The power and value of Twitter

I love social networking. I’m not ashamed to say it. I love Twitter. I love Facebook. I love LinkedIn. I love Flickr. I love meeting new people through my blog.

What frustrates me is when people from the “outside” – people whom, for whatever reason, choose not to partake in social networking – try to diminish its power. Try to diminish its value.

Take, for example, a typical Twitter-related question from a non-Twitterer:

“Why would you ever follow almost 2,000 people on Twitter? You don’t know them. Do you really care about what some dude in Ohio is having for lunch?”

No. In theory, I really don’t. But that dude in Ohio may be the marketing director of a major national retail chain that is looking to market to moms. And we may be following each other on Twitter. And that dude may tweet that he just ate a delicious bowl of chicken noodle soup at Panera Bread. And as that happens to be my favorite, too, I may tweet back @dudeinOhio something like: I am going to Panera for lunch with my dad; planning on having chicken noodle soup, too. And though our shared love of Panera’s chicken noodle soup, we may find some synergies in our work and forge a business relationship.

This is just a hypothetical example because I actually happened to have lunch with my dad today at Panera (yes, chicken noodle soup), but scenarios like this happen every single day on Twitter. And, in my opinion, if you’re doing any kind of business and you’re not on Twitter, you’re doing a major disservice to yourself and your brand.

This is what social networking is to me: making authentic, real connections with people that could (or could not; sometimes it’s just nice to meet new people with similar interests) lead to a mutually beneficial relationship. It has to be authentic, of course, and I wouldn’t just try to strike up a conversation about Panera in a lame attempt to shove my brand in someone’s face, hoping to get business from it. People can see right through that kind of stuff.

OK, Jane, you’re thinking. What you’re saying is all well and good, but the only example you’ve given me is a hypothetical. What else do you got?

I was hoping you’d ask.

So, let’s go back to late March/early April, when I had just started using Twitter in full force. Melanie Notkin from Savvy Auntie tweeted something about some guy @skydiver (Peter Shankman), who was looking for subscribers for his new service, in which he was putting together reporters and sources. The name of this service? Help A Reporter Out, or HARO.

One of the first reporter queries I received once I subscribed was from CNN.com, looking for someone who felt like his spouse had a “digital mistress” (like a BlackBerry). I thought my husband, Steve, would be a good source for the story, so I forwarded it to him, he was interviewed by a reporter, and a month later the story was up on CNN.com. Included in the article was a link to our site, Mom Generations (at that time called Pinks & Blues). Needless to say, we got a ton of hits, and as a result, tons of subscribers to our site.

Thanks to Twitter, I found out about HARO, which in turn got my site up on CNN.com.

(By the way, if you’ve read Audrey’s blog, you’ll know I’m not the only fan of HARO in my family.)

So there’s one example. Here’s another. I mentioned Melanie Notkin as the person who introduced me to HARO through Twitter. In fact, I met Melanie on Twitter, before her site launched, and she was (very wisely) using Twitter as a way to network and get buzz going about the launch of her site, Savvy Auntie, the first community for cool aunts, great aunts, godmothers and all women who love kids. (I’d say she was successful… she launched in July; in the month of September the site had 58,000 unique visitors. That’s huge.)

In any case, a few months after meeting on Twitter, I got an email from Scott Monty, head of social media at Ford Motor Company. He was inviting me to Ford’s 2009 Model Year media day out at the company’s Dearborn, MI headquarters. He had been looking for people outside of the auto industry, (in his own words), “people interested in technology, environmental issues, family and luxury” to come out to the headquarters, drive the cars and meet the people behind the technology and innovation.

How had he found me? Melanie Notkin had recommended me as an influential aunt, someone who would have an interest in going to the event and learning what Ford had in store for its consumers in 2009. Without Twitter, I am sure I would have found out about Savvy Auntie, but I probably would not have made the personal connection with Melanie, a connection that made me come to mind when she was asked by Scott to recommend people for the Ford event.

So there’s two good examples. But I have saved the best for last.

This spring I started connecting with Jessica Smith on Twitter. She had been in the marketing world for years before having a child, and had just recently come on the “mom blog” scene with her site, Jessica Knows. She quickly became a force to be reckoned with, first landing a job – through Twitter – as the Chief Mom Officer of Wishpot, and then being asked to join the Elevenmoms of Walmart.

