5 Ways Twitter Helps Me in Business

Twitter logo I’m not sure when I started using the social networking tool Twitter, but it must have been at least a year ago, in view of the fact that I was posting about it in April last year.

At the time I was ambivalent about whether for me it was a distraction or helpful to business.

Part of my concern back then was that I focused too much on the conceptual premise of Twitter, that it was a means of answering, succinctly (within 140 characters) the question “What are you doing?”. That’s the social networking side of things and you could – no doubt many do – use Twitter just for socializing, knowing what your friends are up to and letting them know when you are having a coffee, going to a movie, feeling glum or ecstatic or whatever.

But for many of us, Twitter has also – or more of – a role in how we manage our working/business day. Off the top of my head, here are five that work for me:

  • working solo, it is an excellent way to get help with developing an idea or finding a piece of information, without having to put that on any one person or use the much more cumbersome and slow process of sending emails or phoning people up
  • it is an excellent way of overcoming some of the mental echo chamber effect of working solo
  • it is often a very practical tool for connecting with colleagues across time zones and geographical boundaries – if I want to talk to a colleague in China or the USA and I see them posting a message on Twitter I know they are around and somewhat available, even if it is not a time when I would feel that it’s civilized or even rational to phone – I can send a message on the open thread or a direct message via Twitter or other DM tool
  • it’s a terrific way of finding out from people you trust about events, new software or new online tools
  • because my contacts have conversations with other people who are or may one day be colleagues or otherwise significant in my line of work, I can “follow” them for a while and often they will reciprocate and “follow” me, which for me is a more “loosely coupled”, less intrusive way of us getting to know one another than, say, “friending” someone on Facebook or other social networking sites (actually I think “friending” on Facebook has quite trivialized the meaning of the word “friend”, but that’s another post, some day, maybe)

So a year on, I am quite sure it is good for my business, or at least for “my life in business”.

(Update: I meant to acknowledge that this post was prompted by the thoughts Shel Israel shared in his post on his policy about Twitter followers.)

What about you? Have you used Twitter? Do you find it a time-waster or is it somehow helpful for your business, even if that is just from the “having company while you work solo” aspect?

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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.


  1. Good idea, Liz, to have a checklist. I use Tweetdeck so that I can get a reasonable picture of what’s going on, together with easy-to-see direct messages and replies. One problem is that Tweetdeck does not show all the tweets of people I follow.

  2. Everyone makes the mistake of wasting time with Twitter when they first start out, after all it’s a social tool and we all like to socialize at the ‘water cooler 😉

    Like any other online tool it take discipline and an active planning schedule in order to get the best benefit from it. It’s been a really great tool for me as soon as I figured out how to use it. It’s taken some time but I have a checklist I follow and since then it’s actually worked out quite well.

    Ms.Lizs last blog post..How To Profit From Video Marketing

  3. Nice article. You really nailed it for those of us who don’t work in a typical office setting. One other useful tip.. I was trying to contact an exec at a pretty known company with no luck. I posted a “tweet” and asked if anyone knew someone at the company in sales and/or marketing.

    Interestingly, one person sent me the name and email of a contact, and a PR person for the organization emailed me and offered her assistance.

    I had spent over an hour on the phone and this all happened within 10 minutes of my “tweet” .

  4. I signed up some time ago and tried for a short while but stopped. Perhaps I didn’t yet learned how to make use of it effectively. But I know that social networking can be extremely powerful in communcating with others so I’m going to give it another shot. I have also been reading more about Twitter, so my opinion has changed now, for the better that is.

    Peter Lee
    Work From Home Business Blog

  5. I just joined twitter since everybody’s talking about twitter being very useful to them. hope I can get benefits from twitter as well.. 🙂

  6. I’m still not sure what good Twitter is, but I run Twirl and I’m always twitter from my phone too. Maybe someday I’ll figure it out. 😉

  7. Jeff Makepeace says:

    Twitter is very nice if you have online business. I am using twitter as it include all web 2.0 technology and you can say, you get all the features here. Hubpages, facebook are also nice one which I tried and also doing currently for my online home business purpose mostly on Squidoo and hubpages. Its a nice traffic generator.

  8. Thanks everyone for the comments and nice to see good friends dropping by. I do hope you all find Twitter helpful and not *just* a distraction! On the question of “keeping up” and not “missing things” on Twitter, I think the best bit of advice I’ve had was to see Twitter as a river, not a lake. I don’t stress any more about missing anything. Another metaphor I use is to treat it as (in the English expression) my “local” – a bar I drop into and find old friends, some new ones and can observe the antics of others in good company (think “Cheers” if you remember).

  9. Twitter is a great resource. I sometimes can’t follow conversations cause I don’t check in often enough, but I find it helpful for (a) keeping up on what folks I care about are up to, and (b) getting really great content to use in my work.

  10. Darlene says:

    Hey Des,

    I saw your link at Yvonne Russell’s website. I haven’t spoken to you in a while, so I thought I would come by and visit. I have not jumped into Twitter……. yet! But one day!

    Anyway, I trust all is well with you! Take care!

    Interview Guru

  11. Des, nice informative post. I don’t have twitter and reading the comments above after your post I do believe it’s about time I give twitter a go. Thanks for pointing out its benefits.
    Cheers 🙂

  12. To this day I just can’t see my personal use of using Twitter, maybe I’m just not seeing the whole picture regarding it. But I suppose for some people it could be a postive experience.

  13. Mary Emma Allen says:

    Des, I found this post very interesting and just linked to it at Home Biz Notes. I suggested my readers check out your experiences with Twitter.

  14. Is Twitter continuing to grow in users? I wonder if there is redundancy in using facebook vs twitter for keeping up with colleagues and contacts? Any thoughts?


  15. I’m clearly a late adopter, but now I’ll give Twitter a closer look. Thanks for pointing out its benefits.

  16. Health Home Based Business says:

    Great info about Twitter! I always wondered what all the fuss was about it. Now I know!

  17. Leah Maclean says:

    Even though I’m normally an early adopter Twitter had been one thing that I had avoided. As you say I was in the “it will be too much of a distraction” camp. That was until I read this post in my early morning catch up of favourite reads … so now I can say I’m on the Twitter train.

  18. Twitter becoming more and more useful.
    Betting on new focused services will be born in close future.

  19. Natalie
    I think Twitter is made for telecommuters. One of the biggest challenges for telecommuters has always been “out of sight out of mind” – tools like Twitter help you stay in the loop, both in terms of what others are saying and in terms of their not “forgetting” you.

  20. Same here. I am a telecommuter and work is not socially connected very good at the moment. Twitter allows me to have a social connection with those in the same profession. Now it is becoming more social since work is slow and changing.

  21. @GlendaWH @wonderwebby and definitely good for me to be able to keep in touch this way with good people like you!

  22. hi Des, nice one.
    Yes I find it really beneficial for many of the above reasons, especially when working from home or on client site..it;s a great way to connect with colleagues around the world and meet new minds…like you!

  23. Glenda Watson Hyatt says:

    For me, Twitter has been a bit of everything. It definitely can be a time-waster and distracter. But, it is also the “water cooler” and comaraderie that is often missing when working from home; I no longer work in a vaccuum. I’ve also found Twitter to be faster than RSS.


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