Think Twitter's just the latest electronic navel-gazing fad? Think again. The business (and personal) uses are myriad with no limit in sight -- get started with these.

Benjamin Tomkins, Contributor

March 2, 2009

4 Min Read

Think Twitter's just the latest electronic navel-gazing fad? Think again. The business (and personal) uses are myriad with no limit in sight -- get started with these.Here at bMighty, we're still in the process of embracing Twitter; we passed the point of ignoring (or mocking it) last year. But as with most business tools, mastery is elusive. This time last year, no one at bMighty was using Twitter. Today, you can follow me on Twitter, you can follow bMighty publisher Fredric Paul, you can follow bMighty associate editor Jennifer Moline, and you can follow SmallBizResource chief blogging officer Gayle Kesten. And you can also follow bMighty (you'll get a tweet every time something new posts to bMighty).

Speaking for myself, figuring out the best way to use Twitter is an ongoing process. Right now, it's rare for a business day to pass without someone new "following" me. Whether I'm doing something right or not, I've attracted an audience -- albeit a small one -- and now I need to engage them so they keep coming back.

Which brings me to the challenge I know that I don't face alone. What will interest this audience? Do the PR people following me want to know about upcoming editorial plans for bMighty? Do the business owners and experts want biz tips? Do the IT managers want the latest product releases and trend spotting? And what of the personal friends who may care about my adventures attempting to convince my son that he can -- yes, yes he can! -- wear a bike helmet? Then there are the cyclists who might care about my latest ride report or component upgrade. My audience is diffused, dispersed, fragmented, and segmented -- welcome to the real world. This I do know: trying to engage them all with every tweet will drive them away for sure. Fortunately, with 140 characters, I'm not asking for a huge commitment of time, but I need to make every one of those characters count.

In this ongoing quest, I'm always looking for insights and tips about how to do this better. Recently, the ever-insightful John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing posted 17 ways to use Twitter. In keeping with the endless struggle to balance the interests of a multi-faceted audience, not all of these apply to business. As most business owners live and breathe their business, this isn't a new challenge and Twitter is hardly the only place where work life and personal life bleed into one another.

Here's John's list:

  1. Would you like a way to connect and network with others in your industry or others who share your views? It's a good a tool for that.

  2. Would you like a way to get instant access to what's being said, this minute, about your organization, people, products, competitors, or brand? It's a good tool for that.

    Would you like a steady stream of ideas, content, links, resources, and tips focused on your area of expertise or interest? It's a good tool for that.

    Would you like to monitor what's being said about your customers to help them protect their brands? It's a good tool for that.

    Would you like to extend the reach of your thought leadership -- blog posts and other content? It can be a good tool for that.

    Would like a way to quickly find vendors, partners, tech help, even employees for your organization? It can be a good tool for that.

    Would you like to promote your products and services directly to a target audience? Not such a good tool for that, but it can light a path back to your Web site!

    Publish your Flickr photos on twitter - Visit twittergram and set-up an account and then just upload to Flickr but tag your photo twitter and it goes into your twitter stream.

    If you use online todo list Remember the Milk - you can set it up to flow into twitter - this might be a way to assign todos to remote teams

    Using strawpoll you can create mini polls into your twitter stream - great for flash feedback

    Use twitter to keep up on traffic jams with commuterfeed

    Have twitter alert you when you have a meeting with timer

    Get and fill current job openings with tweetajob

    Track FedEx, UPS, and DHL shipments with TrackThis

    Get help quitting smoking

    Keep a diet journal

    Get a tweet when your plants need water - - okay this one would be way cooler if it simply tweeted you when the plant watered itself.

This is a great list, but it barely scratches the surface of what's possible with this particular social media platform. Odds are, you (collectively) could double this list Twitter tips and tricks without breaking a sweat. Let me know and we'll publish the best of them.

Share your Twitter tips by:

Don't Miss: Wondering About Twitter? So Was I

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights