have the fortitude to stick with it.

How do you handle the Twitter Quitters in your organization?  Is it a matter of time or are you hitting a wall too?

Take the Mystery Out of Twitter!

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  • In the past, people, many of them actually, would express to me how they wished they could get in shape and then ask me what they should do. In this situation, that is probably much like someone coming and getting consulting from you…but not paying for it, I suppose 😉

    Early on, I would talk with some people, write out workout plans for others, run or lift weights with some, and so on. That’s like you making a marketing plan, doing research, training them, and maybe even doing some of the work with them.

    Only, I realized after a while that nearly every person that came to me with this initial question would not stick with exercising EVEN IF it was not in the form that I suggested, but rather something that was potentially more appealing to them. In this case, it’s probably like your well-intentioned client. He sees the value of Twitter (or other similar channels) and professes his interest, but can’t stick with it unless you’re there.

    As a result, the approach that I try to take is that I really have to see someone try before I can get involved. If someone has been a coach potato his whole life, decides he’s going to get in shape, goes out for a “run,” only makes it a block, and then goes out and does it again the next day even though it’s torture, that says a lot to me. If someone is willing to google how to set up a Twitter account, get confused, mess some things up, and still try to figure out what to make of it, they’ve already demonstrated that your time and their money will be well spent.

    Otherwise, it’s probably better if everyone involved just steps back and looks at this in terms of cost-benefit, risk versus reward, interest level, etc.

    Certainly as you say, there are cases where Twitter might not be right for a specific company, target market, or whatever else, but as far as individuals go, it really comes down to what they want to put in and what they want to get out.

  • I have tried with Twitter but I am the kind of person who will only say something when there is something useful to say.
    I use Twitter to pick up on useful information about my area of business (hotels) but I have to wade through hundreds of Tweets that are complete and utter rubbish before finding the occasional nugget.
    I only follow 46 people and this takes up a lot of my time so how anyone can follow hundreds or even thousands of people and still have time to “live” in the real world is beyond me.

  • Mark, very very timely post. I have been trying to cajole, threaten, and even bribe my brother (who runs a small business) to get on Twitter. “too much technology for this boy” is the answer. Keeping in mind he has a BB and updates his FB status more often than I tweet.
    Another very common excuse from him is also “I live in the real world with real relationships not virtual”. I think you are right, there is mental barrier (which I crossed years ago with FB) when it comes to Twitter.
    Some of us made the move when they saw Twitter feeds being used on CNN and other news channels (Egypt’s revolution was a great case study) but I would say most are simply ‘scarred’ they won’t understand how to use it properly and can’t be bothered learning.

    Well as I said before and I will say it again, read the Tao of Twitter. I found Twitter overwhelming at first, I remember opening Hootsuite and thinking WOW how am I am going to keep track of all this?
    Thanks for the guidance

  • Mark, very very timely post. I have been trying to cajole, threaten, and even bribe my brother (who runs a small business) to get on Twitter. “too much technology for this boy” is the answer. Keeping in mind he has a BB and updates his FB status more often than I tweet.
    Another very common excuse from him is also “I live in the real world with real relationships not virtual”. I think you are right, there is mental barrier (which I crossed years ago with FB) when it comes to Twitter.
    Some of us made the move when they saw Twitter feeds being used on CNN and other news channels (Egypt’s revolution was a great case study) but I would say most are simply ‘scarred’ they won’t understand how to use it properly and can’t be bothered learning.

    Well as I said before and I will say it again, read the Tao of Twitter. I found Twitter overwhelming at first, I remember opening Hootsuite and thinking WOW how am I am going to keep track of all this?
    Thanks for the guidance

  • Great post as always! I would think that people find Twitter ‘threatening’ because Twitter can be a little ‘unfriendly’ or little-to-do as compared to tools such as Facebook. A new user will perhaps get stuck after creating a Twitter account and like your customer mentioned.
    It takes time to understand Twitter and get the hang out of it (i’m glad i did) and it becomes a very powerful tool!

