Oh no, another new tool? That’s what I thought a while ago too when the name Twitter was making its way around the world. Then I decided to try it out last year after the community summit and I was very impressed with it. A lot of Web 2.0 colleagues used it to talk about how the convention was going, even with non-participants.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a micro-blogging service that members can use to send text messages of up to 140 characters. You can read more about it in Wikipedia. Besides being able to send short messages over the web-based interface (which includes pages for cell phones), numerous programs and tools are available for the service because the interface is freely accessible.
I now use Tweetdeck (a service based on the Adobe Air browser plug-in that manages various accounts, can synchronize different computers and also works on the iPhone), tweetlater (which offers various convenient automatic and half-automatic functions) and the access program twhirl; with the Twitterfox extension, colleagues can see updates on an icon on their status bar and update their tweets from a small text input field.
The Twinfluence tool can analyze your reach in the twittersphere in certain ways. The professional benefit for me is very high, although Twitter has, of course, established itself more firmly in specific industries like Internet technology. Our German-English company accout XING_com has 3,952 followers (as of August 13, 2009), and through these followers alone we have 4,024,991 second-degree followers, which are comparable to contacts of contacts on XING.
Our company has the second largest Twitter reach, after Lufthansa, and we have the largest reach that has grown in a purely viral way in the German-speaking countries. My personal “Twinfluence” is currently 508 followers which has given me 720,997 second degree followers. Not bad for a private active account!
Making the most of Twitter
About half of XING’s employees are now using Twitter for their work or in their personal lives. There is nowhere else that I can personally get information relevant to my work as quickly as on Twitter and I can directly contact people who are important to me. Twitter has already become an indispensable tool for our Community Management and CorpCom departments. Opinions spread more quickly on Twitter than anywhere else.
What you should avoid:
Using Twitter for advertising or torturing followers with nonsense! This includes greeting every new follower. You can use personal messages for that. That’s what they’re there for. In my opinion, responsible behavior also includes using your time sensibly – you can do that by using tools and putting some thought into the selection of people you “follow”. You have to set some limits. Otherwise you won’t be able to keep track of everything.
Twitter and XING: Events and Twitter Buzz
So what does all of this have to do with XING? What options are already available for integrating Twitter into XING (we are of course constantly working on new ones)? It’s very simple: Include your Twitter account in your XING profile.
Members with a Twitter account can also twitter their public events directly from XING – which gives them a large reach and a high level of visibility.
You can also use “Twitter Buzz” to stay up to date: Find out who is tweeting what about your company, your city or the topics you select, and recommend interesting tweets!
This application (which is still in the beta phase) gives your a real-time look at the latest news and opinions related to the topics on Twitter that interest you. Click here to go to Twitter Buzz.
You can add Twitter Buzz appear to your home page by clicking “Add this application to my home page”. The program will recommend some interesting tagging patterns, such as searching for topics from your city. You can customize and/or add to these at any time. You can also select specific topics that you consider particularly exciting.
What’s the point? Entrepreneurs can follow what is being written about your company or products. If you have your own company account and dedicate a little time to it, you will quickly see the benefits and have the opportunity to talk to your critics. Like Jeff Jarvis wrote in “What would Google do?”: Your customers talk about you. Get involved and go to where your customers are. Or to quote the famous Coltrane manifesto: “Markets are conversations”.
By the way, you can include your Twitter user name in your profile under “My other profiles on the Web”. You can exchange tips and tricks in XING groups related to the topic, like I love Twitter, Twitter Marketing and Microblogging.
I would highly recommend that active group members tease any particularly interesting articles of theirs on Twitter. Of course, provided that your visibility settings and those of the group allow this.
- Why not promote the XING groups that you like best or that you want other people to know about?
- Or recommend a job you see listed on the Marketplace, or particularly exciting contacts on XING?
- It is also a great way to present your own blog entries.
- International or decentralized teams can use secure Twitter accounts to communicate with each other easily on a daily basis.
You can also use Twitpic to send out pictures from your networking events or to share a particularly beautiful sunset with your contacts.
There are many different ways you can benefit from using Twitter. Have fun finding out more about them and happy networking!
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