Twitter for Skeptics

I've never met Don Power, though we've talked on the phone several times.  We were virtually introduced to each other by a former colleague who recognized that we had a few things in common, especially an interest in, and a passion for, social media.  His book, Twitter for Skeptics arrived in my mailbox yesterday and I couldn't have been more delighted.

You might be thinking to yourself: What does Russell need with a book about overcoming skepticism about Twitter? You'd be exactly right in thinking that it just doesn't add up.  I've been a Twitter convert and advocate for a number of years.  That said, I was intrigued to see how my friend Don would approach the subject, specifically with a focus on business and using Twitter to build more of it.

I got the package when I got home at the end of the day, drew a bath, and read it from cover to cover. It's an easy read, just over 60 pages, and a worthy investment of your time and ten dollars (through if you're interested in growing your business opportunities and success.  Even if you're not in the line of selling products or providing a service, if you're in the social profit or voluntary sector, many of the concepts will resonate with what you do, too.

Short on 'how', but abundant in 'why', Twitter for Skeptics offers real world examples of how tweeting can result in profit and business success.  The message that resonated the most with me was that you shouldn't spend the bulk of your time within the 140 available characters talking about your core business:

@CarDude: New car for sale - deep discount - come in this week and get an additional %10 off. Call me now at 555-555-1515. Won't last long. #ymm #cars

- or -

@RealEstateChick:  NEW LISTING sizzles.  Great house in perfect location for families at a price that rocks! Don't wait.  See it today at the open house: 555 Pseudo Address Crescent. #rmwb #housingsales

I've seen these types of tweets, sometimes one right after another, as a sales person is obviously sitting down at their listings spreadsheet and shotgunning one sales message after another.  In every case, when I get bombarded by multiple tweets in a row that have no value to me, I go searching for the UNFOLLOW button and never go back.

Power offers some useful strategies to build your Twitter brand in a way that is authentic, compelling, and effective, with a return on your investment of your time and effort that is proven.

The other theme in Don's book that shines through is the imperative to be a real human being in this medium.  In other words, a human being is more likely to respond to another human being, rather than a faceless corporate voice.  Even in dealing with large companies that use Twitter as a customer service platform, yes your message will come from the mothership, but at the end of the message you'll see a pair of letters,
, indicating that there is a real live person on the other end engaging with you.

If you follow Twitter in our community, you likely know the personalities of the various people who are super active.  @Orangelid, Councillor and Deputy Superintendent Phil Meagher, always has something amusing to say.  @JerryCountry933 is that guy to stirs things up and @McMurrayMusings is going to call it like it is and likely draw your attention to her latest blog that lays it all out there for you.

As a business person or entrepreneur, Mr. Power encourages you to develop your personal brand within the Twitter space, so that one day, you will be known as that ABCD guy or gal, who also sells cars, houses or financial advice.

A great suggestion that Don talks about as you begin to explore Twitter, is to find a mentor, someone who can gently nudge you along and answer some of the practical questions that will pop up.  What's a hashtag and why should I care?  Why should I never start a tweet with @RealEstateChick, or whoever I am referencing?  Where is the best place to put a link in a tweet?

I'm doing a Twitter 101 workshop for the social profit sector on January 29th which serves as an excellent entry point.  By the end of that three hour and a half hour experiential learning workshop, you'll be tweeting, implementing simple tips that will increase your understanding of this micro-blogging platform and how it can benefit both you and your organization.

I have been a proficient Twitter user for about four years, so you might think that reading a short book aimed at skeptics might be a poor use of my time.  That was not the case at all.  I'm always keen to learn more about those things that I'm passionate about, and I found Twitter for Skeptics to be entertaining, informative and inspiring.  I picked up a couple of things I didn't know - as I often do when connecting with Don - and gained some valuable perspectives on how to maximize my use of Twitter in ways that I haven't even begun to explore yet.  I'll likely read it a couple of times.  I might even purchase some copies in bulk to share with friends.

It makes me wonder if I was to write a book about this stuff, what would I call it, what would be my focus, and would anyone read it?  We'll see what happens in that regard, in the meantime, pick up Twitter for Skeptics, it just may be the inspiration you've been looking for to leverage the power of tweeting to build your business.


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