Is Twitter for dummies?

17 Feb

One of the most frequent comments I hear from potential social media clients is that they find Twitter too difficult to decipher and want someone to show them how it’s done.

No doubt there are businesses thriving on helping people get on Twitter.

I have come to consider this to be taking advantage of the situation.

New users either want to learn this stuff or they don’t. If they don’t, they’re not the right people to be doing it. If they do, everything they could possibly need to know is freely available online or in published books. That’s how I learned. Probably how you learned too.

Getting started, establishing strategies, monitoring, self-promoting, HootSuite, Tweetdeck, best practices…it’s all out there. The only investment is their time.

We’ll point our clients in the direction of these resources and encourage them to learn it on their own. They may argue they don’t have the time, but then we think they should pass the torch to someone who does, rather than pay a shitload of money to an outsider who already gets it to mentor them. There’s no better way to feel confident about it than learning it yourself.

Twitter is not really for some elite to understand and share.

It’s the other way around – it’s for dummies like me.



15 Responses to “Is Twitter for dummies?”

  1. GV February 17, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    It’s like learning anything new and like you said

    “New users either want to learn this stuff or they don’t. If they don’t, they’re not the right people to be doing it. If they do, everything they could possibly need to know is freely available online or in published books. That’s how I learned. Probably how you learned too.”

    I’m still learning like what “MT” meant in a tweet. Someone asked earlier this week and a answer was given. A modified tweet.

    But in all actual fact it, I would’nt use it for business. It’s more of a peoples grapevine or chat-line like in the DOS days.

  2. Dennis van Lith February 17, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    As someone who is young enough to be a part of this digital age and feels fairly comfortable with all the varied forms of technology, gadgets, and Internet tools and devices I’m still confused with twitter. I have an account. Used it once. Thought it was a waste of everything and I have no clue why a business would ever have a genuine need for it. Maybe I’m missing something but I’ve read plenty to try and understand it’s importance as a marketing tool but still have no idea what true benefit it can have. Not trying to be a pessimist on new ways but twitter doesn’t seem to be a social media ‘tool’ that has muc if any of a benefit.

  3. dougbrowncreative February 17, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    > GV I see a lot of fantastic content on Twitter – and some that is less so. But one thing I do know is that there are a lot of smart people sharing stuff there, and you can create interesting and helpful relationships, personally or for business.

    > Dennis I could tell you all the benefits of Twitter for a business, but then I would be running counter to the point of the post! I can think of thousands of businesses who would disagree with your conclusion that it doesn’t seem to have much benefit. In a small, tight market like Victoria, it is a way of bringing local businesses and socially minded people together to share ideas, seek and provide help, and forge relationships. Maybe you have to move here…

    Thanks both for the comments.

  4. Russel (@RussLoL) February 17, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    – Dennis. It’s true. Twitter isn’t for everyone. If you’re not good with people – don’t use Twitter. If you’re afraid of committed relationships – don’t use Twitter.

    From my own personal experience, Twitter has allowed me to reach communities and thought leaders I would never have had the chance to connect with on a global level. It has allowed me new business opportunities and career advancement by demonstrating my knowledge and adding value.

    Twitter is a tool. You get out of it what you put into it. Using it “once” and calling it a waste of time is like walking into a crowded room, yelling and leaving…then wondering why nobody wanted to talk to you.

  5. Dennis van Lith February 17, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

    – Doug was that an invite? Haha. I guess I’m just missing the boat completely with social media as a means of effective marketing. My thoughts towards creating conversations where businesses and customers can communicate is that many businesses can meet the needs of customers to begin with let alone give customers another opportunity to tell them how they need to improve, have failed, or don’t meet their needs.

    – Russel it seems to me that it has more of a benefit to people than businesses. If your business is as a person then I can see it working. But as a retailer telling they are having a sale on BBQs, it seems pointless.

    Again, maybe I’m missing something.

  6. GV February 17, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

    If I’m not mistaken Russel (@RussLoL) business relies on the internet to have it succeed were as if I was a logger out in the middle of no-where it would’nt do me a bit of good except for idle chatter about the weather (aren’t you just loving the present weather in #yyj and on #vanisle) or some road conditions that I might encounter driving on Highway 4 and that’s if I could get a signal.

  7. dougbrowncreative February 17, 2011 at 9:01 pm #

    > Russel, I would add, given that Dennis probably doesn’t have any followers, that he was yelling into an empty room.

    > Dennis, your level of engagement on Twitter increases exponentially with the number of people you are following and who follow you back. This takes time. A guy like Russel Lolacher is a great example of someone who has skillfully used Twitter (and other social media platforms) to build a loyal network of friends, associates and knowledge sharers. It didn’t happen overnight.

    > CV, I’m not exactly sure what your point is, but assuming it’s that “Twitter isn’t for everyone” I would agree that remote loggers may find it quite useless.

  8. GV February 17, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

    (DOB) It’s GV not CV and yes that was the point, it’s not for everyone and every business.

  9. dougbrowncreative February 17, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

    I stand corrected GV, sorry about that.

  10. Russel (RussLoL) February 17, 2011 at 11:32 pm #

    – Dennis, You’re right Twitter is for people. And that’s who you do business with, not some faceless organization. People buy from those they like, know and trust. Why can’t a business fill that role? I agree that a retailer saying they have a sale on is not the best way to build a relationship. But solving someone’s problem with your service/product is. That’s why listening and engaging are key parts of social media.

    – GV, agreed. Not every social platform works for every business/person. Teens tend to text, not Twitter. Some areas prefer Facebook over Youtube. The bottom line is go where your customers are. If they’re not on certain platforms, than neither should you be.

  11. dougbrowncreative February 18, 2011 at 7:01 am #

    And I would add for Dennis that Twitter has never been about flogging your On Sale crap at people. But if you are actively engaged with hundreds of people, and some of them are influential in their online communities, you can reasonably expect that the word about your sale will get out. Tweeters get turned off by relentless self-interested content real fast.

  12. GV February 18, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    What I have started to do is block people that only tweet about what they might be able to do for you not what their going to do for you, like people that create webpages. So what, almost anyone with two brain cells can do that or someone that only tweets on a constant basis about socialmedia, etc, etc. I can read all this myself on Mashable, I don’t need it on Twitter.

    I like #yyj stuff since it’s local news. Yes I throw stuff on my Timeline that might only interest me, but I don’t force you to read it, rather it’s a form of bookmarking for me just like a Facebook site I have cluttered with sites that I’ve “Liked”.

  13. Russel (@RussLoL) February 18, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    GV – Wise tactic. I’m of the same opinion. (I.E. If you’re a leader in social media, add something to the conversation. It’s fine to share info you find constructive but don’t be echoing someone else. I’ll follow them, not you.)

    I follow #YYJ, #custserv and various people I’ve met in person. This is information I want from people I’ve built relationships with. Social media at it’s best.

  14. dougbrowncreative February 18, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    Russel I would add to that I also follow people who are extremely well connected to thought leaders, so that rather than trying to keep up with 50 people and wade though the content to find the gems, I can trust my mavens to share the good stuff.

    Good comments.

  15. Russel (@RussLoL) February 18, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    Doug, absolutely. Thought leaders are fantastic but connectors have a beneficial role too.

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