Guest Post: There’s Gold in Them There Tweets!

Looks like the communicatrix ain’t the only Twitter apologist in the Marketing Mentor fambly; previous guest mixer and Marketing Mentor client Drury Bynum of Workerbee Creative—that’s @drubynum for those of you on Twitter—also has good words for my current favorite time-waster—er…social media space.

You can’t throw a rock in the blog world and not hit someone evangelizing about how social networks have changed everything. But I’ve always felt it hard to justify my time spent adding friends to Facebook, photos to Flickr or alerting my 68 followers on Twitter that I drink too much coffee this morning. I’ve always thought, "Am I really making connections here, or am I just personality spamming?"

Well, now I’m a believer because I actually I turned a relationship on Twitter into a paying job.

Twitter is a public instant messaging service, where you can subscribe to the posts of whomever you like, and vice versa. Like most, I originally didn’t see the value. Yet it started to become clear when one evening I posted, "Thank God, or whomever, for Pandora." The next morning Pandora was following me. Pandora was obviously searching for Twitter entries (probably with a 3rd party app like Summize) that contained their name, and, as a bonus, accolades. I realized then the value of access to an audience that is actively listening.

The Twitter call to action is “What are you doing?” It should be, “What are you focused on right now?” This clarifies the point a bit – if you answer the first question, you may say, “I’m drinking coffee,” which is a dead end. But if you say, “I’d love to find a way to keep my coffee warm to the last drop,” (I did this) then you’ve created an invitation to respond. If your Tweets (individual Twitter entries) are useful, interesting, entertaining, part of a larger conversation or contain keywords that others are searching for, then you will get attention.

So how did I turn this attention into a paying gig? After posting a link to a video that I had created, one of my followers viewed it and sent me a direct message (via Twitter). "I’ve been following you on Twitter for a little while now and was checking out your blog." In the next sentence, she offered me a video job. Shortly after that, I came very close to securing a video shoot in Portugal after sending a casual tweet to a member of a large filmmaker network. I didn’t get the assignment, but the point was that I was in the right place talking to the right person.

There is obviously no formula for getting work from Twitter, but if you use your imagination and talk about things that are valuable to the Twittersphere, then you will make some valuable connections.