Why should you read this chapter?
Today, more than ever before, we’re presented with new web apps and tools that promise to help get things done. The truth is, they do the exact opposite.
In the chapter below we’ll learn how to truly leverage Twitter for results. This will allow you to focus more on things that matter; instead of spending time on something that simply wastes your time.
In an age of distraction, this skill is critical to reaching the freedom and dreams you desire.
I think it’s time that we again ask ourselves the question we’ve always been asking, what is Twitter? Or more, what has Twitter become?
Just like the web, twitter has undergone a profound transition.
Whereas web 1.0 was about publishing static web content, web 2.0 arose and centered on dynamic, social content. So, too, is Twitter’s recent transition.
Twitter started as a nifty little experience for sharing small details about your life (Twitter 1.0). This included people saying things like, “I’m eating a hot dog right now.”
Now, we’re seeing changes. Changes that are showing up right in front of us. Instead of “Sharing,” we’re “Tweeting”. Instead of the question, “What are you doing right now?” it’s replaced with “What’s happening?”
Slowly, and perhaps painfully for the founders, Twitter has turned into something else. Twitter has transformed into story sharing and link-sharing with a social twist. It’s transitioned from a place of primary sharing and interacting, to place filled with brands, links and ads. Instead of real-time conversations, we’re seeing a stream of real-time affiliate links.
Twitter has transformed into a place where people primarily do three things:
- A place where entrepreneurs/bloggers/freelancers share links
- A place where celebrities write when they’re drunk or bored
- A place where brands go to prove that they’re ahead-of-the-curve
This is Twitter 2.0 — welcome.
So how does one leverage this new form of Twitter to get the most out of it–in the least amount of time? Read on.
Understanding Twitter 2.0
Many get sucked into the hype machine and dive into Twitter without understanding its purpose. After a certain period of time, most fall into two camps: (i) either they never use it again, or (ii) they continually use it without understanding why they’re using it.
There’s an interesting concept in psychology that is on the rise today, more than ever before: FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).
This concept is outlined in a fantastic book on Focus, Find Your Focus Zone, in which the the author, Lucy Jo Palladino, suggests that people are absolutely freaked out about missing the action. People are constantly afraid of being left out.
So, too is this concept within Twitter.
As Kathy Sierra points out, “Ironically, services like Twitter are simultaneously leaving some people with a feeling of not being connected, by feeding the fear of not being in the loop. By elevating the importance of being “constantly updated,” it amplifies the feeling of missing something if you’re not checking Twitter (or Twittering) with enough frequency.”
The Magic Bullet Secret To Getting 17 million followers in 3 hours!
If you glance at the top most-followed people on Twitter, you’ll ask yourself, what’s the secret? How’d they get there? What’s the magic bullet for getting more followers?
It’s simple: Be Shaq.
Yes, be a celebrity. You’ll notice that the most-followed people on Twitter already have a community offline. They’re movie stars, famous news anchors, musicians and pro athletes.
You’re not going to build a massive following by having a cool, magic bullet twitter strategy. Such ideas are short-term solutions. Typically followed up with massive un-follows, and in some cases, even getting banned from Twitter.
Here’s how the typical magic bullet Twitter follower software works
Simply write a program using Twitter’s API (application programing interface), and then follow a ton of people. Message them, and have the program interact with them. Once this is done, they’ll follow you. And then after a month or so, you un-follow them.
This is the strategy I once took on for an account, but have since abandoned it–because I didn’t get any value out of it.
After a certain point I had to ask myself, why I was trying to game a system. Why I wanted to get more followers. And really, the answer never came. So I decided to purge my account, and start fresh and new with a long-term value-driven strategy. A strategy that didn’t suck time out of my day; but instead, added value to my day.
The 7 New Dependable Ways to Use Twitter
Below is the 7 step indisputable method for leveraging Twitter in a focused, effective manner. A way in which results in sharing valuable information with a close set of followers.