  • Great post as always! I would think that people find Twitter ‘threatening’ because Twitter can be a little ‘unfriendly’ or little-to-do as compared to tools such as Facebook. A new user will perhaps get stuck after creating a Twitter account and like your customer mentioned.
    It takes time to understand Twitter and get the hang out of it (i’m glad i did) and it becomes a very powerful tool!

  • I personally love Twitter, but it is not for everyone. I find the ones that give up did not really want to be there in the first place.

    There are always going to be those who should not be on Twitter at all. I have a boss who would do poorly on Twitter – he has very little personality and that needs to come through. I think the most important thing is to be consistent. Not much can happen if you only Tweet once in a while.

    Ironically, I set up a Twitter account in February of last year. I used it a little, but liked Facebook better. So I had the same problem. I overcame it by observing rather than just diving in. That method of listening rather than speaking right off the bat, helped my reluctance.

    As far as mindless chatter goes – who are they following? i rarely have mindless chatter in my feed. I follow people who “are where I want to be” and so my feed has very little mindless chatter.

    What you put into Twitter, is what you will get out of it. Just my thoughts on things.

  • Eric that is simply a brilliant analogy! So what you’re reall saying is, you can helpme get in shape? A I summarizing that correctly? : )

  • If you have a real interest in understanding this in-depth, you should read the book. In 90 minutes you will have a grasp on these issues, guaranteed. Twitter seems so easy but it’s not. It can be very intimidating, confusing and frustrating. Let me know how it goes for you!

  • Yes, that story really hits home! You can bring people to Twitter, but you can’t make them tweet : ) … Even when there are obvious benefits! Thanks for passing along this story John!

  • It took me months to really understand Twitter. The only reason I stuck with it is because I knew I had to get it to be a successful consultant and teacher. There is no substitute for immersion. I’m glad I did it, but few people have that kind of patience … which is why I wrote the book. Others don’t have to go through my pain now!!! Thanks for your insight!

  • Yeah I’m with you on the mindless chatter thing. There is this little function called “unfollow” that can be very useful! Thanks, Nancy!

  • I have advocated for Twitter with others, have read and recommended ‘The Tao of Twitter’ – and really find it a great resource HOWEVER I am not drinking the Twitter water on a regular basis.

    For what its worth, here are some of my own resistances to using Twitter (you might just call them excuses) as a not-a-twitter-quitter-but-not-yet-fully-converted Twitter user. They are purely subjective elements that I’ve noticed are operating in my thought processes:

    Stage fright.
    Painful memories of past Twitter conversations gone bad.
    Business not yet ready to take on new customers (I’m fully booked).
    Perplexity over the randomness of audience attention.
    Perplexity over when to tweet and whether or not to try to ‘target’ based on timing.
    Reluctance to spend time watching the twitter stream – prefer to do ‘real work’.
    Twitter works too well! I find lots of new and interesting info. I get lost in it.
    Dissatisfaction with any bookmarking system for web pages.
    Too many open tabs in my browser from clicking on Tweet links.
    Computer performance slow down from too many open tabs resulting from Twitter links – must reboot and lose all those open tabs.
    Preference for Latin dancing.

    HOWEVER, I am attempting to deal with these internal resistances to find a balanced and productive use of this amazing global communication tool. Thanks for your continued encouragement Mark!

    Michael Keara

  • Carolee

    I love your book, and have started making lists and organizing a bit… but I confess I get so busy I sometimes forget to tweet and socialize on Twitter.

    I need to schedule in Twitter time a few times a day!

    I have connected with some wonderful people by clicking on links in Twitter

  • Twitter is mainly a publishing tool but I think it has greater power in listening. When I was at Hinda, I really tapped into Twitter to get a better grasp about what was going on within their industry and even what was being said about Hinda. Helped me jump into conversations if necessary and report any interesting findings to my higher ups on what was going on. I don’t think you necessarily have to publish all the time to get something out of Twitter.

