4 days ago, a 15-year old high school Freshman from the middle of nowhere Mississippi found himself with a day off from school for Martin Luther King Day. Did he sleep in? Hang out with friends? Sit on the couch all day and watch TV or play video games? No. None of the above. Instead, he got to work on his computer to find a way to try and add value for one of the most successful investors in the history of Silicon Valley. And believe it or not, he did it. And not only that he did it in just 24 hours time and in only 6 or so total hours of work. As a result, he made a small yet significant ripple in the startup/tech space and more importantly, started to make a name for himself with all the right people.
But let’s take a step back. First let’s talk about how none of this would have been possible without Twitter and why I think Twitter is the most important social network for business networking, both right now and for the foreseeable future.
One of the great things about Twitter is that it’s the platform that you can leverage to take yourself from a nobody to a somebody. You can make a name for yourself around any topic or business sector in as little as 2–6 months with the right plan (smarts) and the right focus (hustle, daily). Certainly the startup/tech space provides the most opportunity in this regard, because just about everyone of any importance in the space is on Twitter and everything changes and evolves so fast with 1,000s of new players entering the arena with new ideas and executions every day/week/month. But I believe this main idea to be true and that it applies to any sector of business.
In fact, I’d even be willing to help craft a Twitter-for-business networking strategy plan for someone that is shaking their head at this entire post and thinks I’m crazy. It might make for a fun follow-up post to this one!
Top 4 Reasons Twitter Is Great For Business
- Immediately upon joining and creating an account on Twitter, you have direct access to ANYONE else who is also on Twitter. This allows you to put in the work (there is no “get-rich-quick” scheme to networking on Twitter) toward making a real connection with any number and any level of potential customers, clients, advocates, or referrers.
- Twitter allows you an inside look into other users lives and more importantly in most cases, what they are interested in, both in business and in life, what they like or don’t like, and often times what they are reading and who they are interested in. This allows you to turn what some would just consider as “stalking” of key influencers and potential business contacts into more of a “bonding” opportunity when done in the right way to engage with them. For instance thanks to Twitter, I know @Jason loves the Knicks, taking his daughter on weekend nature hikes, and looking like James Bond. I know Hunter Walk is a huge fan of Hamilton the Musical. (And I’m not going to throw away my shot to tell you that you should be to!) I know Ryan Hoover has a serious La Croix addiction. I know JulieFredrickson is the next great startup CEO because she doesn’t sleep, know’s her unit-economics, and likes to work from her Casper bed on the reg. When you join conversations around people’s interests and use Twitter to better understand who they are, you are much more likely to be able to engage with them and give yourself an opportunity to build a relationship.
- The top movers and shakers in the business world, who are often “super-connectors,” don’t get as much value out of the social network dedicated to business, LinkedIn. (Which is still a great platform for business!) Everyone wants to connect with them and they are inundated with connections requests which they almost always don’t need to grow their ownbusiness. A lot of them, however, are active on Twitter and if you know how to patiently engage them as in step 2, are indeed accesible.
- If you are looking for customers for a consumer business, a quick advanced Twitter search can be very useful to find users either looking for your product or unhappy with a competitors. Just last month I met with Edgar Blazona and we talked about his startup that sells custom by-the-inch sofas, BenchMade Modern. I did a quick Twitter search and immeadiately found quite a few unhappy sofa purchasers venting on Twitter about their bad experiences that he then reached out to. It might take 10, or 20, or 100 to turn them into a customer. But they are all opportunities of people he knows are or were in the market.
Facebook is for the people you know well, LinkedIn is for the people you work (or have worked) with, and Twitter is for the people you wish you knew (and/or worked with).
Alright so back to the original story and the path of Stefan Stokic our 15-year old developer & Twitter hustler. Stefan’s dream is to build the next great app. As a result he’s been actively following and engaging on Twitter over the last two months with some of the top influencers and success stories in the startup space including the one and only Chris Sacca (if you don’t know, now you know) as well as his managing director @Mazzeo, and countless others including Jason Calacanis, Jason M. Lemkin, and Sam Altman. Just remember this wasn’t an overnight success, he’s been hustling and engaging and interacting via Twitter for two months. So what was he able to do on his day off on Monday? Well thanks to closely following Sacca and Mazzeo, an opportunity to add value presented itself last weekend when they hosted a Periscope in honor of Chris’ Shark Tank appearance last Friday night. During the Periscope chat someone threw out the idea of a website that would house all of Lowercase Captial’s portfolio companies job openings. Stefan got to work Sunday night for a couple of hours and spent another four hours on it on his day off on Monday. He tweeted the link to Chris and Matt who both loved it. In no time they had tweeted it out and it was quickly hunted on Product Hunt. Hustle + Execution = FTW! Keep in mind the site he built was as simple as possible (he’s added filtering and some more to the design since then) but it did the job. It added real value for the Lowercase team and gave them a look into what he could do.
But this is just one great example. There are many others (and I would love to see more in the comments!)
A few of my other favorite examples of leveraging Twitter for business from over the past few months:
- adam bain steals Black Friday Ads from Facebook
- Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, engaging users on Twitter to talk about the new version of the LinkedIn Mobile App and recruit beta testers.
- And just last weekend I saw Dennis R. Mortensen, CEO of x.ai, jump in and engage in a discussion around AI assistants, which his company x.ai is working on.
- You should be using Twitter for business and networking if you aren’t already. Here’s a great resource to help you create a strategy for user acquisition by Austen Allred.
- LinkedIn is a great platform and still a great resource for making business connections, but I personally think Twitter allows you to make better/higher ones if you’re willing to put in the work.
So what do you think? I’d love to hear about your experience using Twitter for business in a response below, on Twitter @ PatrickH, or via email @ patrick[at]millcitytheory[dot]com.
P.S. I started a weekly digest of some of the best Twitter conversations on stuff related to the startup space (aka #TWITCOS). Would love your feedback! Also if you see any great conversations send them my way or tag them with the hashtag!