Interview with Larry Myler: Engaging via Twitter
Larry Myler is the founder and CEO of By Monday, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in making strategy work in the real world. He is an entrepreneur with seven start-ups under his belt. Over the course of his 33-year career, Myler has helped others improve their businesses by consulting and training for leadership teams and employees in interpersonal communication, profit enhancement, organizational efficiency, survey research, and more. Past clients include AT&T, Shell Oil, Lockheed Martin, and Ford Motor Company. Myler holds an MBA (with international emphasis). He is also the author of Wiley title, Indispensable By Monday a book about what makes an employee indispensable.
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WriteForWiley: Greetings Larry, thanks for joining us. We really enjoyed your December Forbes article on self-promotion and digital marketing; we’re excited to further tap into your expertise, specifically regarding Twitter. Let’s start at the beginning, when did you join Twitter and why?
Larry Myler: I joined Twitter on September 8, 2009, because I wanted to increase my social media presence and reach out to people to share thoughts on business strategy.
When you started using Twitter what were some of your goals? Have those goals changed?
Larry: One of my goals was to transmit information about my blog at forbes.com called “There’s A Strategy for That.” I’m still learning a lot about Twitter and recently have started taking advantage of Twitter as a networking tool. It’s a lot less structured than LinkedIn, but it’s amazing how accessible people are on Twitter.
How do you define Twitter?
Larry: I suspect Twitter has different meanings for people depending on how they use it, but for me Twitter is a virtual casual encounter. In business, we have all had occasion to transact business or get a foot in the door because of a casual acquaintance. With Twitter, we can experience that chance meeting with people all over the world.
Describe your process for generating content. Do you have any guidelines for a target number of tweets per day?
Larry: No. I’ve been told that the most important thing about getting followers is, “Don’t be boring.” If I forced a certain number of Tweets each day, I’m sure that would be boring.
I have some basic content set up to post automatically, and beyond that I tweet when something I’m doing seems “not boring.” It’s taking me a while to get into the habit. There was no Twitter for most of my life, so it does not always occur to me to Tweet things. It’s a learning process.
My Twitter goal for 2014 is to Tweet more at live events. So, stay tuned!
What is the greatest Twitter accomplishment?
Larry: Twitter is instantaneous. It isn’t always accurate, but it is fast. The right content with the right hash-tag can touch thousands of people within minutes. That is powerful.
What are the least successful campaigns/Tweets? What did you learn from these less-successful endeavors?
Larry: As I said above, being boring is a “FailWhale.” If I want folks to read my forbes.com blog, or respond to me, my Tweet has to be interesting, offer them something they want to learn more about. I’m not sure how sexy I can make business strategy, but I try.
We haven’t yet tried to initiate a Twitter Trend, but our company’s new app is almost ready to beta test, so maybe we can do something with that.
How do you measure follower engagement?
Larry: I like to get @replies. Many people I follow have automated messages. Those are fine, I use them too. But an @reply is almost always an original Tweet. When I get those, I try to respond pretty quickly.
I also like to see my Tweets favorited, especially if it links to my blog. That means they are going to read it, and are saving the link for when they have time.
If I Tweet out a link to a new article, and it gets favorites and @replies, I know I’ve struck a chord. Definitely “not boring.”
Has social media influenced your business?
Larry: It is all-encompassing. We use social media. Our vendors use it. Our customers use it. Our customers’ employees use it. Social media is to business today what the telephone was to business in the early 20th century.
Overall, do you think Twitter changed the way business is done?
Larry: No. Business is still a value exchange. Twitter doesn’t change that. But Twitter makes the world smaller so we can do business without borders and boundaries.
Larry: There is a lot of blurring since @ByMonday is my business and the content for ByMonday basically comes from me too. But @LarryMyler is a lot less boring than @ByMonday. I can tell because I have more followers!
Do you have any dos and don’ts of Twitter?
Larry: Do Tweet live events. Do Tweet personal as well as professional posts. Do be positive, hopeful and optimistic. Don’t be boring, critical, negative, or political. Actually, most of that speaks to the dos and don’ts of communication in business generally.
Who are you following?
Larry: I actually follow quite a few people. Mostly they are business professionals, editors and writers, academics, and entrepreneurs.
Do you use any Twitter apps or add-ons?
Larry: Yes I use Tweetadder.
What tools do you find to be the most helpful?
Larry: The automated posting of links to articles is very helpful. Twitter users do not sit around watching their Timelines. They check them off and on during the day, so if I want my followers to see my Tweets, I have to transmit them more than once at different times.
What advice do you have for authors who would like to get started in the Twitter game?
Larry: Writers write. Tweeters Tweet. If you’re going to sign up, follow some people and accounts that appeal to you personally as well as professionally. And Tweet.
Can you recommend some informative books or sites that helped you in the process?
Larry: Most of what I know about Twitter I learned from my admin. I don’t think she’s written a book.
What do you think is the next big thing in social media?
Larry: I have no clue. Many new social media endeavors are flashes and then disappear, which is why Twitter is so impressive. My CIO said three years ago that the tech world was predicting a decline in Twitter use. It hasn’t happened.
Do you have anything you’d like to add?
Larry: Yes. More followers!