This question was recently asked to me during a Third Tuesday Meeting and my immediate Luddite answer was no…. but of course that isn’t the right answer because each person and organization situation will be unique.
There are two reasons to have a twitter account:
1. To listen or follow
2. To tweet
The first is probably the best reason, there are some fascinating people with some very relevant things to say, one just has to filter out the non essential stuff. I have found out about a lot of interesting events, thoughts and opinions on the occasional time I actually look at the tweets I follow.
However if you do have a community of interest with a few “Thought Leaders” creating a list of tweets becomes a valuable tool for keeping up-to-date with current issues in your field. This is, of course, only one of many channels one should use to keep professionally current.
This leads then to the next question should I tweet? Going back to my initial reaction – why?, but if you are involved in a community that is active and many people share the same concerns, then this becomes an excellent channel to share your knowledge or at least to establish yourself as an expert in your field.
The criteria would be -
- do I know what I am talking about,
- can I share something new and relevant on a regular basis, and
- is there a ongoing or recurring need for this information.
An example of where this could work well is a early childhood development professional who regularly deals with challenging situations in schools. Usually parents or teachers encounter these situations regularly and there is no one short term solution, it is an ongoing challenge. In this situation a parent in need of guidance could benefit from following experts in this field and when a relevant bit of information passes through they can utilize that resource, be it a link, a resource or other areas that can help.
Conversely if you provide a product or service that is needed only infrequently – insurance, mortgage, car purchase, etc, once the transaction is made it then falls off the radar until the next time. So tweeting about this may not be an effective use of one’s time , of course there are always exceptions, but common sense dictates otherwise.
Twitter is just one tool in your arsenal, and it will have relevance, however, you need to integrate it into your overall communications and marketing strategy and assess the impact and value it has to both you and your customers.