1. Don’t read any other guide to getting productive on Twitter
Challenge me. Every other guide on the net that preaches how to use Twitter in a more productive, focused manner only adds to the confusion. The tools that you’ll see within Twitter only do one thing: they insist upon themselves. They’ll add to the confusing mess that Twitter already is. Here’s a sample of the tools you’ll find in these guides:
Sample Fluff Apps:
- TweeCalendar: Just sign up for TweeCalendar and you can Tweet appointments to your Google Calendar! You’ll send your followers info they don’t care about at all, and you’ll probably forget the calendar!
- TweeWeather: Set up weather alerts using Twitter! You’ll know when to not get out of your mother’s basement, and go outside!
- FlightTweets: Get tweets about your upcoming flight! The flight you’ll miss because you were busy tweeting
- TweeDo Lists: Write to-do lists via Twitter, annoy your followers, and get nothing done!
By all means, avoid these guides, and avoid these tools.
2. Avoid Twitter clients
Seesmic and Tweetdeck are good for two purposes: (i) Power-users, and (ii) Pissing on time.
I only recommend using Tweetdeck or Seesmic if you’re in the PR/Marketing field. If not, then don’t use it.
3. Don’t market yourself within Twitter
Don’t market yourself within Twitter; market yourself outside of Twitter. Do this by putting a link to your Twitter profile within various communities in which you interract:
- Facebook Profile
- LinkedIn Profile
- Your Blog
- Your Portfolio Website
- Your Email Signature
- (and any other site where you’re building a community)
4. Share valuable information without trying — schedule tweets
This is easily the most overlooked, and under-implemented tool within Twitter. As outlined above, over the past two years, Twitter has undergone a slow transition from a “What are you doing now” service to a “What news can you share?”
Within the era of Twitter 2.0, the question is not, “What can this person tell me that they’re doing.” Instead, it’s “What valuable information can this person give me?”
In order to share valuable information, the key is to not try. And more, make it a habit.
What I mean by “not trying” is that instead of manually blasting out awesome news stories everyday; instead, adopt an automated tweet scheduling tool that allows you to bookmark valuable links, and then schedule them over a period of time.
A couple services allow you to do this:
- Twaitter (credit to Missy from the comment section below)
The one I use personally, and the one I recommend is Sharefeed. I recommend this one due to its simplicity, and effectiveness.
5. Respond and cultivate your community
Just like the secret and critical method for building a community on any blog, so too is the concept of building on Twitter. Twitter is really just an extension of your community on a different service. For this reason, it becomes critical to respond to each person that @replies you.
6. Only follow people that provide valuable information
This is one of, if not the most, critical elements in using Twitter. The foundation of twitter centers on what industry researchers call, “The Network Effect.” This holds that the experience drawn from Twitter is in direct correlation with who you follow. You are your environment. If you follow spammers, then you’ll think of Twitter as a place for spammers.
7. Check Twitter 3-4 times per day at most
In a later chapter we’ll discuss the concept of email batching or email crunching. This is the concept of chunking your emails into short, intensive sessions only a couple times per day.
For me, I recommend starting at four times per day, then bringing it down to three times per day, and finally getting it down to twice per day.
An extension of this crunch period should be your Tweet checking. Don’t check Twitter constantly throughout the day; instead, chunk it into infrequent, short sessions.
The 7 steps outlined above will allow you to get the most out of Twitter, in the least amount of time and give your community actual valuable information.
To summarize, Twitter has undergone a shift from sharing Haiku-style details about ourselves (i.e. “I’m eating a hot dog right now”) to a place for brands, links and affiliates. In order to get the most out of this era of Twitter, I recommend following six steps:
1. Be weary of tools that preach that they allow you to be more effective
2. Don’t use Seesmic or Tweedeck, or any other client
3. Market yourself outside of Twitter; not within Twitter
4. Share Valuable Information Without Trying (scheduling tweets)
5. Respond and cultivate your community
6. Only follow people that provide valuable information
7. Implement Twitter Batching
IMPORTANT: If you enjoyed this article, I'd like for you to experience much more by purchasing the book. You can check out via Paypal. Click here to buy the book.