Most people use Twitter to follow the news, stay in touch with friends and stalk celebrities.
Brands, meanwhile, use Twitter to engage their followers by sharing interesting content.
That’s all well and good. But there’s so much more you could be doing with Twitter. As Nancy Reagan once said, “There’s a big, wonderful world out there for you.” Don’t miss out.
Here’s what you could be doing on Twitter…
Get to the Front of the Queue
When Christi Tasker’s flight from Chicago to London got severely delayed, all the passengers around her started making phone calls to book a new flight. Not many of the were getting far.
Christi, instead of making a call, turned to Twitter. Christi explains:
Ann, American Airlines’s sweet Twitter customer service agent was remarkably helpful. If only I could say the same for the airline attendant who was yelling at passengers… Fortunately, Twitter paid off there, too. When I showed the flight attendant the tweet advising me to move to the front of the plane so that we could deplane sooner, the flight attendant declined. I told Ann, who then suggested I show the attendant the request again. Then she complied.
This won’t work with every company – it depends on how much they’re using Twitter for customer services. But increasingly, it is a way to get fast results.
More and more consumers are turning to social media to complain, and they expect a fast response. Recent research found that 42% of customers expect a response to their social media complaint within one hour. Businesses are aware of this trend – and of the public nature of social media – so many of them are upping their game.
Learn How to Write Concisely
Concise writing is a vital skill in the digital age. If you can’t grab attention and make an impact with just a few words, your readers will go elsewhere.
Tweets are always 140 characters or less. When writing tweets, you’re forced to sift out the chaff and focus on what matters. That’s excellent practice for all types of online writing.
Want to see for yourself exactly how much punch you can pack into 140 characters? Check out the winners of Copyblogger’s Twitter Writing Contest. Also take a look at these attempts at Twitter fiction by some famous writers.
Talking of concise writing, @cookbook shares recipes in 140 characters. Why not follow @cookbook to learn how to cook and how to communicate big ideas in as few words as possible?
Find a New Job
Did you know that more than half of jobs are never publicly advertised? They’re in the hidden jobs market. The best way to find these jobs is through networking.
The key is to network with people inside companies you’d like to work for. Twitter makes this easier than ever before.
Forbes writer Susan Adams explains what to do when you’ve found people to follow in your target companies:
Once you’ve built up a good roster of people to follow, start retweeting (forwarding) intriguing tweets by those people. You can also write notes to them, using the “@” symbol and their Twitter handle. This is a good way to build relationships.
Test and Refine Your Blog Post Ideas
Writing a blog post takes a ton of time and effort. So when you write something that fails to connect with your audience, it’s a double downer. First, because it hurts to be ignored. And second, because of all the time and creative energy you wasted.
Fortunately, there’s a way you can test blog post ideas before you write them up. You’ll find out which ideas resonate with your audience, so you can focus your creative output on those.
Growth hacker and entrepreneur Andrew Chen explains how he does this:
Recently I’ve been running an experiment:
- Tweet an insight, idea, or quote
- See how many people retweet it
- If it catches, then write a blog post elaborating on the topic
Next time you’re short on ideas, why not test a few with your audience, and see which take off?
Write a Book
Thousands of people have used Twitter as a way of writing and publishing the novel that we all have inside. Perhaps unsurprisingly, few of them have garnered much traction.
Far better to use Twitter to get ideas and insight while you’re writing a book.
Author Don Miller suggests four ways to use Twitter to help with book writing:
- Tweet a chapter idea and ask if anybody has given the idea any thought. If you hear crickets, skip that chapter.
- Got a powerful one-liner? Tweet it and see if it gets re-tweeted. You might turn that one-liner into a complete paragraph or more.
- Stuck on an idea? Tweet and ask anybody if they’ve read an interesting article about it. Twitter is a great resource tool.
- Use Twitter to summarize an idea. The great thing about 140 characters is it makes you condense your thinking, which is often the essence of good writing.
Network at Conferences
We’ve previously covered how you can use Twitter to sneak into conferences. It looks like a lot of fun – we recommend it!
But you can also use Twitter when you’re attending conferences, as a networking tool. Follow the conference hashtag, and see who’s tweeting about the conference. If you see someone interesting, send them a tweet and ask if they’d like to meet for coffee. It’s a really easy way to expand your circle of contacts.