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#50: How Consultants Can Use Twitter

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, May 15, 2009
This makes no sense to me but I hear people talking about using Twitter for business. Is there anything useful to adding yet another communication I need to keep track of?

is a "microblogging" service that lets you send 140 character messages to individuals who are connected to you and to all people who are "following" you. Originally conceived as a way to keep tabs on social activities, it is evolving into an interesting business tool. Twitter users vary considerably in who they are, what they write ("tweet") about and how active they are.

Like many social networking tools being turned into business use, Twitter has a growing following of business users. Who ever thought Facebook or MySpace, the province of students, would ever give rise to into LinkedIn, with more than 600,000 management consultants and 40 million total members? As useful as LinkedIn is (if you are using it effectively and not just assuming your being listed is enough), you are to be forgiven for thinking that Twitter can have little business value.

The trick is to carefully select who you follow. Some of the people I follow are Tony Restell (tonyrestell), the editor of Top-Consultant) who tweets several times a day about new issues in the consulting profession, the Wall Street Journal (wsj) and Fast Company (fastcompany), which let me know about emerging business issues, and an evolving set of people who tweet about R&D and innovation (I will need some time to settle on who I really want to follow).

The other side of the issue is who is following you and how to get more people to follow you. This is not narcissism; it is a solid business strategy to induce people who are interested in your business to hear what you have to say about your research, activities and commentary on current events. One good way to get someone to follow you is to follow them. With a minimum commitment of time, you can communicate with new information sources and current or prospective clients.

Tip: The bottom line is that Twitter is still evolving in how businesses can use it and management consultants should be at the forefront of this trend - if not for themselves, then at least for their clients. Spend a little time looking into how Twitter may be a powerful addition to your business for communication, market research, branding or prospecting. Look at the growing list of articles about business use of Twitter.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  communication  contact information  marketing  technology  trends 

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Comments on this post...

Mary Adams CMC says...
Posted Saturday, May 16, 2009
I have been blogging for more than a year and I am beginning to get prospects from it. May sound like a long journey but, to me, it's a resource that I will be able to harvest over a long time.

The big lesson for me on blogging is the boost it has given my website in the search engines. In fact, the site that I launched on September 1, 2009 is built in a Wordpress template: It cost me next to nothing but gets very good traffic.

I start with an explanation of blogging because, to me, Twitter is just a new way to blog. In fact, I remember meeting a social media expert six months ago. I told him I blogged but I didn't Twitter. He told me, "you will."

I was at a conference in Europe in April. There were people Twittering there. All of a sudden I got it. Yes, I blog about ideas that are important to me. But what about all the little factlets that I come across every day--why not share those too?

I actually launched my Twitter career at the IMC New England Annual Conference. You can see my tweets and those of my colleagues that day if you go to Twitter and type in IMCNE--or use this URL:

Too soon to tell how it will affect my blog. Tweets do not get captured in search engines yet. I am following 14 people and have 23 followers. But I also have my Tweets on a page on my website. I view it, at a minimum, as a personal bibliography. I'm sure there will be people that appreciate it. And it keeps me on the cutting edge.

Crucial to my business? No. But I believe it will be increasingly valuable. Understanding the power of the bottom up (the essence of social media) will be critical to my clients in the coming years.
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Jeffrey A. Bandrowski says...
Posted Monday, May 18, 2009
Your comments were very helpful. I've needed a little push to get more than my toe in the water and just jump in to this social networking pool. I'll let you know how it turns out.
Jeff Bandrowski
Coast Financial Advisors.
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