When Twitter first started coming on, it seemed like it was yet another opportunity for people that feel their every action needs to be shared with the world to share every little action with the word.  Thankfully, people are limited to 140 characters so that there is some sort of art to writing the tweets. To be honest, I don’t use Twitter the way I should – and I know it. The thing is, there are many major corporations paying good money to people to run their Twitter accounts who don’t know that they don’t use it the way they should. This morning on NPR’s Morning Edition, Comedian-Actor-Author-Musician-Tweeter Steve Martin presented a microcosm of what’s wrong with corporate tweets and what right about Tweeting.

While on a promotional tour for his newest book  (above) that actually contains his tweets and responses to them from his fans, Martin recounts how he first thought that tweeting was not the thing to do.  Yet, when questioning the promotional struggles he was having by going on a TV show that reach 4 million viewers to reach 400 people who were interested, he figured he could reach even more people who were interested by having a following of 100,000. He joked that he found that it turned out only four people were interested of those 100K.

After collecting 2.4M followers, Martin surmises that “tweeting is really only good for one thing — it’s just good for tweeting … It is rewarding, because it’s just its own reward. It’s sort of like heaven.” But the reality is that Tweeting is great for him as a brand because it enables a consistent connection with his audience.  he does it right by injecting his own way of thinking into every tweet – even if it is really short.  He rarely conjectures or posts a half thought with a link to something outside of Twitter.

Celebrities have taken advantage of Twitter to make some extra money through sponsored tweets, but Steve Martin’s celebrity on Twitter is not about making money in and of itself.  He uses it properly as a brand extension and corporate brand managers should take note.

Without calling out specific companies, there are far too many that feel Twitter is  for announcing press releases of product updates.  In reality, they should look to use Twitter in a more conversational tone.  The best brands don’t automatically provide links out of the system. I know that I am guilty of this every single time, but I don’t consider myself a brand – I’m just trying to publicize my posts on this blog at @JTavss.

But the reality is that Twitter is best used as constant relevant communication in a way that strengthens the connection with the consumer/audience. Steve Martin has it all right- even though he says he doesn’t. In honor of this blog, I will not be sending a tweet to advertise it.  Check out the interview to see if you agree.