How to use Twitter to build relationships

social media strategyIt took me a long time to get using Twitter for business. At times it could feel like a chore; follow new people to get new followers, scour the internet for something useful to share, give people a nod every time they interact with you. All in the course of getting an ever-increasing rate of followers and, joy, the ability to direct a fraction of those followers to your material. Then when you’ve got enough followers, sit back and spam them, watching your numbers continue to grow. This is not optimum use of Twitter, though. It has one major, very special function, that takes as much time as anywhere else, and has the potential to reap the same rewards. It’s all about building relationships.

The “grow your numbers and spam them” technique isn’t entirely without merit. If you already have a reputation, or you continually share content that is genuinely useful, then you don’t necessarily need to engage with people for Twitter to be useful. I use my English lessons account to bombard the world with links to free English articles, and the world appreciates that. The same with my health and fitness account. I even did that the Copywrite Now account, with some success.

But when you don’t have a continual supply of useful information to share, for instance if you’re trying promote a product or service with a limited scope for educational value (say, you’re running a garden centre and no one cares if you’ve just released a new series of sheds) then this loud-hailer approach to Twitter is a waste of everyone’s time.

This is because Twitter is like a global chat room. You can choose to engage in conversation, or you can choose to trickle adverts into the periphery.

What Twitter is really useful for, though, for everyone, is building relationships. These relationships can be beneficial for business, for educational purposes (learning from mentors), or just for the fun of it. Whichever result you aim for, it should never be a chore, because building relationships relies on finding people you want to engage with. It will only seem boring if there’s no one in the world whose company you desire. The process seemed so simple to me that I thought I’d go ahead and produce a delightful infographic. That’s what all the hip internet stars are doing these days, isn’t it?

So here’s How to Make use of Twitter (click to enlarge).

building twitter relationships infographic

So treat Twitter like a massive networking event, and you’ll find it’s not only interesting and engaging, but fruitful. You’ll also find it takes a lot of time and effort, so it’s not for everyone. Like any form of human interaction, if you can’t put in the time, you won’t reap the rewards.

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