  • Mark W Schaefer

    These are all very legitimate points. Wish i had this list when I wrote the book! I would have never thought of that latin dancing one : )

    It’s OK that it doesn’t work for everybody. Good for you Michael that you are open-minded and tenacious but still have reservations. I’m sure you will settle into your own system. Well done!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    That is so true Carolee. I have my clients assess the potential of soxcial media channels like Twitter and blogging versus other activities they may have. It might be time to re-balance. It can;t be another add-on. I really appreciate all the great ideas you contribute to {grow}! Thank you!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    That is true to some extent but the whole listennign thing can be over-played too. For a lot of comapnie4s, especially small local businesses, there is not much to listen too. Maybe some crickets chirping. So it is confusing and sometimes counter-productive when every single mantra and blog post syas to start with “listening.” I suppose finding silence is a valid reason to do it, too : ) Thanks Drew and good luck on your new position!

  • Anonymous

    Wow, Michael, what a great and compelling list! I think many can relate to those elements, but as a new “convert”, it seems like once you get the ball rolling, it’s easier to take it a step at a time, be guided by your own gut and intuition and common sense (and not someone else’s prescribed agenda), and most importantly, HAVE FUN with it!

    I too loved “The Tao of Twitter”: it helped me immensely, and I’ll be singing its praises. And don’t get me wrong when I say “someone else’s agenda”. Mark points out, quite rightly, the advantages of setting an “agenda” for yourself, but he’s not all about telling you WHAT to do and WHEN to do it. His suggestions form a great framework to work from. I’m talking about all the “must do” comments from well-intentioned people that make us feel like failures if we aren’t tweeting/blogging, etc. 24/7

    Good for you Michael to recognize your resistances, take in and digest the information, and make informed decisions. And thanks Mark, for being a beacon of great Twitter info so we can ALL make informed decisions. Kaarina

  • Anonymous

    Nancy, I think your method of “listening rather than speaking right off the bat” is just the ticket. I took some time to wander around, get a feel for things before springing into action. I also took the time to really cultivate knowledge about who I’d like to follow…I checked out their websites, blogs, tweets, you name it. And i built it a brick at a time.

    Not a fan of mindless chatter either, and find that, by having taken the time to build a list of people to follow that I respect, admire and learn from, my feed also has little of that chatter.

    I like the “what you put in is what you’ll get out”: so agree with you on that Nancy! Kaarina

  • Anonymous

    Mark, thanks for reducing our pain!

  • Three months ago I would have bet against me ever having a Twitter account. My perspective changed when I asked a marketing consultant “How do I reach my clients?” Her reply wasn’t what I expected. She asked “Why do you want to reach your clients when they already do business with you?” She further asked “Didn’t you mean to ask how do I reach new clients?” The answer was obviously “yes”.

    I set out to learn everything possible about social media (don’t laugh). My first stop was Google and that was like drinking from a fire hose. I was already in the process of giving up when I read a post on LinkedIn from Mark “The Tao of Twitter” Schaefer about a social media class he taught at a local community college. Four classes, eight hours of instruction and a month later I was still asking myself if Twitter was for me.

    Only time will tell if Twitter is “good for my business” but I know Twitter is helping me in other ways. I read a lot before Twitter. Now I “listen” to a more diverse list of topics. I actively seek opinions different from my own. I am challenging my personal status quo. Therefore I believe Twitter is worth exploring for almost everyone. You may not receive the benefit you originally sought; your reward may be far greater.

  • Mark W Schaefer

    Excllent point, Kaarina. Thanks!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    A great testimony Jeff. I love your urgecny to learn and I’m positive you will make this work for you. You’re a natural!

  • Twitter isn’t for people who don’t want to put any effort into it. To build connections, you must treat it like a cocktail party. Don’t just stick near the groups you know, you need to get out there and introduce yourself. People who tweet and wait to see what happens will not get far.

  • I also remember reading in your book Mark about a research showing that 60 percent of first time Twitter users quit after the first week…;-)

    I also recommend to stay tenacious and you will find benefits for your business.


  • I love this comment Michael Keara made, so funny, and yet true. I know a few friends of mine that like what I am doing and wanna start some hobby blogs. So they ask me how to start and I always suggest Twitter because of its possibilities. I had great results from Twitter when I first started . But most of them register, log in, get overwhelmed and say they quit.

