Twitter: The Single-Greatest Relationship and Branding Tool

Last night while enjoying my third Samba Juice cocktail @SushiSambaChi in Chicago, I had a moment of social media clarity: Twitter is the single-greatest social media tool (yeah, I said it).

I was sitting at a table at with seven amazing women I had never met before: architects, designers, producers, entrepreneurs, professors — and all of us were sharing tales from the trenches and some serious laughs.

There was no hidden agenda, no crazy self-promotion, just a bunch of powerful women looking to meet other powerful women. #Success.

These ladies are now firmly cemented in my trusted social media and IRL networks. I immediately created a list for them (WINC) and they will be added to my personal group of go-to Chicagoans, when someone asks for a referral that matches their skill sets.

I’ve done this before; “tweeting up” with a group of strangers in a bar. And every time it happens, both my network and friend base grows exponentially.

Who knows how we came to follow each other and, admittedly, I wasn’t following everyone that I met up with, but it didn’t matter. I was invited to this tweetup, I went, and I walked away with seven new friends. That is powerful.

As social media evolves and changes the DNA of how we do everything, many predict that it will dilute real relationships, alienate people and make it more difficult for people to genuinely connect.

I could not disagree more.

I likely never would have crossed paths with the women I met up with last night; different fields, different friends, different hobbies — there was little that would have caused us to meet. We met because of two things:

  1. Our role as women leaders
  2. Twitter

Why Twittter Works Better Than Facebook

The sort of thing I’m talking about would never happen on Facebook. We are far more guarded on Facebook because we are able to put so much personal information out there, and you carefully select whom you connect with.

I have an unwritten rule that if I have not met you in person, I will not accept a friend request. This necessary safety measure all but ensures that I will never meet anyone new via Facebook. Privacy is at a much higher premium, as it should be.

Twitter is the hidden gem of the social media world. Only 8 percent of American adults who use the Internet are Twitter users. Twitter scares the crap out of people (thank you, @NBCTheVoice) — that’s what is so great about it!

Everyone is on Facebook and, let’s face it, there are A LOT of people who drive us nuts with their over-posting, negative rants and useless updates.

Twitter is the platform for the social media elite. It has a highly developed etiquette system that must be followed. Break the unwritten rules and say goodbye to your followers.

You must learn an entirely new language in order to play in the Twittersphere. You need to really understand the Twitter community in order to understand how to live within it effectively and to use it to create relationships that matter.

Twitter is the definition of new and different, and that’s scary to 92 percent of the American population.

The Power of Twitter

Twitter users know the power of Twitter. That is why brands that understand how to fold seamlessly into the community reap the rewards.

Consider our tweetup last night; a few weeks ago I tweeted about needing a great location for a large party for dinner, @SushiSambaChi tweeted back immediately to offer assistance.

While it didn’t work out that night, that was something I remembered and was certainly impressed by. When we tweeted them that our group was coming in last night, they sent us the name of someone who would take care of us when we arrived — and boy did they!

A flight of their delicious drinks awaited us. Their manager, hostess and chef all checked in on us regularly, and they followed up with thank-you tweets from both their Chicago and national accounts.

You can rest assured that SUSHISAMBA cemented themselves as a favored brand worth frequenting because of that experience.

Additionally, we all made sure to tweet photos and other positive messages about our experience. Together, those messages went out to more than 15,500 direct followers.

Our group spent about $200 in the two-hour time span, and we have scheduled another tweetup there next month. And, here I am writing about it!

If that’s not powerful enough, to further understand the power of Twitter through stats, consider the following infographic:

Power of Twitter Infographic

Twitter users understand the game and we want to reward people and brands who play by the rules and go above and beyond. Check out these statistics from ExactTarget:

  • 17 percent of Facebook users are more likely to purchase from a brand after “liking” it.
  • 21 percent of Facebook users are more likely to recommend a brand after “liking” their page.
  • 37 percent of Twitter users are more likely to purchase from a brand after becoming a follower.
  • 33 percent of Twitter users are more likely to recommend a brand after becoming a follower.

So, as professionals and brands consider their options in the ever-changing landscape of social networking, Twitter is the secret club worth joining (just learn the oath and secret handshake first).

Shannon Downey of Pivotal Chicago

About Shannon Downey

@ShannonDowney is owner of @PivotalChicago, a social media + experiential marketing agency.

