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Who's the top twit?

So, it’s official, I am a social media god. Well, a demi-god maybe. I’m number 79 in the tCn/Construction News “twitter100” #tCnTop100. This makes me possibly as hip as B.o.B., the rapper who features on Jessie J’s “Price Tag”. Take the price tag, and the cashback, just give me six strings and a hashtag. Dude.

OK. I know that’s not what he says, but half stack and hashtag… I thought that’s what he was saying for a while.

Still, there’s a message in that, even though misheard. B.o.B. is essentially saying money doesn’t matter, and we should all just do it for love. Righteous.

There’s a problem there though. If I do everything for love, my bank manager will lose his patience at some stage. I, like Jessie J and that Robert chap actually do need to get paid or things could get dicey.

Now, twitter is one of those things where you can’t easily see the return. The FD will be sat there with his calculator and his pens in his top jacket pocket saying “it’s a waste of time and money, where’s the sales?”, probably in a yorkshire accent.

The thing is, the return *is* rather intangible. What do I get for being no.79? Is there a paycheck? Sadly no. I get a warm feeling, yes, but no folding stuff. In fact, I remember chairing an excellent event about the use of social media in construction and no-one could manage a case study of direct profit made from twitter. As far as I’m aware, that’s still the case.

Who else is on the list?@GrantShappsis right near the top. Does he make money out of it? Er, no. What about@eepaul? Well, yes, sort of. He gets work as a social media consultant, and you wouldn’t employ anyone in that context unless they ranked in say the top 80 of any list, would you?

@GemmaWent, who spoke at that social media event, is also top 10. She’s a marketing consultant, and probably gets work because she knows what she’s doing with this stuff, along with a few other subjects. But does anyone actually make money directly from twitter? Well, no, not even twitter make money directly from twitter.

What the people who use it for professional purposes (as opposed to those who use it to tell us that Peter Andre isn’t their favourite person anymore) know is that participating in “the conversation” makes you look good. And that Looking Good leads to work.@GeoffWilkinsonis recognised as one of the foremost building regs men around. That reputation has a lot to do with his online social media activity. And that reputation is pretty good for business for his company.

@GrantShapps does it for influence. He wants people to listen to his opinions. He may even be interested in listening to theirs. Is Grant influential? Well, he looks it to me. Martin Brown (@fairsnape) also gets his opinions listened to, but he has no democratic mandate, just a reputation for speaking sense in 140 character chunks. Twitter can build your reputation.

It’s rather individual of course – as usually people are tweeting in their own capacity rather than their companies (generally, companies prefer that as a less risky option). Corporate tweeting has the air of dullness, and smart individuals realise there’s more long term value to them in building their own reputation than their employer’s. Journalists have spotted this, and the individual accounts of@adders,@zerochamp(both in the 100) and others are much better value than the ones branded with the media they work on.

But then, it’s your people that make you money, isn’t it? Their knowledge, skills, expertise and market contacts are what bring business to your door. Therefore anything which enhances their professional reputations, will increase their ability to win you work. Reputation makes cents, etc.

So all the time people spend climbing the social media ladder, engaging in online conversation about their specialist topics, is actually, indirectly of course, enhancing your companies bank balance. As long as they’re doing it right of course, and not bleating about how nice their omelette is.

You know half your advertising money is wasted, as they say. At least twitter gives you better odds than that.

PS - want to follow me? @rosssturley. Join the conversation. Help me be no.1 next year. @GrantShapps won’t be in it anyway, he’ll be Minister for Something Else by then. I’m after his slot.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Paul Wilkinson

    Thanks for the mention, Ross.

    I do get work as an indirect result of Twitter, though I think it is only part of the reason. I often link to other content, some of which I have generated in other places like my blogs where I talk in much more depth than 140 characters allows, and about subjects where people are looking for advice or support.

    Yes, I do undertake some work as a social media consultant, but the commissions usually arise because people know I also have 20+ years experience in PR and marketing so know how to integrate 'new media' alongside the changing demands of 'old media'.

    Or they recognise that I have unique insights into a particular technology field (SaaS-based collaboration systems - it's a small niche, but it's my niche!) where I have been working, blogging, lecturing and consulting since 2005.

    Twitter, therefore, is an enabler, and I think it can do the same for many other knowledge workers, helping them initiate conversations with people who are looking for help, advice, hints and tips. Simply "Being useful" is the key maybe.

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    I must admit, before I used twitter I didn’t really understand how it could benefit me, after all, looking at the basics of the service, essentially it’s just a platform that distributes statuses. But if IT contractors look upon Twitter this way, they could potentially be losing out on one of the fastest growing business tools in the social networking world today. A pretty big claim, but don’t judge it until you experience the power of the tweet.
    Isn’t it frustrating when no matter how much you ask, you still don’t get a response? Whether through email, forums, surveys ect, getting information from potential clients, customers, and employers isn’t the easiest task. Twitter allows users to find other members/businesses on twitter with shared interests, and unlike Facebook, users don’t need permission to follow them…sneaky! This is beneficial on multiple levels. With customers and business associates alike within virtual reaching distance it is far easier to communicate with the help of an @ sign. If IT contractors advertise themselves well and are produce insightful, interesting tweets than response rates are likely to stay high. Twitter marketing tools such as Tweet Adder enables businesses and the self-employed to carry out extensive twitter marketing plans through its easy to use system which offers automated tweets, profile searches and other following techniques.
    Twitter is also a great tool for directing traffic. Once IT contractors have built up a respectful following, they can then include links to other platforms they may work from like YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, personal websites and blogs.
    Traffic aside, Twitter is the perfect tool for getting your brand recognised in cyberspace. Newly established IT contractors and small businesses need all the help they can get and where better to advertise yourself than in a space where all of your competition, clients and like-minded individuals are all in one place. Users can pick up tips, discover what the hot topics are surrounding their industry and more importantly; they can be heard by their target audience with no tedious restrictions.

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