    Of course, since I saw that happen a lot, I changed my strategy with all of them and I recommend The Tao of Twitter first 🙂

  • Lexy from @ClearpointPR

    Good Call Mark, some people just REALLY don’t want to be on Twitter. Even as a PR & marketing firm, we still have a hold out on our team who’s just not into Twitter. She believes in Twitter, and supports our work there, but just won’t do the actual reading & tweeting. And that’s fine. We work as a team so as a firm, we’re there when we need to be. (& Between you, me, and your thousands of readers, sometimes I email her tweets for her feedback…lol!)

    For uses beyond acquiring leads – there are so many! Building education, spreading fun, providing customer service, we have some clients that don’t engage but just listen on Twitter. Lot of benefits.

    Thanks for not being a hype-master & bringing the truth out! 🙂

    Lexy from @ClearpointPR

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  • Hey Mark…it took me good 3 months to find my twitter legs. To understand how best to use it, to figure out what its good for, and so on.

    The way twitter is presented in the media (which is responsible for developing the emotional response when peeps like your client hear the word “twitter”) has largely misrepresented twitter as as platform. A lowest common denominator type of explanations simply wont do.

    Twitter can be used in many ways and I think it takes few months of use to really “get it”.

    I was gonna sign off on that point but Ive realized another problem. We keep talking about twitter…who cares about twitter..its just a platform. Its the opportunities that platform fosters that mater. And when its not twitter, it will be something else. And 100 yrs ago, it was an invitation to the right gathering in real life…and 100 yrs from now it will be ….I duno…something else Im sure 🙂

  • Mark W Schaefer

    That is an excellent point Chelsea! So many people overlook that. i wish I could re-write the post and include that point! Thansk!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    Yes, that is true. I may have made that up. never let the facts get in the way of a good story i always say.


    The number may actually be higher than that. Hopefully the number will improve if folks read the book! Thanks Claude.

    BTW< Claude did an awesome video review of my book. Check out his website!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    Ha! Thats is awesome. Brankica also did a fantastic review of the book on her blog. I love what you;re doing on your blog BTW. I like the bite-sized chunk blog posts. I need to try that. i think it might be more interesting than the long posts. I am so appreciative of you! Thanks!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    I think that is a wise strategy Lexy. Everybody has their own strengths and some people just do not get Twitter! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment today!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    it was about the same amount of time for me. And it was painful. Love your platform point. Well done Dino. One of my Twitter highlights of 2011 is connecting with you!

  • Likewise my friend…likewise 🙂

  • This was great Mark. In fact, Ingrid at NittyGriddy blog sent me a copy of your Tao of Twitter and I loved it (especially considering I struggled to ‘get’ twitter early on).

    I think that if most ‘twitter quitters’ could just get over that initial learning curve and hump that comes with the twitter culture, they’d do really well. But unfortunately, so many die before making it over that hill…never to come back…and thus tell everyone how ‘twitter doesn’t work for my niche’…

    I can attest to the fact that it does work, but we’ve got to be dogged in our determination at first to survive.


  • Great excerpt to share Mark.. and I love the old-fashioned artwork you use. The short and easy answer to your query is, NO! Twitter is not for everyone, as many of the excellent comments have already pointed out.

    I go back to one of my old rants, Twitter is WORK which one of the main reason’s it isn’t for everyone. If someone isn’t going to take the time to learn, to listen, to read books or follow helpful tweeters, then they probably won’t ‘get’ it and therefore won’t see the ROI on that work. There have been posts about the need for a ‘starter’ pack or kit, as there are significant dropouts in those early weeks; I know I spent a lot of time lurking and learning, but came back to 1) learning the ‘rules’ and 2) learning MY rules, how to make the most of my time on Twitter, define what my success and fun will be… and another vote for that oh so delicate balance I read tell of. FWIW.

  • I think digital communication professionals often don’t understand why clients behave how they do. To us a client who is perfect for Twitter yet will not go on Twitter can give us grey hair.

    However, I find that there almost always is a perfectly reasonable explanation if you dig deep enough.

    In the case of Twitter it is “required speed of action”. Twitter is a very fast, if not the fastest digital channel so you have to keep up and that doesn’t just include the tweeting champion it goes for the WHOLE company.


    You respond to a customer in need on Twitter. Good. You responded with in 30 mins. Great. And the customer and you have had a good chat about the issue and you promise to fix it. Awesome!

