Jun 17, 2011
Internet marketing is no longer a huge mystery to most businesses. Almost everyone has an informational webpage at the very least. Unfortunately, throwing up a one-page site isn’t enough anymore. Potential customers are looking for more of a personal connection. Social media is what makes that possible.
Twitter is a way of connecting with other people who share your interests or who might be interested in what you have to say. Twitter, is a free service available at Twitter.com, and is essentially a combination of a micro-blogging tool and a social networking site. Twitter is a great way to generate more traffic for your blog and through which to build a real relationship with your readers. Whether you are using Twitter effectively or not does not matter much when you are using it just for connecting with old friends, to chat and the like. But something like Twitter, if used intelligently and smartly, can work wonders for your business.
Have a quick look at these important but sometimes ignored tips for Twitter usage for business.
- Follow other users. Like in any other social network, profile building is extremely important and such is the case with Twitter as well. Here when building an authoritative Twitter profile the most important aspect you should look after is your followers. The more you have, the more popular you are and consequently the larger the influence your tweets will posses. I think most of you are familiar with the you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours philosophy. Well this applies on Twitter as well. Whenever you choose to follow someone, the respective Twitter user will receive an e-mail notifying him that you’re following his updates, then based on whether your profile is interesting enough he’ll follow you back or not.
Who to follow though? Well, all of the people I’m following are either: the authors of a blog I’m faithfully reading, people that chose to follow me and post interesting stuff, interesting and humorous people, authorities in my niche, sources of breaking news and updates or people that are simply my friends be it on or offline. Don’t over-follow though, or else you might find yourself overwhelmed with tweets. I’ve found that following around 200 is the most optimal number.
Worth taking note is a controversial aspect of Twitter concerning reciprocal following, namely whenever you choose to unfollow someone, the Twitter user, from whom you unsubscribed, will not receive a notification that you’ve done so. So basically you can befriend a bunch of people, wait for them to follow you and then unsubscribe. This is a terrible glitch if you ask me, because it lets Twitter spammers and well… lame people able to abuse the system.
- Interact with fellow Twitters. You need to get people to notice you and the simplest way to do this is letting them know you exist. If following them didn’t get their attention try messaging them, using the “@” feature. Type @username message and the respective Twitter username will receive the message under their replies tab. You won’t be sending private messages either, these tweets will be visible to all your followers and profile guests, the only difference is your tweets will be targeted towards something specific in mind. Notice whenever you contact someone via the @ feature a hyperlink that leads to his Twitter account will be automatically created.
- Be useful, original and contributive. Just like you’d do with your blog, you have to put yourself in your followers shoes, analyze and then ask yourself some questions. Why would people want to follow me? What can I provide them with? There’s thousands of Twitter users, what sets me apart from them? And so on. You need to give Twitter users enough reason to follow you and of course to keep on following. You can achieve this by either being useful, original, funny or preferably all together.
Whenever you find something interesting on the web, that might captivate your followers, don’t hesitate and Twitter it. If you’ve got an interesting idea or topic for conversation, share it with your followers and thus actually add some value to your tweets. If you’ve got a more humorous and sociable personality, then don’t keep it all in, let it shine on Twitter as well; people always like to be around funny people. And remember if you’ve got nothing to say, it’s probably for the best you keep it that way.
- Don’t over-tweet. Now if a prolific blogger may post one or more posts daily, then expect prolific Twitter users to update a lot more often. But is there any risk of over-twitting? There sure is. I’ve followed a few fellows recently that were silent for hours and then started spitting loads of tweets (mostly ramblings) during short intervals of time. Of course I got extremely bugged and unfollowed them. So what you have to keep in mind here is not to exaggerate with your tweets and keep your personal ramblings to a minimum, unless they’re interesting of course.
- Don’t under-tweet. Over-twitting is bad, but how about under-tweeting? While it probably won’t lead to loss of followers, under-tweeting will undoubtedly hurt your profile’s growth. Like in any other community, you have to be active to reap it’s rewards, this means twitting at least a few times a day. A lot of people have been telling me they can’t keep up with Twitter because they simply forget to update. You can solve this little impediment fairly simple by setting your “notices” (can be found in the settings tab). There you’ll find a neat option that will cause Twitter to send a “nudge” whenever you fail to update your status during 24 hours.
- Don’t over-publicize. As a blogger your sole interest in Twitter may be just to promote your own content and blog brand. While there’s nothing unusual with this, I’d advise you don’t over-pitch your tweets with self-promotional updates, otherwise you might get labeled a spammer by the community. Between links to your own blog posts and social media stories, try updating with interesting links from other blogs and various tweets. Like I said: be useful, unique and contributive.
- Brand your profile. Earlier in the article I mentioned how Twitter can be used a powerful tool to enforce your’s blog brand or social media persona. You can achieve this easily by customizing your Twitter profile; this means changing your account’s background, avatar and overall design. Be sure to particularly change your avatar, otherwise you’ll get stuck with the ugly default one; just put in an avatar that you know people recognize you by or even yet, your blog’s logo.
- Reply to tweets. If you’re active on Twitter, people will often reach you via the “@” feature, so be sure to regularly check your replies tab on Twitter to see what other people are saying about you. Here you’ll regularly find answers to the various questions you might ask, random comments about your activities or even questions addressed to you. I’d advise, for productivity purposes, to reserve a fraction of your time every day to respond to various comments, this way you’ll both network with your current followers, but also draw new ones as well. All that “@” user inter-tweeting will get you noticed by your follower’s followers and so on, proving the viral nature of Twitter.
- Publicize and promote your Twitter account. Whenever you get the chance to promote your Twitter account, do it! Put a link leading towards your account on all of your other social media profiles, like Digg, Stumbleupon, Mixx and so on. Also Twitter allows the possibility of integrating some cool badges on various social networks (Facebook, Myspace etc.) and most importantly on your blog.
How to use Twitter effectively after all is up to you, and what you want achieve through Twitter. Whatever it is, I am sure you will develop a caboodle of contacts. And you can never predict when they will prove to be useful! Keep on tweeting!