So, we use twitter, facebook, pintrest and linked for ZynnyMe and for our private practices. I met a great MFT Intern on twitter. From there we met for coffee and I just thought she was awesome. She is in private practice and blogging, using social media, and all that fun stuff. Did I mention she is an intern? That is why I had to meet her. So often interns think they can't do much until they are licensed, but Marnee defies this. So I asked her to post about her thoughts on twitter. Here is what she sent me:
“Why would I want to be on Twitter? It sounds like a waste of time.”
“I have no idea what I’d write in a tweet. Who wants to hear about what I ate for dinner?”
“Twitter’s for kids. I’m too old to start messing with that stuff.”
Do any of these comments sound familiar? If you recognize yourself in any of the above sentiments, you’re not alone. Many people I speak with about Twitter have some of the same objections. They worry that getting an account would be complicated. They’re concerned that if they did actually figure out how to get a Twitter handle, they’d never put it to use.
Allow me to dispel a few faulty assumptions and to give you my take on why Twitter is important and how it can work to your advantage in business:
The super duper basic “how” of Twitter
Getting a Twitter account is free and is fast to set up. In five minutes you could be sending out your first tweet! Just visit www.twitter.com to sign up. Pick a Twitter name, or handle, that starts with “@.” Mine, for example, is @YourOCTherapist. Add a photo and a sentence about you, and you’re official.
The slightly less basic “why” of Twitter
Twitter is a way to connect to others and explore your interests. You can “follow” people or organizations that intrigue you, and others will find you and “follow” you based on what you tweet. The more active you are in sharing relevant information with your followers, the more followers you’ll likely attract. And by “relevant information,” I don’t mean what you ate for dinner. Humor can play a role in your Twitter success, but if you’re promoting yourself professionally, your tweets should reflect that focus.
So, what benefit can Twitter have to you professionally? I have found that having an account, actively tweeting information relevant to my profession, and connecting with others has been enlightening. I’ve discovered organizations and people offering services that I am thrilled to know about. These followers, and those I follow, are resources of information. I also learn about breaking news and events through following newspapers, journals, and local event blogs. Most important, however, from a personal level, has been able to take some of the contacts that I’ve made on Twitter into the “real world.” Business networking can only go so far online. Ultimately, most of us want to work with and refer professionals we trust. What’s been most beneficial to me is to be able to connect via phone and in person with some local mental health professionals to discuss synergies and establish real connections.
So, that’s my pitch for Twitter. It takes little time to set up and maintain, it’s free, and you just might end up meeting some fascinating people with whom to collaborate!
Marnee Reiley, M.A., is a Marriage and Family Therapist Registered Intern in Irvine, CA, who might be tweeting about mental health this very minute at @YourOCTherapist. Learn more about her counseling work with couples and individuals at www.YourOCTherapist.com.