    You hand over the issue to the right (but very busy) colleague. He can’t do anything about it for the next week or so plus that postal strike may add another week before the customer gets satisfaction.

    In the meantime the customer, who is very happy with the speedy twitter response, is the solution to be honoured in the same speedy manner. Two weeks later they get their new product but how many times do you think they will have complained online in the meantime?

    Worst case scenario, I know, but it shows the kind of investment and commitment a company as a whole will have to deliver in order to successfully step into Twitter.

    Look forward to reading the book though 🙂

  • Thank you.

    From the videos, I’d say you don’t have much work to do 😉 It’s not like we need to call in Jillian Michaels or anything 😛

  • Let me offer a slightly different perspective…

    I think Twitter IS for everyone, but how it can/will/should be used by later adopters and more casual users is different from how it has/is used by early adopters and mavens. What many adopters have described as “Twitter culture” is actually a SUBculture – and the norms of that subculture can be off-putting. Not only that, there is no “one best way” to use Twitter – there’s nothing that says you HAVE to engage with others for it to have value. In fact, Twitter sees itself as an information network rather than a social tool.

    I just published a blog post in which I expand on this perspective and offer a set of recommendations that are likely to appeal to rookies. It’s called :Unlucky 13? Twitter “Worst Practices” for Rookies (and Others) to Avoid” and can be accessed via

    Mark, I invite you and others to comment on the post as you see fit. And you should by all means feel free to plug your book if you think it makes sense to do so in the context of what I wrote.

    Courtney Hunt
    Founder, Social Media in Organizations (SMinOrgs) Community

  • This is a great critique, showing both sides of the fence. Thanks Mark! You really touch on part of what I had to learn about Twitter…that it can be a great networking tool, as well as a lead generation tool. My main focus on Twitter is talking to people in the same field as me. I’ve met some awesome people, learned a LOT. I’ve even gone on to meet several of them in person.

    My personal use of Twitter is probably close to 80% research/networking with peers and 20% lead gen. I hope readers take your post as permission to use Twitter creatively, for whatever means fits their situation. It’s a great platform that can be used any number of different ways. Don’t let the gurus convince you there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to use it 🙂

    You also make an important point about research too. Don’t assume. Research. Test.

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  • Mark W Schaefer

    Oh I can’t believe Ingrid parted with her copy of my book. Doesn;t she know the First Edition will be worth a fortune some day??? Alas …

    i like that image of new twitter folks dying before they get over the hump. Figuratively any way. let me know how the book works for you!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    That is the role of the book. The starter pack. Absolutely! In the long run it saves me a ton of time because i can just ask people to read the book,. It answers all the questions!!! I think you should buy like 10,000 copies to give to all your customers. i can give you a volume discount on the first 9,000. How can you resist?

    How come you always make me punchy? You have this effect on me!!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    Robert, it is so nice to hear from you! It has been too long!

    Thanks for this excellent example. I think your theopry is interesting — there is always a reason if you dig deep enough. I’m sure you’re right but I itre of shoveling quickly : )

    I’ve learned that if I have to start “convincing” instead of “teaching,” it probably is not going to happen.

  • Mark W Schaefer

    You are freaky smart. We need to be friends because I need all the help i can get. Thanks for the invitation to plug the book but i only do that judiciously. It does not come naturally for me.The link to the blog post was busted but here is one that works:

  • Snerk. One of my secret super powers I guess.

  • Mark W Schaefer

    Agree. Very good point. Do what works for you. Sound s like you have a great system going Christian!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    I’d like to order a case of that.

  • No, call in Jillian Michaels. Please.

  • Mark W Schaefer

    Michael rocks.

  • Twitter can provide value to just about anyone on the planet who leverages its features to produce a desired result, and it can do it far better than any other platform of its kind.

    Yes, the platform is cool, but it’s the people that make the Twitter community so fascinating. Real time conversations, happenings, events, literally millions of sound bites being produced by participating members of the community. It’s alive man.

    Cheers Mark!

