Twitter is not normal.

I’ll say it again, Twitter is not normal. No taksies backsies.
It is not normal for anyone to type out their comings and goings in 140 characters or less (including your own username and any links you may provide) and send it out to other abnormal people who are “following” what you have to offer via twitter. That’s just not normal. I get it. But part of my job is to teach normal people how to use Twitter.

Everytime I teach this topic there are a few people in the room who attest to hating twitter, wanting nothing to do with it and say they will never use it…I get that too, no worries. But I still have to teach it so have a cookie and a cup of coffee and listen while I tell the others…and as with anything else, we should probably start with the “WHY”.

Why teach twitter? Why use twitter? I would argue that twitter can be helpful to many different business models – including small business and nonprofits. Do you know that currently, only 3% of nonprofits are using Twitter, and that will change over time unless twitter suddenly goes away. (With 100 million users worldwide, that is highly unlikely right now) I can only give you my personal experience with learning and applying Twitter to business and hope that I am able to shed some light on the whole idea of logging in and tweeting regularly.

The first tweet I ever read said “I’m sitting at a stoplight, eating a sandwich”. It was my oldest daughter, then 17, tweeting from her car. Nice. This is the real reason I logged onto twitter a few years ago – I wanted to know what was going on in my daughter’s life and I didn’t want to ask her all the time because that method wasn’t really yielding anything at all. BUT….

Then I started following some people that seemed to have relevant things to say about my business/industry. I listened and eventually became confident enough with my big list of 12 followers to retweet something that an influencer said online. I did this a few times and nothing exploded. phew.

Then I finally tweeted about a class I was giving on email marketing for small business. One of my influencers retweeted what I posted to over 25,000 followers and wow – I had to schedule extra classes to meet the demand. That was the day I realized that twitter might be worth another look for business. And it might not be about reaching my followers. It is, but it isn’t. It’s real power is in reaching influencers who then reach out to THEIR followers.
That is the REAL power of Twitter. It’s megaphone marketing in 140 character spurts. I get it now. (applause)

How to start? Listen. Go to and look for industry terms, competitors, your own name or company name…ind influencers (and follow them). Fill out your profile. Sit tight, read, and when the time is right, retweet to your small following. You should also go to (it’s free) and sign up to have them deliver an email to you at the time of your choosing each day that lays out exactly what’s been said on twitter about, to, or near you.

 I’ve got about 750 followerson Twitter  now, not huge but nothing to sneeze at either. I did it by listening, sharing what was relevant to my list and reaching past my list to their sphere of influence. It’s free. Can’t hurt to login and just watch.

If you want to follow me on twitter, my handle is @julieniehoff
Learn more at

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