I was recently asked to present to Silicon Valley Bank’s Joint Leadership Group on the virtues of Twitter. Actually, I wasn’t given a whole lot of direction on what to talk about, which I think is the result of people not knowing what Twitter is all about. My goal for the 10-15 minute introduction to Twitter was to get the 250 people in the audience to realize that Twitter is more than just Lady Gaga or what I had for breakast this morning (I did have a blueberry protein shake, if you were wondering).
I’ll admit, there is some voyeristic intrigued to Twitter that can’t be denied. I mean, how cool is it for me to know that Lenny Kravitz and I share Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 as our first concerts in life. Without Twitter, it’s likely I would never know that. But I digress…
Back to the professional aspects of Twitter, and why the executives at SVB, or any other commercial endeavor, should care about Twitter. For me, it comes down to relevance. Twitter allows me to periodically check (this isn’t an every day thing; but it is maybe 4-5 times per week) on what my primary constituents are finding interesting to them. It allows me to potentially have richer conversations with those individuals beyond the mundane because I know what interests them. For me, knowing what cleantech articles Vinod Khosla finds interesting is relevant, but also knowing the Peter Fenton likes traveling or that Gary Vaynerchuck has written a new book. Those things are relevant and interesting to me.
One thing I didn’t really outline in my short time on stage is how I really use Twitter, which is like a newspaper. But a newspaper with articles that are tailored and written by people I want to hear from. I think Twitter is an incredible news source, and will likely be of acquisition interest to someone like the New York Times, Dow Jones, or Fox.
As a follow-up to my presentation, I provided these “tips for getting started on Twitter”, that I believe will be shared internally at SVB. Hopefully they can help get you started in the world of Twitter too. Good luck!
* Put a picture up to represent you. Even if just the SVB logo. You need something there that shows who you are besides the Twitter default. I’d suggest something personal on how you’d like to be represented (SF Giants logo, SVB logo, picture of your dog, etc.), or just a nice picture of you (not some corporate headshot though).
* Find 50 relevant people to follow in the venture/PE industry and follow them. You can see who I’m following (@svbmark), or someone like @shaig or @mikeself to find relevant people to follow. After you get 50 people to follow you, go find another 50 people to follow.
* Be liberal at first of following people back that look half-way relevant. However, beware of some nefarious stuff out there.
* Start retweeting interesting stuff that those 50 relevant people are tweeting about. Retweeting is a nice way to give props to people you follow, and gets you into the flow without having to feel like you have to go create content or come up with interesting things to say. It essentially lets people know what interests you.
* DO NOT protect your tweets, allow them to be public to anyone.
* Follow @svb_financial, and retweet stuff that SVB tweets.