6 business reasons to use Twitter

Twitter has really  taken off as a business tool. When I was at  the O’Reilly Strata conference a couple of months ago, I was really struck by how people in Silicon Valley just take Twitter for granted as a business tool. More recently, at networking events in Vancouver, I’ve been seeing more and more people adding their Twitter handles to business cards, "Hello my name is___" badges and even tent cards at seminars. Far from just a way for millenials and Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher or Charlie Sheen, Twitter is increasingly a viable business tool.

While I’ve been on Twitter under my own name for a while, I’ve recently built out an account for Consultant Journal at @consultantj. I encourage you to follow me and say hi – maybe even ask me a question or two. I don’t bite. I promise.

Now, maybe you’re wondering why you should even bother with Twitter. With 140 characters as the limit for a message, what could you possibly gain from this? Well, there are tons of business reasons to bother with Twitter, even if you don’t want to get in the habit of "tweeting" (sending out messages) on your own.

Why use Twitter

  1. Learn from others. You can follow some of the world’s best known business leaders on Twitter – as well as some of the niche masters. Most major influencers are on Twitter, sharing their thoughts. It’s a quick, easy, free way to learn and be reminded of best practices and great insights.
  2. Follow the buzz. Even if you’re just a casual user of Twitter, you can find out what others in your world are talking about. That might mean hearing the latest buzz words or it may mean something more serious such as learning that a major prospective client is being hit with financial challenges.
  3. Find clients. Many other small and large businesses post their job and contract opportunities via Twitter. And, by engaging with people on Twitter, you may win work. I’ve been able to build some strategic partnerships with people I first met on Twitter.
  4. Stay connected. You can send a quick message to business contacts who can "retweet" it to their own followers or find other people to help you. I recently got advice on where to host a business event, simply by putting it out to my Twitter community.
  5. Reinforce community. At a business event last week, I met someone who’d recently followed me on Twitter and retweeted something I said. I recognized her face, name and business name and I was able to thank her in person and it gave us a great starting point for a conversation.
  6. Impress clients. Follow your clients and prospective clients. Learn about their businesses and follow the conversations they’re having with their clients, partners and even employees. You can share this knowledge with your clients and even tap into it in building out proposals or offering solutions.

Are you on Twitter? What reasons would you add to this list?