Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

Power up your Profile

May 27, 2014

Stand out in a crowdWho are you?

What are you all about, what are you interested in, what are you passionate about, what is your expertise?

What parts of you do you want to reveal and what are the parts of you that are really special that would propel you to success if only they weren’t such a secret?

Are you holding back on your personal power by staying under the radar and not letting people see the special talent and person that you are?

People Power

Pick up a newspaper or a magazine and do you find yourself reading about people? People are interesting and we want to know about them – we’re often more interested in the owner of the business and their story than the business itself. How did they do it?

Online is exactly the same with everyone from celebrities, sports stars, politicians, business people and Joe public all revealing their stories or at least parts of their stories through their conversations, photos and other revelations. We can access this information easily by following sites that reveal all sorts of news and gossip and by actually following those individuals we are interested in.

One of the great quotes I heard about twitter reveals the new opportunity that is available to all of us right now: “It makes famous people ordinary and ordinary people famous!“.

Coffee shop gal

This is a really simple statement but it gives us a insight to a colossal opportunity that is only possible ij this generation. Online you can often find that the ‘star‘ you are following is boring, just posting about products they are endorsing and you discover that the woman who runs the coffee shop around the corner is hilarious and totally engaging. She is the real star!

You can also be a ‘real’ star if you take that step and reveal the special you and harness the Personal Power that you have within yourself that will only come alive once you start flexing your muscles and make your own noise online.

With a clear vision and consistent effort it is now possible for any of us to carefully build our own powerful personal profile by using the opportunities that the online platforms present us.

There are a few simple steps to make this happen:

Clear Objectives – Decide what you want to achieve through your online activity. Write it down!
Who are You – Consider which “you” do you want to reveal online? Map out clearly all the parts about you, that you wish to portray; your information, life and career experience, interests, passions and beliefs
Choose How – Decide how you want to push this “you'” out there including the online platforms that you choose
Tribe – Decide the audience you want to cultivate a relationship with and start following and interacting with them so you get their attention

You may not want to be a star but you might just be interested in the right people discovering ‘you’ and achieving those bigger objectives of yours.

Go on, Power Up and …..make some noise!

Contact me if you are interested in the Power You online programme which I will be starting soon in Dublin and Cork: greg@fuzion.ie

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training in Dublin and Cork

Twitter – Waste of time or a real Gem?

March 21, 2014

Jack Dorsey - Twitter

Happy Birthday Twitter..

On the 21st March 2006 founder Jack Dorsey sent the very first tweet and eight years on while it is growing in popularity it is still quite the most misunderstood of the popular social media platforms.

When we run our Social Media courses the results are nearly all the same, pretty much everyone is using Facebook at some level and just a very few are using twitter. I would safely guess that a maximum of  20% of social media users are actively using twitter.

Is this failure, is this most people deciding that it is irrelevant, is this most people not understanding how to use Twitter or is it an absolute gem that is yet to be discovered by the mainstream?

At Fuzion we take it really seriously because we see the value of it for us and for our clients but we do understand the difficulty that people have with it. By it’s nature it is looser than the other platforms with pretty much anyone being able to follow anyone, your messages are more public capable of being picked up by anyone searching and then there is the business of hash tags, re-tweeting and #FF, that’s Follow Friday, by the way!

Added to that everything is quite limited, how many characters (you have 15 characters in your twitter “handle”) in your unique identity, how many characters you are allowed in a post, how much information (literally describe yourself in 160 characters) you can include in your bio – it’s just different, different enough to scare users off initially before they get to experience the real magic.

The whole experience is very different and in many ways it is attracting quite a different type of user – often a curious individual who loves getting involved in discussions and who loves giving an opinion! Many of these users seem to leave Facebook behind as they find the Twitter experience more enriching.

This trend of choosing Twitter over Facebook is definitely happening – since Facebook went public two years ago the platform is now being dominated by advertising (any business user must advertise now for their efforts to be effective) and this is definitely accelerating the switch for many users.

