I have a problem. I really like Twitter. And you should too.
In my quest to learn and pass along personal branding tips I have experimented with all kinds of tools. I firmly believe you need a good blog to help establish your personal brand. But you need to get people to read it.
In addition to consistently posting Pulitzer quality articles about your area of expertise or interest, you need to utilize the most effective Web 2.0 tools to generate traffic for your blog. And right now one of the best tools for that is Twitter.
Not familiar with Twitter? I hear a collective groan from the existing Twitterers and Tweeps out there (skip to "Tweeting is fun" below). I won't spend too much time explaining what Twitter is. Suffice to say it's like public instant messaging where you update those who choose to follow you about what you are doing, reading, find interesting, etc. in 140 characters or less. Mahalo has a comprehensive guide here.
LinkedIn and Facebook have similar "what are you doing" updates. But I found that my blog traffic increased dramatically once I began following people on Twitter who in return followed me back. I occasionally post my blog updates to Twitter and I have my blog url listed on my Twitter profile page.
Tweeting is fun. Maybe too fun. I'm pretty new to Twitter and decided to jump in with both feet in the spirit of good research. And I liked it. I caught myself sneaking in updates during breaks from Tivo or movie watching. I even joined a Ning network group called Twitters Anonymous! Gasp! And then someone invited me to a local Tweetup, and...I went.
Being a career sales guy I've been to lots of networking events, most of which were fairly useless and pretty lame. But this Tweetup was different. It was hosted by Forrester Research, who's marketing conference was going on nearby at the Gaylord Texan. However at least half of the 50+ people who attended the Tweetup were just area twitterers and social media fans. The topics of conversation were about Twitter, Tweeting, Social Media, and how all this is effecting marketing and business.
I met some great people, including such Twitter and social media luminaries as Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang - see top photo above from the event, he recently won the 2008 Personal Brand Gold Award by Dan Schwabel, congrats!) , and David Armano (@armano) . I even made a silly name tag to wear that looked like my Twitter profile so tweeps would remember me. And of course I took a stack of business cards.
And guess what, my Twitter following grew and so did my blog traffic.
Twitter has also helped me grow my networks on both Facebook and LinkedIn. If you use the Twitter application on Facebook you can kill two tweety birds with one stone by simultaneously updating both. And both Facebook and now LinkedIn have apps that allow you to feed your blog updates directly to your respective profile pages. Do this and many more readers will peruse your bloggy blog, provided you are writing that Pulitzer quality material, or at least something interesting, informative, or funny.
And now here are a whole bunch of helpful links about Twitter...