Is Twitter Really a Useful Tool for Your Business?
With all the hype surrounding Twitter I had to give it a go a few months ago. The big question for me at the time was, is Twitter a useful tool or another avenue that eats time on the Internet? I am not sure that question has really been answered in my mind yet, but I have made some observations over its use the last month, and if nothing else at all it has connected me to some people in business and blogging that I wouldn't have known otherwise. At this point, I only wish more of my existing friends were using Twitter.Â I do see some fluctuation where people do come in and out of Twitter so it can be hard to make acquaintances and keep them going if the someone you meet then jumps out or is never heard from again. I wouldn't say this is the norm, and there are so many useful applications now that you can use with Twitter, it is hard not to jump on the Twitter bandwagon.
So Does Twitter Have Usefulness
What caught my eye and got me using Twitter was all the blog posts about its usefulness in business applications, and of course blogging. A few good posts I came across are:
- 12 Ways to Be a More Interactive and Accessible Blogger, It was #8 on Problogger
- How to use Twitter to increase traffic to your blog or website
- Is Twitter a useful tool for technical authors?
- Most Useful Twitter Services That Can Help Your Business Grow
Since most of these posts go into how Twitter functions I won't try to repeat that here, but I have found a few good applications for its use. Blogging is all about networking of sorts, and Twitter is a social networking agent, so put the two together with a Wordpress Twitter Tools Plugin and you have a great match.
Twitter Tools Plugin & Twhirl
This is a great plugin (and another great one by Alex King, whom I am starting to think is the king of Wordpress plugins) that will automatically post a tweet when you post a new blog article. It is simple to use, and is loaded with options. This is the area on my sidebar that says "What I'm doing..." and it updates with blog posts and also @replies and regular tweet posts.
Then there is Twhirl. This is a standalone program that runs on Adobe's Air platform that will allow you to use Twitter similar to an IM window on your desktop. They also just came out with a new version, info is on their blog at twhirl 0.8 released - adding friendfeed support. This and support through iPhone and other mobile devises make using Twitter easy.
Interacting is Networking
I found out that you really don't want to call an automatic blog post entry the end of your Twitter use though. This is not quite the best etiquette to be used on Twitter. Like most things. To make them truly useful you really need to use and interact with them.
This is the case on Twitter as well. I learned how to use the @replies and general updates through a fellow user on Twitter and it expanded it use and productivity, at least as far as traffic goes, ten fold. I would highly recommend using Twitter for more than just blog post entries.
What has your experience been with Twitter? Do you find it a useful tool to use in business applications?
If you are so inclined, you can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/scottfillmer