This week I've been out on the West Coast meeting with various companies, and in nearly every conversation Twitter, the social media site, has come up. No doubt about it -- Twitter is one of the hottest social media sites for businesses today.
Invariably, one of the questions I was asked is "what do you write about on Twitter?" So, let me take a shot at answering that question here.
First, you have to remember at all times that Twitter is a "social" media site. One definition of the word social is: "Inclined to seek out or enjoy the company of others; sociable."
And that guiding principle -- of seeking out the company of others and being sociable towards them -- should be your umbrella approach. If you are spending most of your time writing about YOU or YOUR OWN BUSINESS -- then you're not being very sociable are you? "Self-centered" does not equal "sociable."
Recently a comment on Twitter drove this point home, in that unique way that only a short pithy Twitter tweet can do. I had mentioned in a tweet that I was hesitant to point out my latest blog posts on Twitter. My comment was that it seemed a tad self-centered. Tim Grahl responded by saying "I think it depends on your others-centered to self-centered ratio."
That made me stop and think -- it is not that talking about yourself is bad. It really is about how MUCH you talk about yourself.
It's like having lunch with someone. You want to hear from the other person about what's going on in her life. You're keenly interested. But if the entire conversation is about HER life only, and she shows a lack of interest in anything other than HERSELF, after a while she stops being fun to be with. Instead, she becomes a bore.
So, ask yourself this question: on Twitter, what is your "others-centered to self-centered ratio"? If you only ever write about your business or your life, then you may become pretty darn boring fast -- unless you happen to be someone like Sir Richard Branson and lead an incredibly exciting life.
But if you're an average mortal like the rest of us, a complete focus on yourself won't sustain other people's interest for long. On the other hand, show interest in others, and now you have a social relationship going.
So, keeping in mind that ratio of others to self, if I had to divide up my ideal weighting of what to talk about on Twitter, it might consist of equal parts of the following:
* Useful information, news, announcements not related to your own business that you think others would find of value (you're adding value and talking about something other than yourself or your own business)
* Asking questions of others, chatting with others, and responding to others who initiate an exchange with you (you'd be surprised how many business users do not bother to respond to questions -- talk about self-centered!)
* Re-tweeting (i.e., repeating) tweets of others, to share information and blog posts of others, that you think your own followers might find valuable (spread others' good news, too)
* Recent blog posts and news about your own business (don't forget that others do like to hear YOUR news, too -- in moderation)
* Sharing personal tidbits and thoughts and opinions (because Twitter is also an intimate, personal kind of communication and people want to know something about what makes the person tick, not just the business)
What do you think about this concept of "others-centered versus self-centered" on Twitter? If you agree with it, how would you describe what you write about on Twitter? What would be on your list? List it here, or tweet it to me: @smallbiztrends.