In the last year we have seen the interface and some of the functionality improve, we have seen the introduction of user advertising and the numbers using the platform have continued to increase.

I won’t start giving a lesson on how to use twitter but I will share with you my Top 10 reasons why we think you should consider embracing it for you and your business –

1. Branded Chit Chat – on twitter you can choose an identity for yourself and every time you post, your “identity” carries with you, it’s like advertising in a subliminal way @prguru. Guess what service that person provides? Even if you are chatting about the latest Liverpool game your identity travels with you.

Oscar's Selfie2. Viral “ability” – of all the social media platforms twitter is the very best for passing on information. The retweet facility makes this possible. I pass the message to my followers, them to theirs and so on. Uninteresting posts will not be retweeted but interesting ones will be. The recent “selfie” from the Oscars caused quite a stir and reached more twitter users than any other tweet.

3. Innovators and Early AdoptorsSeth Godin in his famous book the Purple Cow talks about a typical product cycle and he stresses the importance of targeting people who love new things. These are the people who love to try new things out and then tell their friends, they are generally naturally curious and are often the ones who are vital for spreading the word – before you know it when enough people have heard about “that” new product it enters the mainstream, where volume starts kicking in.

If you have a new product or service you will find many of these innovators and early adoptors are already using twitter- makes sense if you think about it?

4. Avoiding the CrowdFacebook has the advantage of so many users and it is really powerful as a result. However it is a pretty crowded space with more businesses joining it the whole time competing for people’s attention. The chances are that your competitors are already up and running and competing with you in this space. Twitter on the other hand has not been fully explored to the same degree so you can steal a competitive advantage over your competitors and have more of those prospects to yourself.

5. Search – the search facility on twitter is incredible. You can use it to follow topics, to search on people discussing your business and your industry. We find it invaluable in our work with clients and in a “crisis” situation it is really useful. You can literally measure the temperature of a situation on twitter, which can be really useful if you are dealing with a tricky situation. In the last 12 months alone we have used it many times to assist us in our work with clients.

6. Read all about it! – the problem is that it is now impossible to “Read all about it” . With so many newspapers, magazines, radio and tv channels how is it possible? With twitter by following the correct media profiles on twitter you can create your own customised news feed. Everything from your favourite team (have I mentioned this is Liverpool!) to breaking news.

7. Journalists – Most journalists are using twitter – the search function makes it really useful for them to stay up to date on issues. If you start using it you can quite easily follow journalists who may be interested in your sector and if used correctly you will be able to learn what they are interested in and what they are writing about. Use the platform to try to build a relationship with them and then pitch your stories – make sure you build trust before you start pitching!

8. Audience – if you use twitter proactively we believe you have a good chance of building “followers” or an audience for your message very quickly, much quicker than Facebook. However, it’s up to you how you use these relationships once you gather them.

9. Relationships – we have found that the nature of the conversations is quite different and at times they are more of a “community” type – the conversations can happen between groups of people. As a result you can have quite different relationships with people. Once you are capable of holding your own on an issue or topic you will build a good reputation and also quality relationships with relevant people.

10. Fun – there can be quite a good sense of humour around using Twitter and even though your topics might be heavy you can build good relationships around lighter issues, which can ultimately lead to a listening for your key messages. My key message is don’t take yourself too seriously on twitter, have fun, build trust and build relationships – after that spread your message.

I heard a great quote by someone who attended one of my social media courses in Dublin, when comparing Facebook and Twitter – “Facebook is for interacting with people you were in school with, Twitter is for interacting with people you wish you were in school with!”  – This is a big generalisation but it does capture a little bit of the unique spirit that exists on twitter.

Twitter is a load of rubbish, the stuff people tweet is totally useless.. who cares what people have for breakfast

I often hear this type of argument about using twitter so I will leave you with my closing thoughts ..

Twitter is like a radio station, you tune it in by following who you want – find the channels that you like. If someone is annoying you, don’t follow them, block them, change the channel – you are the controller!

