Sunday, May 3, 2009

Slow to Start, Fast to Warm Up - Part 2 - My Business Use of Twitter

A couple of weeks ago I fired up my Twitter use in earnest after hearing Guy Kawasaki speak about the possibilities for Twitter in business at SES NY in March. He laid out several ways that businesses can and should be using Twitter, many of which I have described below in previous posts. What follows is a quick description of how I am using Twitter for my Utah Real Estate Brokerage.

Most of my current real estate clients are my "friends" on
Facebook. As a result, when I began to Twitter I didn't really see the need to follow anybody on Twitter who I currently had an established relationship with on Facebook. I also remembered something that Marty Weintraub of AimClear said at one of the SES sessions: Twitter is an amazing testing ground for business ideas. He advised us to try all different kinds of things and then monitor results. He said that it's the best real-time data you can get. So, if you are unsure of your focus or direction, just dive in.

I bought this. I began to use the search function to look up keywords like "REALTOR" and "Utah Real Estate" to see what the
Twittosphere was saying about these subjects. Perhaps not surprisingly, people from all over the world were complaining about their REALTORS and related subjects. Also, people were tweeting their excitement about house hunting or writing offers. I discovered that Marty was right, you CAN get the pulse of your industry in an instant. It was indeed interesting and revealing.

One tweeter asked if anybody knew a REALTOR in the Salt Lake City area. I got on it, but the tweeter responded back kindly that he had found somebody already. Still, I felt that I was onto something. I also tweeted advice to frustrated home buyers and sellers, encouraging them to tell
their Realtors how they were feeling and not just rant randomly to the Twitterverse. I've made a few friendships this way and am learning a lot about my profession through the eyes of other people's experiences with their REALTORS.

By chance, an old
friend who I used to work with in the Governor's office found me and began to follow me. He had great contacts in the Utah State Government that I began to follow. I also found local media people and we are co-following. I began to list myself in Tweet Directories (one example is: Can't hurt, right? After some thought, I decided that from a business perspective on Twitter, I wanted to keep my pulse on the workings of Utah in general. That may be a somewhat broad goal, but it is where my interest lies because I am also a news junkie.

In contrast to that, a REALTOR friend of mine
specializes in the sale of properties in the beautiful Ogden Valley in Utah, where amazing skiing is only 10 minutes away. Her focus is much more local, which makes sense.

I found following a multitude of subjects arduous, so I downloaded
TweetDeck which I liked. I also found TweetGrid, which allows me to monitor up to 10 subjects at once, and has a wonderful retweet button. My day consists of two separate Tweet times. Once in the morning, and again at night. First, I catch up on my Internet reading which consists of Real Estate, marketing, social media and any other subjects that interest me that day. Once I read it, then I tweet it. Then I conduct searches of several subjects to see what the Twitterverse is thinking that day. I respond or follow as need be. The goal is to get to know what is happened in my market place straight from Tweep's minds, in real time. Marty Weintraub was right again, it has been a very interesting testing ground.

One final piece of advice. Make your profile description succinct and descriptive of you.
Don't leave it blank. Upload a picture of you, your logo or something else that is appropriate to you. Keep it clean because there is a permanent log of what you tweet on your profile. Several people have been fired for the things their employers discover them doing on Twitter. Even colleges are looking up tweets before they accept incoming students. Don't tweet anything you wouldn't want your granny to see. Really.

I would be thrilled to have you follow me at:
. Unless you are an axe murderer or something equally as weird, I will happily follow you back.

Jennifer Bunker

Totally Smitten Twitterer

Slow to Start, Fast to Warm Up - Part 1 - My Personal Use of Twitter

Okay, so I admit it. Like many other people, my initial foray into Twitter was less than stellar. I configured it, looked at it, and then decided it was no big deal. I left my account idle for several months after that.

Then, I attended SES NY in March. Guy Kawasaki gave the keynote and it took him all of about 2 minutes to open my eyes WIDE to the benefits of Twitter for business. I couldn't wait to get back to my office and get going. And that's what I've been doing for a month.

Since I am a Facebook junkie, I already carefully balance my personal and professional relationships there. I've reached a sort of "homeostasis" or happy balance with my little community there and I'm happy with that. So in setting goals with how I would use Twitter, I decided initially to indulge my own interests and hobbies. I began to tweet to the twitterverse everything that I read online in the morning before I get to work. I figured I'd eventually attract others who like the same subjects.

And attract I did. Much to my complete surprise, I attracted about 100 followers a day. I learned early on that it is polite to follow your followers, so I did that too. I didn't tweet much personal stuff (left that for Facebook) but basically I began to build a little library on Twitter (found under my Profile) of interesting articles that I might want to read again. I admit to being a book hoarder in RL, and as it turns out, I'm hoarding articles online! Go figure.

Anyway, what this means is that one big way I use Twitter is as an online library for myself.

Also, when using the Search function, I was able to follow others who are tweeting about the subjects that I enjoy. By following them, they followed me. Now I am to nearly 2,000 followers and I have learned a boatload of new information, have made new Utah contacts, made news people contacts, met other vegans, found dog lovers, and connected with politicos that I would never have had access to before. Since these are my interests, I'm really in heaven. I spend about 1 hour in the morning and one hour at night reading the news and then twittering it. (I had to impose strict rules for myself or I would spend a lot more time than that twittering).

Like anybody new to Twitter, I've also attracted my share of MLMers and Online Marketers as followers. I just let them follow and find that eventually they drop off when I don't show interest. Twitter is full of snubs like that, but nobody's feelings are hurt because we just aren't close enough to care. I also love that you can connect or snub in 140 characters or less. It's a Type A person's dream come true.

So, now I LOVE Twitter and plan to become a force in the subjects that interest me. Quite a self-indulgent hobby, I know! I hope I see YOU in the Twittersphere!

More on how I use Twitter for business in Part 2.

I would be thrilled to have you follow me at