I don't much like Twitter. This will not surprise my clients - I often tell them this just after saying they should use it to share their posts and those of their collegues. Why is that? Well, what I know is that about 10%-15% of the folk I am trying to influence love Twitter and use it regularly.
Tweeting the people I'd like to influence tells me two things:
- They use Twitter therefore its a good way to talk with them. Do not call someone who is on Twitter - use Twitter. Pretty obvious really but took me a while to work that one out.
- People tweet about what they are interested in, what they are passionate about. This is great info for me to know when I am trying to build a relationship with them. See my colleague Tom's post about 'liking'.
Also it seems senior executives particluarly like using Twitter. Their lives are full of advisors and gatekeepers. Twitter is a way for them to talk and interact directly with customers and stakeholders in their firms. It provides them with a voice. The people who do this best are not letting others control their voice - they control their own Twitter accounts. This has some risks but the upsides are tremendous if senior execs are given an authentic voice. This is the case with Elon Musk as shown below.
Of course I think you often cannot say enough in 140 characters and I like to drive my audience to our site not somewhere else. So make sure you use Twitter as a channel.
Also in my experience no one cares about my train running late or the soggy croissant I got from Starbucks so I do try to think about what I am sharing and who I am trying to communicate with when I tweet.
The key though, and what separates Musk from most other CEOs, is that he's actually listening--and responding. Take a look at Musk's tweets, and you'll see this isn't some PR team putting their heads together to form appropriate responses. This isn't a social-media specialist that has to get everything approved by the higher-ups. This is the (very smart) chief executive officer of one of the most innovative companies in the world, actively looking for feedback--and using it to solve problems. Come to think of it, maybe it's not so complicated after all.