What Twitter can actually do

23 Mar

Recently I have had quite a few discussions with people here at Palo Alto Software, as well as friends and colleagues, about Twitter and whether it is useful, cool, a time suck, a business resource, or a service with questionable value. While I still can’t tell you exactly how Twitter can specifically help your business, it is definitely proving to be a very interesting way to network with people and market certain businesses.  This morning on my way to work I heard a fascinating story about a Korean Taco truck in LA, and how its owner is using Twitter and great/interesting food to draw hour long  lines to his mobile restaurant:

“As a chef, I always think it’s the food, but I think without Twitter it wouldn’t be anything,” Choi says, “because I could have made these tacos, but I would have had no one to sell them to.” Kogi not only has over 8,000 followers on Twitter, it has customers so loyal they’ve created YouTube tributes and a song (“Ode to Kogi”) on MySpace.

While there is still no definitive “how to” guide for Twitter and business, this story obviously shows the usefulness and unique way in which Twitter helped launch this business into a ridiculous success.  Of course shortly after this story you are sure to see lots and lots of tech-savvy chefs and restaurant owners trying to “me too” their way into Twitter, with no guarantee of the same success. Twitter is changing and growing so quickly that the exact recipe for success changes every day – and sometimes faster than that. The  fact that Twitter has changed some businesses forever is not disputable. The bigger question is how it can change YOUR business?

I wish I had all the answers. The one thing I know for sure is that I have connected and networked with people on Twitter, that I never would have reached otherwise. Just today I was introduced to a new business colleague who may want me to write on her very popular blog, all through Twitter.  I have been able to connect with people who probably would not have answered me in email, and I have used Twitter to keep my finger on the bleeding edge social media space.  I can monitor Twitters that have certain words in them to let me see what people are “chattering” about on Twitter related to Palo Alto Software and our products and services.  I can monitor certain people that I find interesting or I think may have interesting commentary.  I hope that soon I will be able to really put together a Twitter “plan” and recommend concrete uses of Twitter for different types of small businesses.  What I can recommend right now is to just jump in and get started. The worst thing that can happen is that you yourself decide it is not a tool worthy of your time. The best thing that can happen is that you create your own Twitter success, much like Choi and his eclectic Korean/Mexican taco truck, Kogi have.

Good luck and happy tweeting!

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