So Jack, thank you for Twitter .. I’d miss you if you weren’t there, Happy Birthday!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training in Dublin and Cork

Brushing your teeth and Social Media

November 20, 2013

Brushing your teeth - social media tips, FuzionWe have all pretty much figured out that brushing our teeth is a good thing ..well at least I hope so!

While it is a good thing to do it would be a total waste of time if we just brushed them once a month.

To be effective we get into a simple routine of brushing in the morning and before we head to bed at night. If we didn’t do it we just wouldn’t feel right.

The same applies with your social media efforts ..

Having a presence on the different social media platforms is just a waste of time if your don’t find a proper routine for your efforts.

To be effective you just have to post regularly – At a minimum I’m talking a few posts a day on Facebook, even more on Twitter, a post a day on your personal and business LinkedIn page and if you really want to be a pro at least a new blog post a week!

Are you ready? 

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion with offices in Cork and Dublin in Ireland offer social media training and consultancy services

A New Generation needs Old Values

August 22, 2013

Eminem - Slane Convert

Once again a social media fuelled incident has hit the headlines as a result of the #Slanegirl photos that bounced around Ireland and beyond from the Slane concert recently where the famous Detroit rapper, “the poet for a New Generation” Eminem was the headline act.

If you missed all the drama a young woman (newspaper reports claim she is 17) and an older guy were caught performing an inappropriate act in quite a public place at the gig. The incident was photographed by a bystander, pushed out on social media and before you could blink (or a hash tag was created) the photo went viral by people retweeting and sharing.

This 17 year old girl and the guy involved must now deal with the pressure of a huge media/public spotlight – too much for any young person to cope with.

At a media conference in the US in 2011 celebrity Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post, said that the popularity of Facebook, Twitter and websites like her online news site indicate that “self-expression has become the new entertainment.

We can see in this scenario how Arianna was right at so many levels.

Once any incident occurs good or bad that has an “Oh My God, guess what I’ve just seen” element to it, you are guaranteed that it will travel like wildfire in our New Generation.

Pretty much all of us are now self publishers and with our own platforms and audiences we are armed with powerful devices that can bring something to life within seconds.

As usual after this incident social media got a huge amount of flack and all sorts of issues have been raised- the experts from the legal professions, the various authorities, organisations and social media were wheeled onto TV and radio shows to give their many and varied opinions.

Both Twitter and Facebook did react and pulled the posts down as soon as it became clear how distasteful the content and the act of sharing and commenting was. Unfortunately the damage was pretty much done at this stage – these pictures are still widely available online.

New GenerationWhat can we do to stop this happening? Can we do anything?

The police are conducting an investigation – is the young man in trouble, what about the person who took the photo and what about those who passed it quickly along the chain on the various social media channels?

Who was to blame and how can they be punished?

We will huff and puff but ultimately very little will happen – it’s virtually impossible to shut down the self publishing machine.

Besides demonstrating once again how hurtful and irresponsible people can be, the Slane incident is very frustrating for a number of reasons:

The Social Media is to blame argument

Social media is powerful and hugely beneficial but it is mostly in the media spotlight when something “bad” has happened.

You never really hear in the media about long lost relatives connecting through twitter, businesses thriving by using the platforms cleverly, people publicising causes and injustices or tricky problems being solved online – it is mostly the negative, controversial stuff that we hear about.

We find ourselves blaming the social media platforms and not the users – twitter, facebook and all the other platforms are only as good or as bad as the people using them.

The platforms do have a big responsibility to respond quickly to sensitive issues and have methods of detecting and dealing with inappropriate content. At least accounts were pulled down on this occasion, which will send a strong message to all users who use social media as a core part of their lives.

The Incident

This sort of misfortunate incident is not unique and has been happening as far back as I can remember but the difference is that now we can share it easily so the impact and consequences are much larger, which brings me to the point of New World Rules.

