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Managing the Marketing Delta: Twitter as a Secret Weapon

Here recently, I’ve been feeling pretty sorry for my friends in marketing. Because this has to be one of the hardest times to be a marketer ever.

Oh, for sure, there are amazing tools out there. Crazy-awesome technology that you can use to learn more about your audience or better connect with your customers. Analytics for everything. We don’t have to wonder anymore…we can measure it.

But that brings the inherent challenge of staying on top of new technology all the time. I’ve begun to think of this as the marketing delta. (Delta is used in math to signify change.) Keeping up with the constant change is challenging enough, but it leads to a secondary problem that is potentially much worse: Deciding how to spend your limited focus.

I could go on all day about the problem, but I will tell you that my solution isn’t really a secret weapon. It’s Twitter.

For years, I’ve helped friends who aren’t finding social media effective, showing them how I use Twitter for research. Here’s what I do:

With these kinds of people populating my Twitter stream, I dip in and out a few times a day. Unless I’m following a live-streamed event, I rarely spend more than 20 minutes a day on Twitter total. But I have it open all the time, and I just take a look from time to time to see what the chatter’s about. With this process, I learn about things that I’d never see otherwise.

I also trim the accounts I follow from time to time. Again, once a month or so, I skim through my timeline and ask myself these questions:

If you’re managing a significant need for research in your own field, Twitter is a great tool to consider. (And undoubtedly my interests are particularly well-represented there, because I work in digital communications. But don’t assume that your field isn’t, even if you’re in something very different.)

Whatever your delta, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with the rapid pace of change. Do a little research, devote a bit of regular time to staying on top of the latest trends, and spend the rest of time focusing on what really matters.

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