You read that headline right. Some companies may be banning employees from using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter at work or blocking them altogether, but we believe you should be encouraging–even requiring–your team members to create and use Twitter accounts (Facebook is another story). Why? Because when it’s used right, Twitter is hands-down the best way to get the latest information coming from the smartest and most plugged-in people in your industry. Sending tweets is secondary to the act of listening to Twitter: following industry leaders, paying attention to what they’re saying, and actively reading blog posts, articles and other news coming out of your industry. There is more content available now than there ever has been in history, and Twitter is one of the best ways to sort, curate and read all of that information–which is exactly why using Twitter is one of the easiest things you can do to create the best-informed and most intelligent team possible.
Listen and Learn
The problem: Modern information moves at a breakneck pace, and you and your team need to keep up.
The solution: Get on Twitter. Follow the smartest and most innovative people, publications and companies in your industry. Check in a few times a day. Retweet the best stuff, maybe compliment someone on a good share. You don’t need to tweet twenty times a day to reap the benefits of Twitter as an information source. (Sure, it can feel like trying to drink from a fire hose, but we can help with that). It’s not necessarily a big investment of time, but it’s an essential routine to start integrating into your day. (If you’re struggling, create a little schedule for yourself. For example, check when you first log on in the morning, when you come back from lunch, and when you have your afternoon coffee. You get the idea. We think you’ll find that it will start to be as routine as checking email.)
Putting the Pros at Your Fingertips
Think about what kind of professional development your company does now. Maybe you attend some seminars, or send members of your team to conferences or retreats a few times a year. You probably read your industry magazines, maybe a few blogs. Those things are great, and not necessarily replaced by Twitter, but Twitter is faster, more diverse and more nitty-gritty. For example, think about Apple’s recent WWDC presentation, where they debuted all kinds of new additions and improvements to the Apple line. Hundreds of blog posts went up a few hours later, the developments were covered in many national papers the following day, but the play-by-play was on Twitter. Hundreds of people were live-tweeting the whole event, from tech bloggers who were witnessing the action first-hand to others who were just following the premieres online. Twitter was a real-time, on the ground source for all the news from WWDC. It doesn’t replace blog posts or news articles, but it is immeasurably faster. With Twitter, you get the latest information literally the second it becomes available, and that’s why teams that are listening and learning on Twitter are growing, improving and expanding every single day.
Top Down Tweeting
Building a social media culture at your company will require some guidance from management. It’s up to you to establish policies for how and when employees use Twitter and be sure that employees understand what is expected of them (and what’s not okay). But it’s key that you and your employees start using this powerful tool, because the top people in your industry are already tweeting. If you want to compete, you need to make sure that your team is just as educated–ideally, more educated–than the other guys. A profile costs nothing to set up, but we’d argue that you can’t afford not to be on Twitter. Open an account, follow some people, and get everyone from your team on board–today.
We can help you start building a social culture at your company. Our social media coaching packages will have you and your team using Twitter effectively and intelligently in no time. Contact us today to talk about your goals and challenges–this is what we do! Be sure to check out the Vital team on Twitter.