1. We need to be extra vigilant in our new world and be extra careful with any incident in public

2. Accept that the incident will be recorded as nearly everyone watching anything has a phone capable of taking a good photo or even filming the activity

3. Assume automatically that the photo or footage will be shared on one or more social media platforms complete with descriptions and hash tags instantly and with the capability of identifying the individuals in the picture.

4. Assume if the incident is an “Oh My God, guess what I’ve just seen” then it will be shared online and will quickly spread virally

5. Posting or sharing anything online leaves a digital footprint back to you and more importantly gives an instant impression to others about you as a person, good or bad. This impression tends to stay with you.

We can look to the authorities to legislate for such instances and we can work with the social media platforms to introduce better controls and quicker ways to respond but the real job lies with us, the users.

We, the New Generation need to understand the powerful technology that is at our fingertips and we need to use it responsibly. That simple photo, status update, share or retweet can cause untold damage to someone’s life.

We need to think about our own values and the values we pass onto our children – this applies equally offline and online. There is no difference.

We must take our own personal responsibility – if we see something not right when we are out or online we should react and play our part and instead of saying “Oh My God, guess what I’ve just seen” we should be saying “It’s not right ….stop” and report it immediately.

The sooner we realise that old values need to be applied to our New Generation the better.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and training in Ireland from offices in Cork and Dublin

Christmas Interruption ..

December 28, 2012
interrupting christmas

Spend time with your loved ones!

60% off nearly all stock tomorrow

When someone likes our Facebook business page, follows our business on twitter, signs up for our newsletter or follows our company blog  in effect they give us permission to send them updates, news about our business and general communication. When they “sign up” they can’t control when we might interrupt them ..when it happens, about what or how often.

Permission to interrupt is a precious gift that we should respect.

In this “social media” age it’s become part of our ritual to check Facebook and Twitter , even on Christmas morning to see what our on-line buddies are up to, including friends and family – it brings us close ..I’m looking at friend’s children open their Christmas presents, I’m watching other friends having fun pictured in their new Munster Rugby Jerseys, I’m watching family pictures, I’m watching family reunions, I’m watching my “circle” cracking jokes and enjoying their precious family day ..

In between all of this I’m also watching supermarkets,coffee shops, gift shops, hotels, breweries and APP suppliers pitching in …in fairness most of them are wishing me Merry Christmas but a few are way too enthusiastic trying to sell, announcing their sales or offering special deals.

Most of these posts will have been scheduled in advance while their social media personnel were at work before the holidays and definitely not on Christmas day!

For everyone in business …with social media there is a time to interrupt and a time to definitely not interrupt. Christmas day, is a day when it is better not to say anything even when you think you have permission …you don’t!

Merry Christmas!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion provide social media consultancy and training from our offices in Dublin and Cork

Erin, Ciara and Cyber Bullying

November 1, 2012

Teenage DiscoI remember being 13 – it was one of the years I enjoyed most in my life!

I was hanging around with a cool gang, I was discovering Deep Purple, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, I played football day and night – it was a time when we were gaining independence but without  too much responsibility and the “big” school exams were still  a few years away.

And of course there were the girls, the first disco’s (Highfield Rugby Club) …life was great!

Erin Gallagher - victim of cyber bullyingHow could the age of 13 end up being so different for Erin Gallagher in 2012?

I struggle to get my head around how she felt and how social media, something I enjoy so much could play a part in making her so miserable that she took a decision to end her beautiful life.

Just like Ciara Pugsley a few weeks earlier, taking her own life was her best solution to cope with what she was going through.

Social Media?

Of course social media isn’t to blame.

However social media unfortunately provides bullies (let’s face it – they have always existed) with more ammo, with a thicker skin and the ability to bully from a distance and often with a degree of anonymity.

This is why we have a responsibility to step up to the mark and go further than ever before to make sure that bullying is highlighted and that the bullies are stopped and exposed.

Parents & teachers

It’s no longer enough that we can plead ignorance and dismiss Facebook and the other social media platforms as being something for the young folk.

It’s no longer enough to ban our children from using the platforms – they will anyhow.

