Hello, and welcome to the third and final installment of our ”Talk to The BIRD” series!
You’ve learned how to choose a good Twitter handle and create a solid profile, and you’ve acquired some useful tools to help you find and start networking with other like-minded Twitter users. Now that you’ve established your presence, you’re ready to tackle the most important part of being a tweeter: contributing and receiving valuable content in your Twitter community.
In order to benefit from Twitter, you’ve got to…
Know your audience and speak to them. Remember that old saying “dress for the job you want, not the job you have”? That applies to Twitter, too. Who are you trying to attract? What kind of environment do you want to create? Whatever your passion, seek out others who enjoy similar things and try to consistently contribute information and opinions that will encourage others to follow your tweets. follow tweets follow tweets follow
Choose topics that interest you. If you are in to what you choose to tweet about, your followers will respond positively. Don’t just dredge up space-filling links or update people on your lunch meat because you feel you have to tweet something; your followers will see through you. Keep a variety. Throw in some personal opinions, ask the Twitterverse to weigh in on an issue, or link to an article you sincerely find tweet-worthy. It’s okay to be personable; in fact, it can make followers more comfortable approaching your brand. And remember, your content doesn’t have to be profound. Just be yourself and try to think about what you would want to read.
Use a link shortener. If you’re going to be sharing a lot of links (which you should be) you’ll need something to condense long URLs into small ones – they take up less space, and with Twitter every character counts. I’d recommend bit.ly – you can create an account to save links, see what others are tweeting, and bundle your own links together. Visit their site to learn more, and be sure to drag the side bar to your tool bar for easy access.
Participate. This may sound obvious, but it’s crucial that you contribute to the topics and users you follow. Retweet someone’s post if you find it insightful; make a comment if someone else is asking for opinions or sharing something you find interesting. The more you get your name out there, the more people will see that you exist, find you interesting, and want to follow you back.
Return the favor. The Golden Rule comes to mind here. If you’d like your own content to be shared, take a minute to share others’ content. Twitter is the perfect space to encourage community participation and networking, so make sure you are on a two-way street. a two way street two two two two two two two two two two two two two
Utilize hash tags. Everything in moderation. There have been complaints from the Twitter community about users who constantly put hash tags (#) after inane phrases. Hash tag abuse will get you the cold shoulder, but when used correctly they can help group people around a central topic, and make it easier to search for others who are interested in the same topics you are. For example, if you just heard something exciting about the world cup, you could write your post, and tag #worldcup. For more, check out this article on how to properly utilize hash tags.
Use abbreviations to save space. Let’s clarify: abbreviations are ok, AIM slang is not. ”For ex.,” instead of ‘”for example” is acceptable, as is “&” in place of “and” – etc. It is not acceptable, on the other hand, to use “ur” for “your” or include “lol” in any tweet you make. The goal is to save space and sound professional. Imagine you are writing a headline and shorten your sentences accordingly.
Stay consistent. Going 4 days without a tweet and then tweeting 4 times in a row to make up for it just looks sloppy. If you know you can’t make time to tweet every day, set a goal to tweet 3 or 4 times a week, and then stick to your schedule. If you have a few minutes of down time at any point during your week, come up with a few short tweets to keep your account current. Type them up in an excel sheet and keep an ongoing list, if it helps. The key is to not drop off the face of the earth for several weeks and then reappear unexpectedly every now and again. To be seen as a source of reliable information or inspiration, you must keep in touch.
Make things easier for yourself as often as possible. Twitter doesn’t really have internal programs to help users get the most out of their accounts; consequently there are a ton of ”3rd party” applications out there to help you get the most out of your experience. For example, Twitterfeed lets you link your blog with your Twitter, so your posts will be shared with your Twitter followers automatically. GroupTweet allows you to gather a specific group of followers and communicate using direct messaging through one common account: When the group account receives a direct message from a group member, GroupTweet converts it into a tweet that all followers can see. Twitter Groups lets you organize followers into groups, so you can communicate with or send messages to certain people (it’s like Facebook groups). There are even a large number of Firefox add-ons for Twitter that let you post to and keep tabs on your Twitter account directly from your browser. See this helpful list of group and friend organizers and choose a few to try.
Take a lesson. If you want to see how it’s done, go to some of your favorite blogs or info sites, and look up the brand or bloggers involved on Twitter. Follow their tweets, and see what they do to get followers and keep people interested.
This is just the tip of the iceberg; play around with available applications, experiment with posts, and above all have a good time. Twitter can open a lot of doors for your business; you just have to get started!