  • I feel that on a personal level, almost everyone would find value in Twitter. But on a business level, you’re right it’s not for everyone. I was giving a talk last night and this question undoubtedly turned up. And I responded by giving her a few scenarios:

    Is your competition on Twitter? And are they doing well on Twitter? Is your potential customers on Twitter? And do you have time to actively search conversations and engage with your potential audience?

    If it’s yes to any of those, then yes you should be on Twitter. If not, maybe it’s not necessary at this point in time.

    Great excerpt Mark! I’ll be ordering your book for sure!

    Thanks again for an insightful post… Brad

  • I feel that on a personal level, almost everyone would find value in Twitter. But on a business level, you’re right it’s not for everyone. I was giving a talk last night and this question undoubtedly turned up. And I responded by giving her a few scenarios:

    Is your competition on Twitter? And are they doing well on Twitter? Is your potential customers on Twitter? And do you have time to actively search conversations and engage with your potential audience?

    If it’s yes to any of those, then yes you should be on Twitter. If not, maybe it’s not necessary at this point in time.

    Great excerpt Mark! I’ll be ordering your book for sure!

    Thanks again for an insightful post… Brad

  • Thanks for fixing the link, Mark. I don’t think Disqus likes my shortened urls unless I put them on their own line. Weird. And annoying.

    Though I’m certain you don’t need my help(!), I’m glad you found my comment valuable (typos and all). The offer to link back to this post and your book is always open…

  • KamakshiSri

    Actually it is much dependent on the users choice. What is an users definition of twitter and how does he or she uses it? People use twitter to pass on interesting tweets that they enjoy. They already know who of their friends would love it and accordingly they do so.

    Though twitter may not assure you any revenue but it is very useful in creating your online presence and, of course, it’s a big platform of professionals where you can collect huge data and information and can make use of it. Here, you may get ideas that are flourishing in the market. A careful analysis would definitely let you know where you are lacking and don’t you think that would help you.

  • I use Twitter also as a way to gather and share information. The actual @CannesOrBust Tweets are rarely chatty. I think people follow them for the info and inside tips, rather than my glowing personality ;- )

    On another account for a completely different activity, there is far more chat. So I’d throw in that wishy-washy consultant reply to people that wonder if it’s for them: it depends!

  • This article pretty much reflect exactly where my client are at the moment. Nearly all of the are fence sitting, none know which if the social media apps they should be on/or using. They all want to “do something”, but not sure what to do. There is a huge market out there that still needs to be tapped into. Myself, I love Twitter, Like Linkedin, don’t really get the whole Facebook and Blogging thing, mainly because I got to them after the other two, but I am coming up to speed as quickly as I can so that I can help my clients to learn what they need to learn. But I feel we have to take the broad appoach to everything. It’s very much like networking, BNI is not for everyone, some people like open networking, whilst some like structure; Some like evenings, others mornings. The same applies with social media. Some like to write long, some short. Some like to talk, some to lecture. Some are good are pitches and promotions others at teaching. Each of these has a social media platform. It is just applying that principle and finding the correct time element to apply to it – in my view.

    I wholeheartedly concur with Nancy and Kaarina and quite often follow/unfollow. Listening first is also useful (on any social platform) especially if you are uncertain of the forum you are entering. Also the rule “If in doubt leave it out” applies.

    Sorry if that sounds like an rant, it’s not – I am much better in 140 characters! Sarah

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  • Twitter can certainly be used in many ways and collecting data and learning is an excellent strategy. Thanks for sharing your perspective on this Kamakshi.

  • Thanks for the further encouragement Kaarina. Much appreciated.

    I guess I really do best understand social media (twitter, blogging etc) in terms of dancing. Given that, I vividly remember the first time my dance instructor ‘dragged’ me onto the dance club dance floor. Talk about stage fright! But with (lots of) persistence, it became second nature to me and it literally changed my life (one key example is that I met my wife on the dance floor).

    So what you are saying suggests that this is very similar and that persistence will pay off.

    I should twitter that. 😉

  • Mark I’m blushing (literally).

    As I’ve said before, I love the opportunity to be part of the {grow} community. Thanks for being there.

  • Anonymous

    Tweet away Michael:)

  • Would loved to see our company blog become a hot spot in the near future. Thanks for the advise ! I will be putting it to the test.