To protect our vulnerable children we need to jump in ourselves, learn and understand how these powerful and very useful social media platforms work, discover the risks and plan so that these can be managed and minimised.

Lead the way

We owe it to our kids to show them how to:

  • Set up their personal accounts properly
  • Maintain their privacy settings
  • Connect with “friends” safely
  • Think about what they post
  • Post appropriately
  • Spot and deal with inappropriate behaviour
  • “Unfriend” and Block certain users
  • Report Bullying

All of the functionality and procedures are in place to make this possible – learn about them.

Please download our “Safebook” poster , which is a simple aid for parents and teachers to help promote the responsible and safe use of Social Media and assist them in a bullying or inappropriate situation.

If our child is drowning they must know how to help themselves and must know when to ask for help.

Ciara Pugsley - victim of cyber bullyingWe owe it to the memory of Erin and Ciara, their parents, friends and families to take responsibility and help to make our exciting new world a great place for every 13 year old.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion provide Social Media Training and Consultancy in Cork and Dublin

The Influence of Social Media in Politics

October 26, 2012
Romney and Obama - Presidential Debate

I must remember to tweet that !

A big thank you to Lillian King for sharing this really interesting and valuable infographic about the influence of Social Media in Politics, which is very timely before the US Presidential Elections.

After all they reckon that Barack Obama was the first Social Media President ever! (Facebook is credited as playing such a major part in his campaign four years ago)

Have a peep through the very interesting stats and tables shown at the bottom of this post.

The one number that grabs me from the stats is that “In Senate races the candidate with the most fans gets elected 81% of the time”.

Does this mean they were the most popular anyway, or does it mean they connected with more people by using social media effectively helping them to get  elected – not sure?

Ireland

For me in the Irish scenario it really bugged me that so many politicians wanted to be “my friend” before the election and now they are nowhere to be scene.

Social Media isn’t a trick – it isn’t a one off opportunity to achieve a specific goal  (however this may occur as a once off).

Social Media, for politicians (or businesses for that matter) is an opportunity to build a following, an opportunity to communicate genuine messages, values and beliefs – in this crazy world of ours an opportunity to cut through the BS, show where you are on key issues and let people see what you really stand for.

When the election (Christmas!) is over ….grab that opportunity

Social Media Election

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Training and Social Media Consultancy from our offices in Cork and Dublin.

Do we all need to be a Circus Act?

July 13, 2012
Circus Trick - Fuzion PR

Round of applause please!

On the last night of our holidays in Cuba we found ourselves watching a “circus” show as part of the entertainment that the resort puts on every night to satisfy all of the holiday makers including, young couples, newly weds, young families and older couples.

It must be a tough gig entertaining such a mixed crowd but this troop did really well. There were two really acrobatic guys who were skilled, flexible and strong as they worked a number of different routines.

There was a very attractive young woman (of course!) who was equally skilled with a mixture of acrobatics, operating a unicycle, juggling and joining in on some of the routines with the guys.

There was a older guy who was skilled with a whip, who could remove an item from your mouth with one lash and of course there was a Charlie Chaplin type character in an oversized suit with extra large shoes who joked, tripped, fell over, participating in the different tricks, adding humour in equal measure with getting the crowd involved in the show.

All of the performers as well as being really skilled at what they did were all very competent “showmen” (or women!).. for each trick, there was a moment of deliberate tension, a pose, a smile or some other crucial, perfectly timed gesture that gave that important cue to the crowd to applaud and fully appreciate the feats that they had just witnessed.

These crucial “show” elements transformed the demonstration of skills into a “wow” performance, which were the little pieces of magic that was needed to leave everyone knowing they had witnessed something extra special.

Art of the Pitch - Peter Coughter

Ready for the Show?

The circus reminded me of the simple lesson that Peter Coughter gave in his book “The Art of the Pitch

Often the best plans never see the light of day..