She is the producer of @TEDxWindyCity, blogger for @CrainsChicago + @IKnowChicago and is adjunct faculty at DePaul University.

She also sits on the board of directors for Woman Made Gallery and the Firebelly Foundation.

See shannondowney's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (19)
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19 Replies to “Twitter: The Single-Greatest Relationship and Branding Tool”

I totally agree with this article and that Twitter is a great relationship branding tool. I would love to be able to quote some of your stats, do you have a source? Many thanks.


All of the citations are in the infographic. (Including for the stats in the article). =)

Thank you, I have now clicked on these images and the small text is no longer blurred.


Shannon, I greatly appreciate this article. I have been telling myself that I need to Tweet at least once or twice a day. Your post will be the encouragement to ensures that occurs.


How refreshing!!! I totally agree Shannon and am now following you everywhere, and will not pester you with an FB invite :) This article has certainly given me food for thought and some more direction for better managing my love of social media
warm regards

Twitter and Linkedin have more percentage of real people compared to Facebook. If I am serious in doing social media marketing, I would advice my customers go for Twitter and Linkedin first, and the last is Facebook. Even Facebook hit 700 million users recently, but how many of them are real people, how many of them are repeated profiles, how many of them are truly engage with people?

For content sharing, twitter is the best among Facebook and Linkedin. For building strong and closed relationship, Linkedin is much better.

I got a lot of my blog topics from Twitter.

Thanks for this great article, Jessica! :)


Thanks for your thoughts + feedback everyone!

Hi Shannon, sorry for wrong name…..coz I thought this was posted by Jessica, sorry! :)

Hey Shannon!

Pretty convincing article about Twitter, but I’m still a bit nervous in the whole Twittersphere. Perhaps I haven’t learned the correct handshake yet, but I’ll go through short stints of tweeting and then head right on back to FB. The people I follow who are not my close friends seem to only be concerned with shameless self-promotion, so I end up ignoring most of what they say. At least with Facebook, I know the people I’m talking with and can relate to their lives. Can you offer any advice for the newbie? I think I shall follow you and see how this works out for me. Can I get a follow back: @Vampytoto


Thanks Jim!
See you on Twitter.

@Shannon…great post and I love the summation of the FB vs Twitter stats too! have already followed you and would ask for the same too! @JVRudnick


Great post I follow so many links on Twitter, I know I have customers who follow me but usually after becoming a customer. However I not learned to use groups or meet with Twitter people at a tweet up. Cool idea

Chris Bartfai

Love yoir blog, seeing women helping each others business is like watching a flower grow. I belong to an women’s entrepreneurial association and they too have supported each other in growth professionally and personally. I look forward to hearing and following more!!

Finally digital Social Media meets the real analog social arena: bars :)

Shannon, “social media … make it more difficult for people to genuinely connect” and you disagree but let me explain a situation few weeks ago.

I was invited to a local Social Media event for a small group of selected professionals. I entered the room and everybody was tweeting, checking or writing something in their Facebook with their mobiles.

I hardly could introduce myself to anybody. Maybe I’m to old school, too mediterranean, or both, for these things but I swear I was about to run away.


I am sorry you went through that… and I am sure it happens often.

However, I can honestly say you were at the wrong tweet-up.

Come join us at #winc3 :


Thanks Tabitha. I would love to join you but Chicago is far away from Vancouver and the next one, 8th of July, I´ll be flying across the Atlantic for my deserved holidays.


Hi Ani

I hear you! I stick with small group tweet ups + often the ones I attend encourage everyone to do their obligatory check ins and then leave the mobile devices alone until they leave.

I have been to a few where I have had similar experiences to yours + I do run (often screaming). ;)

I’m pretty picky now. It has to be hosted by a pro for me to attend.

Thanks for taking the time to read + comment!

Thanks Shannon.
Having to ask people for a minimum of good education is a bit pitiful in my opinion. Do your “don’t-start-me-talking” check ins before you enter the room or don´t try to join the conversation.

I like to pay 100% attention to anybody talking to me and the other way round. I cannot even talk to somebody wearing sunglasses!

I couldn’t agree more with everything you said, Shannon. My non-twitter friends cannot understand what I’m so geeked-out about… until they start tweeting :) And the majority of my friends I’ve met in the last 2-3 years, I’ve met because of twitter. I. LOVE. IT!


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