  • I don’t think that is wishy-washy. I think that is smart because it does depend! Smart approach.

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  • Love this post Mark. I think it goes to Myers-Briggs personality types. You will find people who are mostly Abstract Communicators (25% of the world population) or people who are T’s which means works with tools well. I am Abstract but a Feeler vs a Tool dude but I do know plumbing! The people I know who are Sensate Communicators tend to not ‘get’ Twitter as much. I have very few real life (pre-twitter) friends on twitter. Most think its too cutesy or don’t find the value.

    I think another question is 200 million accounts and only 30million maybe on the service on a given day. Which BTW is similar to Facebook. 300million log ins but maybe 75million are active posting, commenting, updating. I think we look in the aggregate too much and think these networks are used more than they are.

    So to your point. Would be curious to know the personality type of your client. If he is a Sensate Judger 45% of the world, will be very hard to get him on board. And with such low proof of ROI (some of this mental) it is hard to change someones mind. Show them a pot of gold I bet they jump. But so few exist via Twitter yet. I think Gourmet Food Trucks in LA, NYC, and Austin are the only ones I know of! lol

  • You make a couple of interesting points here but first I want to address this skepticism about ROI. To really appreciate the value of social media you have to expand your mind about the business benefits received. For example, you and i connected via Twitter. We had a talk and I helped you with some stuff on your business. What is the ROI of that? It may be difficult to put on a spreadsheet, but there was undeniable value in that right? You are very active on social media, so instinctively yu must be getting value from it or you wouldn’t be doing it. So let’s not get caught up in ROI and let’s keep the VALUE in mind, which may be measured types qualitatively.This point about personality types fascinates me. I have a fantasy about doing a study about that. I think you’re correct! thanks for the excellent observations Howie!

  • I’m a little late getting to this post (thanks for putting it out on twitter again Mark!). I started on twitter as a way to get up to moment news on the New York Mets and that was it. I never said anything I just followed. When I started using it for work it became a much more natural thing to do when I looked at it as a networking opportunity. Much like you don’t want to be the person at an event shoving your business card on everyone there, you don’t want to spew your marketing all day. Sharing information and interacting with, and even interconnecting your followers creates value It does take time and effort, but everything that’s worthwhile does. One of the most rewarding things is getting to meet your followers in real life. You feel like you already know them and there’s more hugs than handshakes.

    I am going to add the Tao of Twitter to my reading list though!

  • Mark, you accept that indeed, some intelligent and wonderful people with plenty of business acumen simply don’t like Twitter. Agreed- and your point reminds me of a tweet I saw. It said that we social marketers should not be snobs toward traditional marketers. Saying “they don’t get it” is just dismissive and closed-minded.

    Granted, Twitter is hugely powerful for many, and could be a help to some of the anti- folks. Mark, you may recall my tweets challenging your podcast debate with Mitch Joel about Twitter snobs. Note: Once we had concluded our three or four public @ messages concerning your disagreement with the man of the Twist, anyone could see that our conversation inherently supported your point.

    Being haughty about the in-club will only reinforce the Twitter quitters/haters. Analyses like the one you ran for your client to determine her customer base’s social media involvement are the really valuable convincers (as opposed to: “Well, you just have to be on Twitter. It’s imperative.”)

  • I can see Twitter not being for every business, but I think it is for every individual. Even if you never tweet anything if you have a pulse then I’m sure you have an interest in something that you can follow on Twitter.

  • I’m not using Twitter at all times. But i think, it would be more helpful to get high page rank for blog. I will try out 🙂

  • Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • Well said Sarah. It’s inspiring to hear about your urgency to learn and apply these new technologies to your business and your life! Good luck with all of these ideas you have!

  • I SO AGREE! I love that — It’s alive! : ) That would make a great blog post for you!

  • You have som many great points here! I make a point to meet my Twitter friends whenever I can. I am on a business trip to NYC this week and am setting aside time to meet three Twitter peeps. It’s always a lot of fun and you never know where those new connections will lead! Hope you enjoy the book!