When you are presenting your proposal to a prospect that you have put huge work into, always remember that’s it’s not enough to show that you are competent, skilled and can deliver what’s required.

You must deliver a performance to win the business… in his excellent book he tells you how!

Remember …. It’s Showtime!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a PR firm with offices in Dublin and Cork that specialise in campaigns integrating traditional media with social media

The Social Media Salesman

April 29, 2012
Birth of a Social Media Salesman

Birth of a Social Media Salesman

This social media is a total waste of time, we’ve been at it now for over a month and it’s brought us no business” …. It’s not the first time I’ve heard that!

The prospective client that was in with us had a wine wholesaling business and had decided to take it online and had set up an e-commerce website and had also joined the world of social media with Facebook and Twitter pages and even a wine blog.

He was really frustrated as the orders weren’t rolling in and he was about to totally abandon his online efforts.

OK, I started having a peep over their activities and how they had approached their whole online efforts.

They had completed one blog post, they had just made a handful of social media posts in the month and they hadn’t interacted with anyone else on line. They had very few followers on twitter and even less fans on their Facebook page.

The guy who was responsible for the posting was too busy with his day job and was squeezing in his social media activity whenever he had some spare time if he remembered.

Fair enough ….. now tell me how your main business works?” I asked.

The company had three sales reps who reported into a sales manager. Each of the reps headed out each day in their company cars with their order book and called into their list of customers and also popped into some prospective customers. It took a good few years, a lot of hard work and determination to build up the business to the level it was now.

On each call the reps chat about their range of wines, the special offers, the new products and exciting things happening in the industry. They obviously chat about other things with their customers – everything from how their business is going to general chit chat. It’s really important to build a relationship with the customer and to understand them if you want to do business with them. “That’s what the good salesman will do” my prospect explained to me.

Why do we expect the same results from our efforts on social media without the same effort?

With all of our clients when we provide social media consultancy we look for a “Social Media Champion” from within the organisation who knows the business really well, who is willing to learn about each of the platforms, who understands how to communicate comfortably on them and who is prepared to put in the necessary time and effort to connect with users and to achieve results.

Mostly this is not a full time job but the “champion” must be given the time as part of their role to do this properly – think of this person as a Social Media Salesman.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Happy Birthday Twitter! .. Valuable or Waste of time?

March 20, 2012

Jack Dorsey - Twitter

Happy Birthday Twitter

Happy Birthday Twitter..

On the 21st March 2006 founder Jack Dorsey sent the very first tweet and six years on while it is growing in popularity it is probably still the most misunderstood of the popular social media platforms.

When we run our Social Media courses the results are nearly all the same , pretty much everyone is using Facebook at some level and just a very few are using twitter. I would safely guess that a maximum of  20% of social media users are actively using twitter.

Is this failure, is this most people deciding that it is irrelevant, is this most people not understanding how to use twitter or is it an absolute gem that is yet to be discovered by the mainstream?

At Fuzion we take it really seriously because we see the value of it for us and for our clients but we do understand the difficulty that people have with it. By it’s nature it is looser than the other platforms with pretty much anyone being able to follow anyone, your messages are more public capable of being picked up by anyone searching and then there is the business of hash tags, re-tweeting and #FF, that’s Follow Friday, by the way!

Added to that everything is quite limited, how many characters (you have 15 characters in your twitter “handle”) in your unique identity, how many characters you are allowed in a post, how much information (literally describe yourself in 160 characters) you can include in your bio – it’s just different, different enough to scare users off initially before they get to experience the real magic.

The whole experience is very different and in many ways it is attracting quite a different type of user – often a curious individual who loves getting involved in discussions and who loves giving an opinion! Many of these users seem to leave Facebook behind as they find the twitter experience more enriching.

In the last year we have seen the interface and some of the functionality improve and the numbers using the platform have continued to increase.

Most recently Twitter was in the news for how it played such a starring (and deceptive) role during the Presidential elections in Ireland – while this highlights a risk around how people process information without source verification it also shows the instant and incredible power that it has today.