One of the (many!) connections she made through Twitter was Scott Monty of Ford, who put this up on Twitter just a few hours ago:

Yup, because of Twitter (and her own marketing/social networking savvy, of course), Jessica was able to come on the scene and – within the course of a few months – make her way to Ford headquarters for a marketing presentation. WOW.

Oh, and at the time of writing this, Scott Monty follows 2,937 people. Jessica Smith follows 2,919. Melanie Notkin follows 2,095.

See why?

Now, if you still aren’t convinced about the power and value of Twitter – or the power and value of social media in general – perhaps your name is Dell circa 2005. Read here why that company came to see the light.

The power and value of Twitter was last modified: July 28th, 2017 by Jane Couto Govednik
SHOWHIDE Comments (37)
  1. Jane,
    What an awesome article. My name is Heather Allard and I’m a Twitter addict. 😉

    I agree with you 100%. Twitter is just the thing for a Gemini mom-of-3 like me with mercurial social media needs. I have made so many great connections on Twitter and have learned about so many great blogs, articles and products there.

    Thanks for the great article. Twock on. 😉
    Heather
    The Mogul Mom

  2. Jane, this is a GREAT post. I’ve connected with amazing people on Twitter and have learned a lot about marketing my small business in a very short period of time. And I’ve also learned a bit about hand spinning yarn, it’s very easy to stray off topic when meeting interesting business owners :). One of the many things I enjoy about social networking is that it provides instant gratification, yet has outstanding long term appeal too, as your examples so perfectly explain. Thanks!

  3. Right on, Jane! As a matter of fact, directly after the meeting with Jessica, I headed over to our marketing building to do a presentation to some colleagues on one of the many Twitter accounts that Ford will be using.

    I was lucky that they already understood the value of the quirky 140 character-based community, so I just had to explain some of the ins & outs of running an account to them.

    Look for us on @FordDriveOne, @FordCustService and @FordMustang for starters.

    Scott Monty
    Global Digital Communications
    Ford Motor Company

  4. Well put Jane! Twitter is an amazing social network that really does break down the barriers between the average person and big businesses! Thanks for sharing these inspiring stories!

  5. Great post, thank you. So many people just don’t get Twitter. Many of my friends/family are not in the “techie” world and they don’t get how you can use something so simple to generate business for you. Social networking is truly “where it’s at” right now and you really don’t have to be a “techie” to use it wisely and properly.

  6. Great article on the power of Twitter. I’ll be sending it to quite a few non-believers I happen to know! Found the article link on …(surprise!) Twitter. And I wish I could have seen Jessica Smith’s presentation at Ford. She’s written about Daily Grommet, already — we really appreciate that. Thanks for sharing your experience, and may the good Twitter stuff keep coming your way…

  7. What an awesome post. Definitely the best one I’ve seen yet on the value of twitter! As someone who has shared tweets with both Jessica and Melanie – they are both inspirational women … and they are only two or many! twitter is definitely unparalleled in the ability to find great connections with like-minded people whether for business or fun.

  8. When Twitter 1st launched, I didn’t get it. Maybe because I was following the wrong people. When I became a mom-to-be, I created another account where I only followed moms and companies I was interested in. Low and behold, Twitter has become loads of fun. Sometimes I wish I had more time to tweet because I know I’m missing out on my big break!

    Greg sighs and asks why I must “Twitter” “everything” and I reply with”ugh, you just don’t understand” lol!

  9. Great post Jane. I explain Twitter to friends with the excitement of a little kid who just found a cool new toy and wants everyone else to know about. Sometimes they still don’t get it. I think it is hard to grasp until you just jump in and experience it for yourself. I am so thankful for all the wonderful people I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with.

  10. Auntie Jane – You’re the best. I am so happy that we met and have number of common bonds, not the least of which is being in love with being Aunts.

    You’re a great writer and Twitter friend.

    Yours truly,
    the TAILF

  11. Jane,
    I loved this post. I remember when you first told me about Twitter and I had about 18 followers and I was in SHOCK as to how cool it was. Now businesses hooking on up. I think it is amazing. And the contacts we have made are mind-boggling.
    – Audge

  12. I’m a total believer and lover of Twitter. I’ve made some very valuable connections through it, and I’ve never had this much luck (and fun) making connections that have benefitted my professional life.

