Sunday, May 17, 2009

Jane Pak Talks About the Power of Twitter for Entrepreneurs

Jane's thoughts on Twitter a great tool for entrepreneurs!

Fundamentally, entrepreneurialism is about ownership.
Ownership is power because you have control over what is yours.
The advent of continuingly evolving technology lends itself to entrepreneurialism
because when you take the time to understand it and utilize it, it becomes a tool
in which you can utilize and maximize the power over your own destiny.

What does that MEAN? Basically it means that as an entrepreneur, you need to harness what tools and resources you can access and are available to you. In the days before email, we were limited in our communication through the technology that existed – print and media advertising, telephone, postal service. You could only develop your brand so much as you could get your message out there – which had hard repetitive costs associated with them. Then came electronic communication – the internet and email – which gave us instant access to audiences around the world and suddenly (thanks to the dotcom era) we could develop our brand by saturating people with communication instantaneously – with optionally minimal impact to our bottom line.

It feels like every day, the second we take the time to familiarize ourselves with the “new” technology – its outdated and there’s a whole new “tool” out there to learn and familiarize ourselves with.

It is important to realize that the technology that we are bombarded with these days all generally fall within the realm of “Social Media”. These are communication tools, which can
be used for a myriad of reasons – but mainly so to project who we are and what we’re about.

Many of us are just getting acquainted with Facebook. We have a page, we have a profile and we change our status pretty regularly and we occasionally find the long lost friend from kindergarten and we say to ourselves, “My goodness, isn’t this Facebook-thing incredible”?

There’s one person who can firmly attest to how incredible a tool Facebook is – our current President – Barack Obama. In fact, many have heard what this past election cycle was dubbed – “The Facebook Election”

But even Facebook is no longer the hot new technology developed to help us communicate with a broad (or target) audience. In comes Twitter.

Here’s the basic ABC’s to what Twitter IS.

1) Twitter is referred to as a “micro-blogging” service – basically you have 150 characters to say either what you’re doing, what you think other should be reading/looking at or anything remotely interesting to passively display who you are and what you find interesting.
2) There is a number of twitter terminology – “Tweet” (your actual message out), “Tweeple” (the people you follow and those that follow you), “Twit-pic” (an application that allows you to tweet photos), “Tweetiquette” (well, twitter etiquette) etc.
3) Tweets often include “Tiny URLs” – this is just a link that compresses the full URL of an article you may be “tweeting” to your “tweeple” (which could include a “twit-pic”)

Generally speaking, for an entrepreneur – why would you be on Twitter?
It all depends. Why are you on Facebook? I like to equate Twitter to the “status update” on Facebook. It’s a limited space in which you say something OUTWARDLY to the vast cyber world. Some people use Twitter as a way to brand themselves. Some use Twitter as a way to show that they are technologically aware. Some use Twitter as a way to keep informed.

There is no simple answer as to why an entrepreneur would use Twitter because its application is broad and malleable. You use it for what you want it to do for you.

For example, I’ve been on Twitter for several months now.
I tweet on average once a day. I follow people who tweet interesting and relevant information and articles on things that matter to me and the overall business community. I go so far as to have those tweets sent directly to my cellular (Mobile Device ON option) so that I can be on top of breaking news. I tweet out when I find something that is relevant to the business world (particularly the women’s business community) and I use it as a tool to SHARE information, which I believe supports our organizational brand of being a resource to women’s business.

I find it my responsibility to be in the know of how these technologies in social media can be of best use to business owners because that is whom I serve. If you’re a business owner that sells widgets, you may use twitter as a way to show that you’re on top of the technologies that exist and as a way to promote your new “twitter-cal-a-fra-ga-listic-expialidotious” application. You could use it to slam your competitor’s faulty widget. You could use it to talk up your employees to boost company morale (if they’re all following you). You could use it to ask for feedback on your new website. Twitter is an open forum. You can use it for what its best use is for you and your business. But you’ll never know if you don’t try and like any endeavor; entrepreneurial or otherwise, do your homework, ask those who are in the know and jump in.

Jane Pak
CEO - National Association of Women Business Owners - Los Angeles (NAWBO-LA)

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