Facebook launched in 2004. Twitter, a few years younger, turned nine this past spring. Though only a few years apart, the difference between the platforms couldn’t be more profound. Chief among them, the customer base: 300 million to 1.4 billion active users per month, in Facebook’s favor.
Why do we think this is? Most people have no clue what to do on Twitter. I get confirmation of that at least once a week, while scrolling through random Twitter profiles or talking to friends. According to Twitter CFO, Anthony Noto, the most active users are “early adopters and tech enthusiasts.”
Check out this tweet that I found just last week:
I’m old but new to Twitter and not sure how it works…do I just tweet thoughts or pics? HELP!!!
— XXXXX X Martin (@xxxxxsmartin) July 18, 2015
Here we have a new adopter who is eager to learn how to use Twitter to get the most of the experience. But she doesn’t really know where to start, what kind of information to share, who her audience is, maybe not even who she wants in her audience.
I am one of those “tech enthusiasts” Noto mentioned. I am the type of person to jump into the deep-end when it comes to trying something new. That is how I started using Twitter. The idea of personal brand building had not yet become what it is today, but I wanted to see what all the fuss was about .
I started my @techymarketer persona and I was off to the races. Initially, I struggled with defining myself and my platform: What am I supposed to say here? What am I supposed to share here? How did I figure it out? I watched what others were sharing and I started retweeting or favoriting their stuff. Pretty soon I was commenting on articles, blog posts, and images that I was sharing. Then I started this blog, creating content about content marketing (so cliché). I still hadn’t totally figured out who the @techymarketer was but I was gaining traction and getting attention, so I decided to stick with it, at least in part (my activity decreased for a few years in the middle).
Fast forward to present day, I’m back and have matured and know who @techymarketer is, who her audience is. I have a voice and I use Twitter to share my thoughts, interests, and discoveries. The users I interact with on Twitter connect with me because we have common interests, they like the information that I regularly share, and engage with my content accordingly, and I return the favor, after all nothing says I love you like a retweet.
My audience consists largely of fellow marketers, want to learn about current marketing trends, tools, digital marketing, etc., they do not want to learn about my personal life. I maintain the separation 99% of the time. I created a new Twitter account for more personal sharing: mainly books I’m reading, and updates on my television fixation.
So, why am I on Twitter? I am on Twitter to tell my story and the story of the techymarketer. Why should you use Twitter? Why not? This is a way to microblog pertinent aspects of your life, 140 characters at a time. I dare you to tell your story, take charge of your public persona and be the person you want others to know five, 10, and 20 years from now.
Are you funny? Then tell jokes on Twitter. Love reading about finance? Well make your microblog about finance, share the articles, books and blogs you’re already reading with the world. Share your knowledge. Share your experience. Using the right hashtags will get you all the notice you need to gather something of a following.
We all start somewhere, start with Twitter, it’s easy and fun. A few last words of advice: make your content consistent and compelling, thoughtful and kind, and don’t forget the golden rule.