I joined Twitter (@SarahKateSnyder) in 2008 while planning my wedding and immediately stumbled upon a vivacious and dynamic sub-set of the creative community - the wedding industry. I was shocked by the number of lively and outgoing business owners who were using the social network not only to share their work, but also to engage with other well-respected entrepreneurs. As a newcomer to the platform I primarily observed, re-tweeted, and held brief conversations with people whom I already knew.
I spent nearly a year as a passive member with a seldom-used account, occasionally studying various social media strategies, until I finally took the leap and began to engage with new colleagues online. I opened a second Twitter account on behalf of my branding and web design company, Studio Snyder, in an effort to distinguish the sharing of business-related content from that of my personal interest. Armed with two accounts, one personal and one professional, I started getting to know people and soon found myself immersed in the equivalent of a perpetual online cocktail party. Twitter turned out to be fast-paced, fun, and brimming with great conversation, just my kind of place.
Not surprisingly, it was a friendly and forward-thinking contact from the wedding industry who first reached out to me on Twitter with an intriguing opportunity. Michelle Loretta of Sage Wedding Pros was building a network of branding professionals to recommend to her clients and kindly asked me to join their curated group of Sage Branding Specialists. Although this was merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of the ways Twitter has impacted my business, it was a prime example of an opportunity that I would never have had without investing in this amazing network.
Today, approximately half of my clients say they found me through Twitter and I can’t imagine my business without it. I enjoy talking with a wide variety of talented professionals on a daily basis, some of whom I am lucky enough to know in real life but many of whom I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting. The conversations may take place online, but the relationships and networks are every bit as real as those founded in the offline world.
Here are a few tips for finding your voice on Twitter:
When you’re having a conversation with someone on Twitter just imagine you’re standing next to them in line at the coffee shop. Be polite, listen, and add something new and interesting to the discussion. Either offer a fresh point of view, a relevant experience, a helpful recommendation, or ask them to elaborate on something they’ve mentioned that piques your interest. Be gracious, just as you would if you were standing face to face. Don’t talk about yourself all the time, don’t try to sell a product or service incessantly, and don’t take their time for granted. Twitter is a delightful microcosm of real life in that it is about developing a network of support that is rooted in reciprocity. With that reciprocity comes great potential for building networks that are expansive yet personal, instantaneous yet constantly-evolving, and overall unlike any we’ve ever known.
For true beginners, my favorite Twitter tutorial is found at www.momthisishowtwitterworks.com, by the delightfully humorous Jessica Hische. If you’re still trying to decipher the @’s, DM’s and RT’s of the Twitter world, this page should be your first stop.
Sarah Kate Snyder is the President of Studio Snyder, an award-winning design, marketing, and social media agency specializing in branding and web development. You can follow her on Twitter @SarahKateSnyder, her company @StudioSnyder and connect with Studio Snyder on Facebook.
Cake Photo: Flickr