Thursday, March 18, 2010

Do I Have To Use Twitter?

While speaking at a luncheon, with an audience of small business owners, the discussion moved to the importance of social media. I was talking about having a strong internet presence and utilizing all the tools that are available to help promote their companies via the internet and mobile. It is important that everyone be aware how their clients, prospects, vendors and competitors are using the variety of tools available in cyberspace and beyond.

I had just spent five days at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Conference with 14,000 heavy social media users. While being emerged in the epicenter of social media, it seemed that the whole world lived in online and mobile social communities (Four Square and Gowalla were the darlings of SXSW --- Don't know what they are? Seems there are constantly new things we need to learn about).

But the truth is that many people are still on the sidelines when it comes to social media. Some think that it is a fad whose tentacles do not reach into their industry. Social media is NOT a fad!

Hands went up in the audience and there were abundant questions about LinkedIn, Facebook, Blogging, etc.... Then one professional raised his hand and said, with trepidation, "Do I have to use Twitter?"

No. You do not have to use Twitter. You do not have to use any tools (I would assume you don't HAVE to use a telephone if you don't want to), but some tools will make you more productive and help you expand your personal and professional brand. The realities are that for many, Twitter has no impact on their world. Their clients, prospects, employees, and others in their orbit are not on Twitter.

But that does not mean anyone should ignore Twitter, or anything else that becomes widely adopted. Several years ago I would have told you that LinkedIn was a useful tool, but not necessary. Today it is a widely accepted tool. Not being on LinkedIn could leave you looking out of touch if someone is seeking a fast way to learn more about you. In today's crazy / busy world we are looking for ways to connect with others. People want to do business with those they know, like and trust. We expect to be able to find information quickly so we can speed up the "getting to know you" part. Without "know", you cannot ever get to "like" and "trust".

If you have never looked at Twitter (or the other popular social media tools) you must become informed. Never dismiss anything as a waste of time because you do not understand it or "assume" it is not for you. Knowledge is key. If you find that nobody you work with is using a tool, then you can move on. But you never want to wake up and find that your competition has staked a claim to a community where your customers actively participate, as you may never catch up.

Twitter is useful for some, and a waste for others. The only way to know the answer is to do the research. The same thing is true for all the available tools and communities that are popping up online and via your smart phone. Being "too busy" is a lame excuse and just might lead you to being "less busy" in the future.

Have A Great Day.


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