I won’t start giving a lesson on how to use twitter but I will share with you my Top 10 reasons why we think you should consider embracing it for you and your business –

1. Branded Chit Chat – on twitter you can choose an identity for yourself and every time you post, your “identity” carries with you, it’s like advertising in a subliminal way @prguru. Guess what service that person provides? Even if you are chatting about the latest Liverpool game your identity travels with you.

2. Viral “ability” – of all the social media platforms twitter is the very best for passing on information. The retweet facility makes this possible. I pass the message to my followers, them to theirs and so on. Uninteresting posts will not be retweeted but interesting ones will be, remember Simon Coveney’s, famous Brian Cowen post? Simon Coveney did not have many followers when he tweeted that information, it didn’t matter.

3. Innovators and Early AdoptorsSeth Godin in his famous book the Purple Cow talks about a typical product cycle and he stresses the importance of targeting people who love new things. These are the people who love to try new things out and then tell their friends, they are generally naturally curious and are often the ones who are vital for spreading the word – before you know it when enough people have heard about “that” new product it enters the mainstream, where volume starts kicking in.

If you have a new product or service you will find many of these innovators and early adoptors are already using twitter- makes sense if you think about it?

4. Avoiding the CrowdFacebook has the advantage of so many users and it is really powerful as a result. However it is a pretty crowded space with more businesses joining it the whole time competing for people’s attention. The chances are that your competitors are already up and running and competing with you in this space. Twitter on the other hand has not been explored to the same degree so you can steal a competitive advantage over your competitors and have more of those prospects to yourself.

5. Search – the search facility on twitter is incredible. You can use it to follow topics, to search on people discussing your business and your industry. We find it invaluable in our work with clients and in a “crisis” situation it is really useful. You can literally measure the temperature of a situation on twitter, which can be really useful if you are dealing with a tricky situation. In the last 12 months alone we have used it many times to assist us in our work with clients.

6. Read all about it! – the problem is that it is now impossible to “Read all about it” . With so many newspapers, magazines, radio and tv channels how is it possible? With twitter by following the correct media profiles on twitter you can create your own customised news feed. Everything from your favourite team (have I mentioned this is Liverpool!) to breaking news.

7. Journalists – for some reason many journalists have flocked to twitter, which probably tells it’s own story as to how they value it. If you start using it you can quite easily follow journalists who may be interested in your sector and if used correctly you will be able to learn what they are interested in and what they are writing about. Use the platform to try to build a relationship with them and then pitch your stories – make sure you build trust before you start pitching!

8. Audience – if you use twitter proactively we believe you have a good chance of building “followers” or an audience for your message very quickly, even quicker than Facebook. However, it’s up to you how you use these relationships once you gather them.

9. Relationships – we have found that the nature of the conversations is quite different and at times they are more of a “community” type – the conversations can happen between groups of people. As a result you can have quite different relationships with people. Once you are capable of holding your own on an issue or topic you will build a good reputation and also quality relationships with relevant people.

10. Fun – there can be quite a good sense of humour around using Twitter and even though your topics might be heavy you can build good relationships around lighter issues, which can ultimately lead to a listening for your key messages. My key message is don’t take yourself too seriously on twitter, have fun, build trust and build relationships – after that spread your message.

I heard a great quote by someone who attended one of our social media for business courses in Dublin recently, when comparing Facebook and Twitter – “Facebook is for interacting with people you were in school with, Twitter is for interacting with people you wish you were in school with!”  – This is a big generalisation but it does capture a little bit of the unique spirit that exists on twitter.

Twitter is a load of rubbish, the stuff people tweet is totally useless.. who cares what people have for breakfast

I often hear this type of argument about using twitter so I will leave you with my closing thoughts ..

Twitter is like a radio station, you tune it in by following who you want – find the channels that you like. If someone is annoying you, don’t follow them, block them, change the channel – you are the controller!

So Jack, thank you for Twitter .. I’d miss you if you weren’t there, Happy Birthday!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications