Twitter has been a major part of my startup life. I have always wanted to write a post about how its a very powerful tool especially for all you hustling entrepreneurs out there!

I want to share how I have used twitter to its full potential and how these hacks can help you:

  • Screw the twitter ratio: Yes, I know there is a whole theory that if you have more followers than people you follow, you have a higher chance of getting more followers. I don’t disagree with this. But, when you are trying to start a business or gain knowledge, just follow any amount of *interesting* people or as many *thought leaders* as you can. Knowledge>Popularity.
  • Use twitter as your rss/google reader: See why I told you to follow as many interesting people? When you follow thought leaders, they always post awesome articles including their own blogs. Guess what? Now you don’t have to filter anything or go follow a million blogs. These thought leaders will only post relevant and useful articles meaning you know that these are worth reading. A great example of a thought leader is Hiten Shah from Kissmetrics.
  • Listen more than you talk:  I am guessing that most of you reading this are either starting out or not thought leaders quiet yet. So, just read and follow what others are saying. No one cares if you don’t like Comcast or your lunch sucked unless you have a million followers =)
  • Engage in conversations: I know I said talk less but I never said don’t engage in conversations. If someone you follow posts an interesting article or thought that you want to share your opinion on, then tweet back to them with what you think. Don’t be shy! Twitter is a conversation tool. When you talk, people start noticing you especially if you have something *interesting* to say. If someone tweets a question and you know the answer, reply back and help them out. Chances are you might become twitter buddies.
  • Its your live calendar: Remember how I said following a lot and the *right* people is important? If you do, then you will be updated on what’s happening in the startup scene. Guess what? You might even hear about events which no one knows about just because you follow certain people in the community. I am not just talking about Boston events. I hear about events throughout the country. A couple days ago I came across Hackatrain. Its a hackthon inside the train. How cool is that? Infact the organizer Tom reached out to me yesterday to come. This only happens on twitter! I’d even like to mention another cool event called Hollywoodhackday organized by Rahim.
  • Find opportunities:  Jobs? Internships? Did I just say the two of the most needed things for people? Yes, I did. Using twitter, you will get exposed to opportunities that you would never find on the boring job boards. Infact chances are, that you might even go viral. Take James for example. A tweet from Chris Sacca inspired him to create where people predicted the much hyped Facebook’s closing price. Guess what? He got over 2000 people to use the site in 4 days. Not bad huh? I am sure he got a lot of attention and maybe some job offers as well?
  • Market Research: Yes you heard it right! Twitter can serve as a great tool for research and finding some customers. If you don’t already know about twitter search, you should! Its like a pandora’s box if you are in a business that is going to leverage social media. You can search topics to see if people are talking about or give a crap about it. Eg. If you want to open a pizza shop in Boston. Search pizza in a given radius around a zip code. If a 1000 people are tweeting “I want a pizza shop in Boston” then perhaps its a good business.
  • Its an alternative to email: People have started to do intro’s on twitter! I have personally talked to people on twitter and then continued conversations offline or email. Several times you can DM people and quickly set up meetings. This is a lot faster than going back forth via email.
  • Discover your passion: When we talk about thought leaders, all of them have one or two specific things that they are known for. It maybe social media marketing or creating a personal brand like Gary Vaynerchuk. Start finding what you are passionate about and tweet about it. People will start trusting you for those certain topics. I am passionate about startups. It’s still a broad topic. I haven’t quiet found my topic yet but I will find it as I evolve. Don’t worry if you don’t have one either. Just make sure you talk about something! Find your passion….

These are some ways you can use twitter to its max and I am sure you will discover some of your own hacks. Feel free to share them with me or tweet me @thesmitpatel