Twitter is by far and away the fastest growing social media site (even more than Facebook). Two hundred and fifty million times a day, someone tweets a 140-character message telling followers, “Here’s what I’m doing.” It’s the central theme of Twitter.

Frankly, I never got it. Other than my immediate family, I have zero interest in what someone else had for dinner. Even more confusing to me is why anyone would have one iota of interest in the mundane details of my life when I barely do.

Fast forward two months and I’ve done a 180-deg. turn. My perception of Twitter now is that it’s the most powerful social media tool and the only one that can directly get you freight business. If social media is a cocktail reception, Twitter is the life of the party—the smartest and most entertaining person in the room. There’s no small talk. It’s a fast, simple way to share conversations, grow a network, and even do a little business. Like most baby boomers who aspire to stay hip by embracing new technology, I found Twitter to be far less intimidating than expected once I got into it. Here are just a few of the things I’ve learned:

What do I say? At the beginning, say nothing. Simply join Twitter to follow interesting people and get a flavor for how this powerful tool can work for you. Even if you never send a single tweet, there is still tons to learn and a lot of fun to be had.

How do I say it? Think short, positive, and engaging. No one cares that you just had double cheese and sweet peppers on your veal sandwich. Share valuable information and content, making sure to add something relevant before you hit “send.”

It’s not about the number of followers. Unless you’re Oprah, Charlie, or Justin, the number of followers you have means zippo. Bigger parties aren’t better parties. Don’t make the mistake I did by automatically following every person who followed me. You’ll increase your followers but at the same time you’ll connect with fewer and fewer of them. The good news about Twitter is that, unlike Facebook, following does not have to be mutual.

Selling is okay. My thoughts on this have always been clear. I can’t stand pushy peddlers who use Facebook or LinkedIn for cold calling, but the Twitter ecosystem is different. It seems to tolerate—indeed, encourage—self-promotion. I can establish dialogue with customers at a speed only imaginable several years ago. Engaging and building rapport with customers works no matter how you do it.

What about trucking? The opportunities to use Twitter to grow your trucking business and improve your bottom line are unlimited. Attracting converts to your website, proactively tweeting followers about the storm that will impact Monday’s delivery, or sending drivers a relevant article from Fleet Owner are no-brainer examples.

My challenge over the coming months is to translate my positive personal experience into a profitable business experience.

Ironically, one of the many pleasant surprises garnered from my early Twitter experience is my view on “What are you doing?” For some odd reason, I’ve accepted the fact that you’re not a total and utter whack job because you follow every move of your favorite celebrity. There’s something kind of cool in knowing that Bono is currently having a cheeseburger for breakfast because he had a few too many Irish whiskeys the night before. I know a baby boomer trucker who can relate to that. Real parties with cocktails do still exist.

 

Mike McCarron is managing partner at the MSM Group of Companies, which specializes in transportation and logistics service between Canada and the United States. You can follow Mike on twitter here. You can follow FleetOwner here