Social networks like micro-blogging site Twitter have garnered plenty of attention lately – thanks to celebrity supporters from Oprah to Ashton Kutcher. Sure, it helps to have a recognizable name or brand when you’re trying to build a base of Twitter followers, Facebook fans or LinkedIn connections, but it’s not a requirement.
In a recent CNN.com piece about the growth of the site, CNET blogger Caroline McCarthy summed it up as follows: “The power of Twitter is about the millions of people using it and how easy it is to filter and aggregate their thoughts and conversations.”
To get started, sign up for one or a few of the networks that relate to your interests or your business and give it a try. The basis of social networking hinges on the term social, after all, so apply your business networking skills to the online world, and it opens up a whole new realm of possibilities.
For those of you still a little confused about how to navigate Twitter, work your way through it as you might any business or social function where most of those in attendance happen to be strangers. Learnaboutweb.com does a great job of illustrating this analogy – suggesting you start with those you know and share a bit about yourself with others to develop authentic relationships.
If the world of social networking is new to you – or just new to your business – you might be wondering why it’s worth the time and effort at all. The answer is simple. Sites like Twitter and Facebook have the power to drive significant traffic to your company’s Web site or blog, which can result in higher visibility and profits. With a little time and effort, these sites can help get the name of your business and your products out to the public.
What’s more, they give your business a personality. Use these networks to establish or further your brand. Seek out others who work in your industry or might have a use for your product and ask for their input.
Don’t feel pressure to grow your numbers exponentially. It’s best to take this one step at a time. Consider the advice of Hubspot, which suggests a Twitter ratio of 1:1 is best. Follow and you’ll be followed – provided you’ve got something interesting and honest to add to the conversation.
So get ready, get out of your comfort zone, and start building those useful relationships. It won’t matter that you’re not Ashton Kutcher. You too can build a significant online following if you take the time to try.