Green Industry Articles

Using Twitter to Your Advantage

Wondering whether a Twitter presence can help your business?

Jim Duncan, associate broker and partner with Nest Realty in Charlottesville, Va., talks about ways that Twitter helps him to connect with his community and clients.

Duncan's strategy: "I use Twitter to engage, connect, listen, and learn."

Numbers lie: So what if someone has 100,000 followers? "I don't want more followers, but better followers," comments Duncan. To keep and get those better followers, Duncan believes he needs to be interesting and provide relevant information on Twitter. "People don't want to
follow a company or a market report, but a person," he says. "I follow those who will bring value to my life."

Twitter topics: Duncan offers a glimpse into his life, and he tweets about everything from green events he's attended to his take on energy audits. Frequently he puts economic and housing data into context for followers. Other times he talks about coaching kid soccer teams, his bicycle commuting, and even wasting time in a doctor's waiting room. Those Tweets about daily life are ways, he says, "that I can let people connect with me."

Success rate: Prospective clients he's never met have contacted him and said, "I've been watching and reading you online for the last 18 months. I'm interested in working with you."

Followers know he's a biking enthusiast and have said they'd refer cyclist friends to him because he's attuned to Charlottesville's bike culture. And recently someone called, in part, because they love soccer and know about Duncan's soccer coaching. "Potential clients are looking to form a relationship with someone they trust," he comments.

Concert of social media: All of Duncan's social media activities--Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, blogging, and so forth--work in concert to help him develop an online presence and personality.

"That presence is crucial," he says. All social media activity links readers, followers, and friends back to Duncan's blog, his true online home.

Take it offline: Duncan started doing Tweetups (in-person gatherings of people who've met on Twitter) about three years ago. "Instead of just engaging on Twitter, we'd go have drinks or lunch." The get-togethers have allowed him to meet more people and expand his reach. "It also
enabled me to become better involved in my community."

Keep it real: Duncan often talks about how he rides a bike to commute and show properties. Imagine if he showed up to a new client appointment driving a Hummer and didn't know the first thing about cycling. "It's like an online dating site. You have to be open, honest, authentic and transparent," he says. "Being online is a reflection of real life. You need to live up to your reputation."

Source: Green REsource Council Newsletter, August 2011