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Why I believe Twitter is the most powerful social media tool and the only one that can directly get you business


Twitter is by far and away the fastest growing social media site (even more than Facebook). Two hundred and fifty million times a day, someone “tweets” a 140-character message telling their followers, “Here’s what I’m doing.” It’s the central theme of Twitter.
Frankly, I never got it. Other than my immediate family I have zero interest in what someone else had for dinner regardless of how many Oscars they have on the mantle. Even more confusing to me: why would anyone have one iota of interest in the mundane details of my life when I barely do?
Fast forward two months and I’ve done the proverbial 180-degree turn. My perception of Twitter now is that it’s the most powerful social media tool and the only one that can directly get you business.
If social media is a cocktail reception, Twitter is the life of the party. The smartest and most entertaining person in the room—no doubt in my mind.
Twitter is a real-time information hotline. It instantly gives you access to the latest scoop on people, places, and things. At the social media party, it eliminates the “small talk.” It makes it easy to identify like-minded people regardless of how off-the-wall your interests may be. It allows you to meet people at lightning speed so you can begin sharing ideas, growing your business network, and forming a new type of community.
Here are just a few of the things that I’ve learned the last two months trying to be life of the party with Twitter as my date:
What do I say?
At the beginning, say nothing. Simply join Twitter to follow interesting people and get a flavour for how this powerful tool can work for you. Like most baby boomers who aspire to stay hip by embracing new technology, I found Twitter to be far less intimidating than expected. Even if you never send a single tweet, there is still tons to learn and a lot of fun to be had just being at the party.
How do I say it?
Think short, positive, and engaging. Old news is old news and no one cares that you just had double cheese and sweet peppers on your veal sandwich. Share valuable information and content, making sure to add something relevant before you hit the “send” button.
Not about the number of followers
Unless you’re Oprah, Charlie, or Justin, the number of followers means zippo. Bigger parties aren’t better parties.
Don’t make the mistake I did by automatically following every person who followed me. You’ll surely increase your followers but at the same time you’ll be bored out of your mind. The good news about Twitter is that, unlike Facebook, following does not have to be mutual.
Selling is okay
My thoughts on this have always been clear. I can’t stand pushy peddlers who use Facebook or LinkenIn for cold calling, but the Twitter ecosystem is different. It seems to tolerate—indeed, encourage—self promotion. It seems to be built for that. I’m confident that with Twitter on my arm at the party I can establish dialogue with customers at a speed only imaginable several years ago. Last I checked, engaging and building rapport with customers works no matter how you do it.
What about trucking?
The opportunities to use Twitter to grow your trucking business and improve your bottom line are unlimited. Attracting converts to your website, proactively tweeting followers about the storm that will impact Monday’s delivery, or sending drivers a relevant article from Fleet Executive are no-brainer examples. My challenge over the coming months is to translate my positive personal experience into a profitable business experience.
Ironically, one of the many pleasant surprises garnered from my early Twitter experience is my view on “What are you doing?” For some odd reason, I’ve accepted the fact that you’re not a total and utter whack job because you follow every move of your favourite celebrity. There’s something kind of cool in knowing that Bono is currently having a cheeseburger for breakfast because he had a few too many Irish whiskeys the night before.
I know a baby boomer trucker who can relate to that. Parties with real cocktails do still exist.
Mike McCarron is the managing partner at MSM Transportation (www.shipmsm.com) in Bolton, Ont., which specializes in moving products between Canada and the rest of the world. He can be reached at mmccarron@shipmsm.com or @AceMcC on Twitter.


Mike McCarron

Mike McCarron

Mike McCarron is the president of Left Lane Associates, a firm that specializes in the “monetizing” of transportation companies. A 30-year industry veteran, he founded MSM Transportation which he sold in 2012. Mike can be reached at mmccarron@leftlaneassociates.ca or at 416-931-7212. Follow him on Twitter: @AceMcC
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