    Not only do I get the chance to meet people I would never even know of otherwise, I also get the opportunity to see karma in action. It’s alive and well on Twitter. I have had many experiences where people will just help me out of the good of their heart, and so I am more inclined to help them in the future with anything they need.

    It’s a tool that EVERY business and organization should use, but ONLY after they study it for a few months and really understand how the community works. There are too many businesses misusing it as simply a way to reach a broad audience quickly. This doesn’t work – Twitter is all about building and fostering relationships.

  13. Thanks for writing this post. I was recently trying to explain to my offline friends and business colleagues about the powerful leverage available in Twitter, but just wasn’t getting the words right. This perfectly articulates it! I’m going to bookmark and share this post!

  14. Good job. Many of my IRL friends question my involvement in all this social media stuff: blogging, Twittering. Though their eyes open wide when I tell them I’m headed to Club Med on a press trip next month all because of a blog post I wrote and subsequent conversations with a PR rep who commented on it.
    It’s odd how the time I spend on my computer has led to many wonderful in-person meeting-like with you at Camp Baby last Spring.
    Thanks for a great post.

  15. Great post Jane! Since I have started twittering only maybe 2 or 3 months ago…I have had some great opportunities arise including a great freelance SEO job, partnership opportunities with my BLOG and a freelance web job! And I was not very active for the first month or so because like others, I just “didn’t get it”. Now I get it and now I am addicted! What a great way to share why people NEED to twitter!!!

  16. Thanks for the great article Jane! I feel like I’m always defending the fact that I am a “tweeter” – I am 50, an ad agency president and mom to grown children and a teenager. They make fun of me and wonder what I am doing online. Here is what I tell them – I’ve gathered great information about my clients’ target market, I’ve gained valuable resources and a few good friends and I’ve had some great laughs. Reason enough for me!

  17. Great points, Jane! I have benefited from Twitter so many times already. I currently write for Blissfully Domestic and all because of connections I made on Twitter. I also got hooked up with you fab ladies for Tweightloss because I saw Audrey’s original tweet about losing baby weight. Right on, girl!

  18. Great post. I think I must be on some huge learning curve, but it’s coming. I enjoy it when I’m on, just not 100% sure what I’m doing all the time. I keep learning, though. I love all the connections you point out. Love to see things “come together”.

  19. Fabulous post! I’ve gotten the same questions – do you really know those people? Most of them, no. A few of them, very very well. But the point is that we’re all on Twitter to learn, grow, and help each other. In fact, I’ve been so inspired by Jessica Smith and others that I’ve started writing a book about women in particular using social media (such as Twitter) to find professional success while juggling personal obligations. And guess how a publishing house found me last week…..that’s right. Twitter. Rock on.

  20. I couldn’t agree more with every word you said. Twitter is an amazing resource. I’ve only been on it a short while, but I’ve already made many contacts.

    Jessica is a great example for each of us, and one of the things I love most about her is that she’s so willing to share her knowledge. She’s not just all about success for herself. She truly wants all moms to succeed and is working to make that possibility attainable for us all.

  21. Wow Jane, that’s amazing. I can’t believe it. I guess when I have a little time I’ll have to investigate Twitter – you have a very compelling point. I am on Facebook.

  22. Janie… As a Twitter Believer (Twiliever !) and your Mom, I can say in all earnest that this article is the best I’ve ever read on the merits of social media. Thanks for all the encouragement and tutorial in getting me involved in this great new world!
    Love, Mom

  23. Great post! It really does prove that it’s a small world after all and we all have a “connection” with each other! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  24. New to twitter, but somehow stumbled upon your blog post… via twitter (of course). Awesome description of the true power & value of twitter. I’m so addicted and love finding new & interesting people to follow as well as followers.

  25. Thank you very much for this article. I’ve been signed up for twitter for a couple months but never did anything with it. I came across this post on mybloglog and you made me a beliver so guess what I’m going to do today…working on my twitter and getting friends.

The power and value of Twitter was last modified: July 28th, 2017 by Jane Couto Govednik