Twitter over the passed little while has become, IMHO, an essential tool for product managers and product marketing managers. Articles such as 7 Reasons Why Good Product Managers Must Be On Twitter by Thomas Fuchs Martin and 5 Not Obvious Reasons Product Marketers Should Twitter by April Dunford list reasons why twitter is an essential tool. Without duplicating these articles, some of the reasons they cite include:
- Connect with other PM’s
- Get in touch with (potential) clients
- Listen to customer feedback
- Grow your online reputation
- Get inside the heads of analysts and experts
- Competitive Analysis
The challenge for product managers and product marketing managers is that they are extremely busy and adding another place to go to and look for and disseminate information is a challenge. Having been a PM and PMM for nearly 20 years I have lived this challenge. But Twitter is such an easy mechanism for doing research, publishing material and connecting that I feel it’s worth adding to your list of locations. Blogs are good for details, but you need lots of time to devote to following bloggers. Tweets are short and therefore quicker to read and follow – some have links to blogs or articles, others are part of a conversation and others are live. Luckily I’ve come across a couple of tools that make it easier to focus in on what it’s important to your PM/PMM life.
- Twinbox – This is a newly released Twitter add-in for Outlook. Let’s face it, most PM’s and PMM’s live in their email tool – and in most cases that tool is MS-Outlook. This add-in is great. I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks and find it very easy to setup, use and filter on what’s important to me. Once you have downloaded it and installed it, you simply set your Twitter userid and password and you’re good to go. What I really like is the ability to set up Outlook folders with search criteria for that folder and then all tweets that match your criteria are deposited in that folder. This way you can set up folders that will hold tweets related to topics that you are interested in. It also has the ability to Tweet, RT, etc. directly in an Outlook toolbar.
- TweetDeck – This has been available for awhile now – many fellow ‘tweeters’ use it. I blogged on this in early May; so without repeating the entire blog … with Tweetdeck you can define panes and search criteria for that pane (similar concept as with Twinbox). Tweetdeck then channels tweets that match your criteria into the appropriate pane. A very easy tool to focus in on what’s important to you.
- TwitterBerry, Blackbird, UberTwitter, etc. – Applications that you can use to tweet, search, etc. from your BlackBerry device. All have different strengths and weaknesses – I suggest reading some of the blogs that compare the various applications to determine what will work for you (e.g. CrackBerry.com).
OK – so now you have your tool of choice … what do you follow? Clearly you can’t follow everything; so here are the 3 categories that I believe PM’s and PMM’s should follow (check out my blog on using Twitter for business to learn about #hashtags):
- #prodmgmt – set up a search criteria to channel all tweets with the #prodmgmt #hashtag into a folder or pane or a direct search. This is thee place where product management folks tweet. It alerts you to upcoming webinars, it holds live “tweet-inars” (ok, that was made up), people ask questions and answer questions, etc. etc. It’s a great source of information to get ideas on how to improve your PM/PMM practices and by contributing ideas it establishes yourself as a PM/PMM “expert”.
- Business Interest – set up search criteria to channel all tweets about the business that your company is in into a folder or pane or a direct search. Using #hashtags such as #SCM, #FOI, #DRM, etc. you can read Tweets about the business/market and contribute to the community – making you a subject matter expert. Gain incite into what’s going on in the business that you’re in.
- Your Company/Product – set up search criteria to channel all tweets about your company and/or product into a folder or pane or a direct search. This way you can easily catch what people are saying about your company and/or product and respond quickly.
The best thing to do now is to try it. Good luck … have fun!