  • Emily I do remember that exchange and that tweet. I thought, “this is a wise and bold person!” I loved that comment and you make a very good point! Thanks for getting in my face about that. I love it when people dissent in a thoughtful manner.

    It gets down to whatever works for us as individuals and our goals I suppose. I never challenege people in a disresptful way but I do have an urgency to teach folks who I care about and know could benefit from these social media tools. I think they appreciate my efforts even if they ultimately choose to do nothing! : )

    I get to Atlanta occasionally (trip planned in May) and would love to connect IRL at some point.

  • That is so funny. Love that point. Unfortunately so many people get easily discouraged and don’t make critical mass to start seeing some of the benefits. That’s why in my book I encourage people to stick with it untiley are following 200 interesting people. That may seem counter-intuitive to the whole “numbers don’t matter thing, but the reason I do it is for the very point you make. If they only follow 10 people, they are going to be bored. If they’re bored, they’re going to quit so I set this artificial goal so people will give it a chance long enough to have their “a-ha” moment : )

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom today!

  • Twitter and blogging go hand in hand. Twitter is kind of like the movie trailer for the movie. I think you’ll like it : ) Thanks for stopping by Kavya!

  • I’m glad you remember the tweets because the link I posted above clearly didn’t work (maybe because of a comments setting). You are most welcome for getting in your face. IRL in ATL sounds great – May is lovely in Georgia… Let’s DM about it. Thanks

  • Great sounds like a plan!

  • Well Mark, I guess being who you are and offering up a free (at this time) suggestions, I should probably accept the challenge and get er done, eh??? 😛

    Done. And thanks.

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  • Mark, i’m no twitter expert. I just started tweeting 1 month ago. Actually i created an account 1 year ago and let it sit there wondering how and why everyone was raving about it. I thought my twitter account was broken.
    But then, i talked with a consultant 2 months ago, who told me the secret. It’s about slowly building relationships and communicating.  Ooooooh. now i get it. This feels right “i said to myself”.

    I tried to get my husband to use twitter. Icajoled, threatened and yelled. . He a software QA freelancer and i thought it would be a good way for him to find clients. He refused. It was clearly some ideology based on some principal that just didn’t make sense. Nevertheless, he stood his ground for a long time.

    But then i gave him a little tour of how to use it and he was sold. But he wouldn’t admit it right away. He came back to me a day later and said. “i decided i’m going to try twitter”  Ha, i always win our discussions.

    Now if i can only get him to stop using records and use an ipod…..

  • That’s a great story Annie. You also might try to turn your husband on to my book The Tao of Twitter. Usually withinthe first 25 pages people go ” Oh … I’m starting to get it now!” It’s helping a lot of people because it’s as you say — the mindset — what most people miss!

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  • SS

    Consider me strange, but “learn” and “connect with thought leaders” I feel, still don’t mean as much as, in my own words, “finding an opportunity to realise fiscal gain”, and I am not confident that the first two ends would lead to the third, not that I care either. I just like to engage myself in mental and logical exercises online with some editors whenever I feel bored.

    And really, I find the word “twitter” itself to be insulting, as it means bird sounds and meaningless chatter. And that bird in the picture adds to the provocation.

    However I did try an account because and only because some transsexual made a comment about something I favoured that I felt was quite unintelligent, and she had a Twit account, so I figured that would be the way to directly rebut her comment.

    That and a few generous dashes of sarcasm, and I’m pretty much done. I know why people blog and became Twits. It is only because they want attention, and to connect themselves online. However, I notice that just about everyone of them tries to stand out, but laughably in the same way which also means in plain language that they are boring. I do believe there are many ways to talk about yourself and your life, your thoughts blah blah but unfortunately from what I see they are all pretty universally monotonous.

    Reading their blogs together with what they twit about and write on facebook, is often more of a pain trip than anything else. There is very little enjoyment or even for you guys, education in the process, so why go on? You are right to point out the people who may be suitable for these versus the people who may not, but seriously, 90% of the time the scene is filled by people who aren’t.

    And you probably want fame and wealth as your own motivations but well, maybe you might be lucky because from my first sentence I do not believe in these things and I still think the tradition hard work and down-to-earth effort would still be a more viable option in the long run.

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