Mark Schaefer’s “The Tao of Twitter”: A Twitter Guide for Beginners and Experts

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My first knowledge of Mark Schaefer came through a classmate, Aaron Sachs (@AaronSachs), who had worked with Mark on some social media stuff for Aaron’s business Symply Social . Aaron sang Mark’s praises to our Advertising 490: Social Media class, and when he mentioned Social Slam tickets were going on sale, I was one of the first in our class (except for Aaron, of course!) to sign up. I was eager to see what this social media conference was all about. I considered the cost of $40 kind of expensive until I realized that attendees also received free food and free books! Included with registration was a copy of Mark Schaeffer’s The Tao of Twitter and Jay Baer’s The Now Revolution. I decided that even if the conference was boring (which of course it wasn’t!), I would still have two free books. Needless to say, Social Slam was an amazing opportunity and I even got my free books signed by Mark and Jay!

Earlier this week, I had time to sit down and read Mark’s book. While I was reading it, I kept finding myself nodding in agreement with Mark’s points. Because I loved the book so much, I wanted to share some of its key lessons with you—or at least what I thought was key. Mark hits on several ideas that I myself have thought of but not been able to put into words. Below are quotes from the book that I will be referencing in many future conversations with friends about how to best utilize twitter.

“Business benefits are created through three elements: targeted connections + meaningful content + authentic helpfulness.” (pg. 11)

These three elements make up the core of Mark’s The Tao of Twitter, and he offers great explanations for the importance of each. I especially like his emphasis on the importance of authentic helpfulness. Just this week, I wrote a blog post about books I wanted to read for summer to beef up on my social media knowledge. Someone over at Wiley Business Books (@WileyBiz) was kind enough to send over a list of social media books they had recently published, 3 or 4 of which I had listed. I was reminded by the list of a few more books I wanted to read, but had temporarily forgotten about. Whoever was Tweeting for @WileyBiz that day had no guarantee that I would buy any of their books or mention them anywhere, but they tried to be helpful and perhaps promote their products a bit. 😉

“ . . . Under normal conditions, Twitter is about engaging, not broadcasting, so it probably does not make sense to just broadcast on a regular basis.” (pg. 40)

This one hit home because of my extreme frustration with some social media specialisists who simply post and repost and re-repost links to their blogs, which contain only information which I already read when I read their books. (Obviously, Mark isn’t one of these people. His blog, {grow}, is an amazing source of fresh, insightful content!) While HootSuite and other services can help you schedule tweets if you will be away for a while, I strongly believe in the need for interaction. While a little shameless self-promotion can go a long way, you need to be sharing good, new content that can actually help your followers learn something that they don’t already know from reading your books. Which leads to our third point . . .

“If somebody only takes about themselves, their business and how great they are, you’re going to want to get away fast! But, if a person shows genuine interest in you, and offers help without regard for their own personal benefit, you will like that person and connect with them.”(pg. 47)

I LOVE following and being followed by people who are willing to interact on Twitter, even if they don’t have an idea in the world about how they “met” you on Twitter. A random Tweet by @AaronSachs introduced me to Kaarina Dillabough (@KDillabough) who lives in Canada and posts some very interesting things about social media on her blog, Decide2Do. As Mark says on page 32, the rule of creating relationships on Twitter is “You just never know!” There may come a day when I could be helpful to Kaarina or she to me. If she ever needs a place to camp out in Georgia, at least she would have an inside contact. 😉 Which brings us to the final quote I selected . . .

“At the end of the day, as long as you are satisfied with the business benefits you are receiving from Twitter, what anyone else thinks is irrelevant.” (pg. 73)

Some people probably think I spend way too much time hanging out on my computer—or my Android powered smartphone—tweeting away to people I’ve never even met in person. But, I find benefit and think that Twitter is providing me with a wonderful opportunity to learn from people that are the experts in the field. No expensive classrooms for me! I’m learning the ins-and-outs of social media from the pros who are out in the field working on it. And, the best of them are following Mark’s guidelines! Shouldn’t you read The Tao of Twitter and get a head start on your future as a member of the Twitter Tribe?

If you are interested in reading a more traditional style review of Mark’s amazing book, you can read some of these great video reviews below or visit the Tao of Twitter site to see a round-up of great reviews here.

Note: There were some minor typos and grammar issues which prevented a five out of five star ranking. I’m sure, however, that Mark is working on these and will have them all fixed for the second printing. Overall, an amazing book!

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3 thoughts on “Mark Schaefer’s “The Tao of Twitter”: A Twitter Guide for Beginners and Experts

  1. Ooooh you dinged me on the typos! Well fair enough : )

    No excuse for those!

    Thanks for the wonderful and comprehensive review! I think this captures the value and core of the book beuatifully! Well done, and thank you!

    • Lol! Sorry, I can be a bit OCD about editing. Blame it on my many journalism classes! Glad you like the review — I loved your book! Besides, I have a lot of books left on my list. Didn’t want to give away the highest rating to the first one . . . ;- ) Stay tuned for my end-of-project rating …. I have a feeling The Tao of Twitter will be very close to the top!

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