Did I miss one? Wait. I know, “Twitter is good for finding out what someone had for lunch.” I’ve had this argument far too many times.

This sentiment is usually expressed by experienced Marketing and PR people. People who look at channels through reach marketing lenses. But this isn’t Direct Mail or Banner Ads. This is a channel that your recipients control. You have to understand it before you can embrace it.

Too Many Experts

A common argument is that there too many False Twitter/Social Media Experts. Oh so true, there are very few true experts on twitter. There are a lot of people who understand it’s value, there are also quite a few who don’t get it – and some of these are name brands.

So ignore them or listen with a grain of salt. This person probably knows more about marketing in Twitter (or social media in general) then you do. Sure, they may not be what you call and expert, but they’ve probably been here a while.

Ok, so now we can focus on the Value of Twitter.

Seek Value, Don’t Wait For It

But on the question of value – I think too many are waiting to see ‘The Light’. Well, you can wait forever, but it’s not going to just shine on you.

You can’t just follow a few of your friends and maybe a business partner and expect to see value. Would you expect to get value from putting banner ads on your friends website or just sending your mail pieces to your neighbors? No? Really? Hmmm.

So what you need to do is branch out and look for what other people are doing and saying. Follow a few people in your industry that you respect, see who they Retweet, see who they reply to. Those are the people that they see value in, you probably will too.

You’re not going to get anywhere in Twitter if you don’t put in the effort. And you’re not going to be able to use twitter effectively for your clients until you see the value.

If you’re in marketing and you’re not seeing value then put a little more effort in. There is value in Twitter, but you have to work for it.

Show Me The Numbers

You know what, I don’t have numbers. I could go find some, but I’m not going to. What I can talk about are the benefits that I have received. Here are a few

  • Huge Word Of Mouth marketing benefits
    I never would have been able to get the word out about these projects or nuggets of info if I hadn’t built a network of great people with useful things to say.
  • Industry Friends – not just connections
    I had some of these before, but now I have friends in the industry – people I can have a beer with. People who enjoy talking with me about what’s going on in my industry. That makes my life easier and more enjoyable.
  • Helped Sales Deals
    I can’t say for sure that twitter has closed a deal, but it has been very helpful in resolving problems and bolstering relationships. It grows a relationship and establishes a personal connection. I don’t know about you, but I’m happy about anything that increases chances of closing deals.
  • Learned About Oh So Much
    Yes, I do hear about things quite quickly. Whether that is trends, new apps, or the latest news. I don’t go to CNN or watch tv I listen to my twitter friends. I don’t even use my RSS feeds anymore – if something is of value I will find out through my network.
  • Grown Company Ranks
    I’ve met and recommended people (who were subsequently hired) at my company who I met through twitter.

Wow, I’ve gotten a lot out of twitter. But that list is pretty one-sided, it’s sounds like all take and no give. Well that’s because I do all of these things for other people in my network too – whether it’s recommending some one for a job, talking about their latest project, or spreading links that I find of value.

Still Hate Twitter?

I know. I know. And that’s your prerogative, go ahead and continue to hate it. OR – or you can give it a chance.

Ask yourself if you are looking for the right people and if you are giving back some of what you want to take. Go out there, look for people who provide value. Then go and provide some value of your own.

If all you want is a new channel in which to peddle your clients’ wares then you’re not going to find anything. If you are looking for a tool for building, creating, and managing relationships then you may have just found a goldmine – and perhaps one for your clients too.

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I do have a propensity to talk a lot. It’s who I am and what I do. But lately I’ve been given a few chances to do so to a bit of a wider audience.

Last weekend I spoke at the Product Camp unconference. This is a conference where there are no attendees, everyone is a participant. So at the suggestion of a product manager friend of mine, I offered to talk about Delivering Products in a Software as a Service (SaaS) World. As it turns out there was a bit of interest in this topic.

Adam Covati Talk about Saas at Product Camp RTP

I really enjoyed the talk, it generated some good discusion. Not suprising, and in true unconference fashion, I learned quite a bit also during the talk. This was a great first experience in leading a discussion at a conference – and it was a lot of fun.

Social Media FreshI’ve actually been invited to talk on a panel this August as well. I’ll be speaking alongside a colleague and friend, Mike Rundle at Social Media Fresh down in Charlotte. I was invited to speak there based off my experience of writing applications for social networks. This would be related to my work with idek.net and more recently pici.me.

So if you are interested in social media and how it can be a benefit to businesses – then please check out Social Media Fresh. And if you are coming then be sure to check out the Social Media Tech Panel.

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