Let’s get this straight once and for all –  Twitter is not a waste of time. Nowadays with so much blatant proof on major news sites, blogs and TV on how Twitter is impacting the world, there is no excuse to think that way.

In case you missed it the massive Egyptian protests were powered by YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and TwitPic, and  Twitter and Facebook helped many with the Japan Earthquake in keeping track of real time updates on how to reach your friends or family. Major events like the Emmys are crossing the line of TV and Twitter by creating a real time conversation with the at home audience and increasing viewership dramatically.

Yet something I hear all the time is:

`How does all this relate to me using Twitter as a useful tool for business?’

Let me answer by saying in so many wonderful ways! As a social media coach I’m fortunate to work with clients who are ready to embrace Twitter and learn exactly how to use this tool to build an online presence, spread their brand message, show their expertise and reach new customers and clients.

In this post I want to help you understand how to do this too, because at a local level people are creating an amazing business ecosystem through tweets. On Friday during my Social Media Bootcamp I asked my Twitter community this question:

How to find work on Twitter

I got several responses within minutes of posting it from entrepreneurs and small business owners like you and me who had tangible proof of how they are making money on Twitter. Simply by responding to calls for help, expertise and opportunities from individuals and companies, these savvy tweeters are gaining new clients, customers and freelance projects. How brilliant is that!

Twitter success stories

There are plenty of people doing it and below I share three responses to my request for real-life examples of Twitter as a business tool.

Taking Twitter To The Real World And A $1,000 Writing Contract

“I’ve been following a local consultant on Twitter for some time and wondering how I could connect with her. Recently I recognized her at a networking event from her Twitter avatar and introduced myself with “Hi! I follow you on Twitter!” She seemed pleased, asked me many questions about my business, and referred me to a new client the very next day! She even recapped our introduction on her own Twitter account. I’m very happy to be working with her and her clients on copywriting and editing projects now.” ~ Jessica Oman,Business Consulting and Writing, www.writeahead.ca

Using Mojo To Stand Out From Thousands To Land Clients

“I used to use an app called Tweetbeep to track keywords that are tweeted (it seems to have gone up in smoke now though) and when I was starting out I would track “Virtual Assistant” (my profession). I replied to a tweet that was caught by the service and she hired me straight away – the biggest reason is that I was easy to chat with, straight forward, and didn’t have 10,000 forms for her to fill out! I think a mistake that some VA’s make is asking the client/potential client to do sooooo much work up front. No entrepreneur has that time – that’s why they’re looking for a VA! Basically, she liked my mojo and how I stood out from the thousands of other VA’s on twitter…which is no small feat!” ~ Stephanie Lee, Virtual Assistant, www.scratchpadsecretaries.com

Profit From Following Your Gut Instinct And A Twitter Feed

I was scrolling through our Twitter feed one morning and noticed that one of the companies we follow mentioned a group called Lemonade Day, which quite honestly sounded delicious as it was a warm day outside. Going by my gut instinct I went on their website and found out a bit more what they do. Lemonade Day is a nonprofit that is dedicated to helping children learn entrepreneurial business skills through setting up one of the most tried and true business ventures- the lemonade stand. Since MyCorporation specializes in providing entrepreneurs and small businesses with incorporations and LLCs, this seemed tailor-made for us to work with. The once-yearly event has never been held in SoCal and I knew immediately that I wanted to bring it out to our community! We’re currently in the very early stages of working with them and look forward to celebrating Lemonade Day
next May! ~ Heather Taylor, Social Media Manager, http://mycorporation.com

More Twitter success stories

How can you get started finding real paying work on Twitter?

Here are some of the tips I share with my clients to really get them thinking. Of course it depends on what you’re after but there are a wealth of opportunities out there just waiting to be grasped.

Start by searching on Twitter

I’d suggest looking at search.twitter.com on a daily basis and typing in keywords and hastags to see what people are talking about. For example you’re a PR consultant looking to work with new clients.

  1. Type in #propportunities #prhelp #mediahelp as examples of individual terms to search on.
  2. Scroll down through the tweets brought up in your search and look for people talking about needing PR help or struggling.
  3. Reach out to them by answering their question, providing a link to a useful resource or at the very least starting a conversation.
  4. Go a step further and visit their blog or website to send them an email or message through their contact form to introduce yourself and provide further information or advice to help them.

Use Google Alerts

This simple free service works by sending you an email as frequently as you choose – as-it-happens, once a day or once per week with keywords you’re on the lookout for. It scours blogs, websites and any mentions on the internet related to what you’re interested in. For example you’re a graphic designer looking for new clients.

  1. Follow similar steps to above and put in 2-3 key search terms like `graphic design jobs’, graphic design contracts’.
  2. Take 5 minutes to read through the daily email in the morning to get a sense of what’s happening with your competitors, contracts available and what people are talking about
  3. Pick your opportunities to follow up on that make most sense to what you’re looking for and clients you want to work with. Get creative!

Got more tips or stories on how Twitter has helped you and your business and how you’ve helped others? Share them below!