Social media like Facebook and Twitter are incredible tools that everyone should be using. I particularly value social media’s ability to provide me genuine access to ‘big name’ experts in the fields I am most interested. Time and time again social media has offered me access and advantages that I could not find anywhere else.
Facebook vs. Twitter? Facebook is for keeping in touch with people you know, and Twitter is for initiating contact with people you would like to know better. While Facebook is undoubtedly the most popular social media site, I find Twitter increasingly more useful. I use Facebook for primarily keeping in touch with my family members living around the country, friends, college buddies, and acquaintances that I would generally only contact infrequently.
What is Twitter? The best description for Twitter I can provide is that it is Facebook stripped of everything but the status box, and even it only permits 140 characters. All you provide is your status. I “follow” the people I want to know better. I read their status updates. It reminds me of skimming through a newspaper looking at only headlines. If I want to learn more, there is often a link to a photo, news story, or a website. It is amazing the amount of valuable information I can access within seconds. And it truly is useful. It is as if I designed a paper to have only the articles I want to read. Twitter has become my first source of news in the morning.
Avoid the Numbers Game! Like Facebook, Twitter keeps track of who you follow and how many people follow you. It is indeed vain to spend your time building a long list of followers. I use Twitter as a business networking tool and was at first very interested in building a long list of followers. Don’t. After using Twitter for over a year I can assure you who you follow is more important than who follows you. If you still really want that follow list to grow, provide great content in your tweets. (Yep, that’s what your status updates are called.) The only true way to grow a long list of followers is to follow a lot of people. I think this dilutes the value of the headlines (tweets) I receive. As Seth Godin reminds us, it is more important to have a few followers interested in what you are doing and reading your posts, than a large number that could care less who you are.
My success with well known experts? As outlined below, I have had great success making contact with celebrities and experts of various fields. First, I was an early adopter. I jumped on this social network tool early and learned how to use it, even before many so-called experts knew how to use it best. Advantage, me! Second, I ask. Much of my success in life is owed to this simple yet powerful secret; ask for what you want. I use Twitter to ask questions and request materials. It works. Third, I think some of returned interest has to do with the fact that I work within a unique industry myself. While I am not famous, being a professional speaker and performance chalk artist interests others enough to respond. They see my profile pic, and description accompanying my request, and interest builds. (Even if for only a short time.) And I still think there is something unique about a man named Kelly. My name has served me well. More importantly, however, is the character of those you follow. Follow classy people who are givers, and you will most likely get a response. I follow some amazingly generous people.
Is their really a return on your investment of time using social media? Yes. Return on Investment (ROI) is the current buzz word among business executives, and it is an important factor to consider when adopting social media use, because the truth is, improper use of social media can be a devourer of our time. Like everything in life from trashy novels, television, Facebook, to video games, you need to moderate your time and weigh your gains against your investments. I have found Twitter to be the fastest, least time consuming social network available, and I use it to update my status on other networks (e.g. Facebook). I use my iPhone, check the Tweets, post a tweet, all from the grocery line. As a speaker and performance artist I have been booked for many presentations through my contact through Twitter and Facebook. I have been able to build my brand and my credibility. Social media has certainly brought greater attention to my art and writing as my posts gets forwarded. (When someone likes what you post, they repost it to their followers, and then they repost, etc. It’s called ReTweeting (RT). Without a doubt however, the greatest return on my investment of time is the information I glean from other professionals and the contacts I have made.
Prove it! Social media has been very good to me in granting me access experts in various fields in which I have interest. This is a big deal. First of all, I have received personalized, valuable insight from the top names in their field. Michael Hyatt, the CEO of Nelson Publishing has provided me with personal advice on tools to use within my speaking and writing field. The Robert D. Smith, talent manager for internationally acclaimed speaker, writer, and humorist, spoke with me on the phone for over an hour following a Tweet and provided me with an evaluation of my website and incredible advice to further my career as a writer and speaker. David Pogue, technology writer for the New York Times, and one of the top technology advisors on the planet has not only provided me with personal advice, he has mentioned me and used my ideas in two published articles in the New York Times, and includes me as a contributor in his book, The World According to Twitter. David even asked me for parenting advice as his son, also named Kelly, is dealing with his name as a teenager. I could list many, many more examples, but most recent access granted was with David Blaine the illusionist and performance artist allowing me to ask him a few questions and receiving a signed, personalized, art print from his amazing underwater feat. Incredible! Finally, I have also used Twitter as an incredible customer service relationship with businesses. After attempting to go through a business’s telephone customer service labyrinth, waiting, and waiting, being placed on hold, transferred and transferred, eating up the precious time of my day, and then finally being told that they tried their best and found no resolution I decided to take my request to Twitter. Why should my customer service problem be private and time consuming? Why can’t I just drop my request on Twitter and have them contact me with a solution. And that’s exactly what I did. It has worked wonderfully with all three of my polite, but carefully worded requests; I guess businesses just don’t like being tagged on Twitter with poor customer service. The real kicker? The results arrived much more swiftly and with a sincere personal touch as if someone actually cared about my request.
I don’t share these amazing encounters with you to impress you, but rather to encourage you to empower yourself with this powerful equalizer that is social media. Where else could I gain access to such individuals? The opportunities and rewards are endless. How you decide to use it is up to you. Besides, it’s fun. I have made some great friends and I enjoy reading the posts.
Give it a try.
Consider following me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kellycroy
Kelly Croy is an inspirational speaker, author, and artist.
Kelly’s presentations have entertained and amazed audiences across the nation including corporations, schools, churches, conferences, and numerous other venues where people come together to be entertained and improve their lives. Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.