Using Twitter

Sometimes I think Twitter is an alternate universe filled with Internet marketers that jam my screen with self-serving messages 24/7. If I allowed that, it could well be. I don’t look for them, they appear as followers, and I check out each profile that comes my way to see if we have a shared interest, or if they are in a field that might be helpful to me. I am very quick to stop following people whose messages are not interesting, or who basically have nothing to offer.

I am very new to Twitter, so I have only a basic understanding of its various applications. (And yes, I did get taken in by the Twitter Pro April Fool’s prank! I thought it was funny, and I did have to admire the techie expertise needed to pull that one off!) I like the social aspect of Twitter – the Tweeting between friends, and the ability to get and give feedback on whatever an individual wishes to post. However, I am also interested in how I can possibly use Twitter to market myself and my products. This leads to a very basic thought – before you can make Twitter work for you, take the time to understand what brought you there in the first place – “why” you are on Twitter, and what you hope to get from it.

Relevancy is a huge issue in marketing – you want the time and effort that you expend to mean something. You can do that with Twitter by following those people that have similar beliefs/goals, and reaching out to them so that they become part of your network (and you become part of theirs).

One thing that you can do here is see who is following the people that interest you – if they have something to offer, they should be part of your network too. You can also use the “Find People” function to locate specific people that you might be interested in following. Using Mr. Tweet (MTweet.com) is also helpful in finding relevant people to follow. MrTweet is billed as a “personal networking assistant” that helps you improve your Twitter experience with the use of statstics.

You can also use Twollo (Twollo.com) to find people with similar interests automatically. Twollo works via keywords, and for me, did not work as well.

Be willing to give a pat on the back, or a bit of positive advise to someone that you are following. If the comment that you want to make is of a sensitive nature, then send them a Direct Message (DM), so that only they will see it. Show patience and courtesy at all times. A personal note about DM’s – If someone sends me a DM that they have clearly typed in themselves, that is one thing. If the DM is an automated response to my following them, I have to take a good look at if I want to continue doing so. Automated DM’s aren’t worth my time, and show a lack of respect, from my viewpoint.

Be willing to share links –whether it is just a good laugh (we all need those!), or a link to timely information, or a new way of doing things. You build credibility by sharing worthwhile information. I follow several different coaches/marketers because of this – they promote their own business, yes – but they also share worthwhile information that helps me get where I want to go.

All of this looks like it would take a fair amount of time – and it does. Time spent on Twitter is two-fold – making personal connections (the “water cooler” syndrome), and marketing. You time will vary from day to day, depending on where your priorities are. Allow for the time needed to make Twitter work for you.

If you want to follow the upcoming trends of what is being Tweeted about on Twitter, go to Twitterfall.com. Through the use of custom search words, you can see what is trending in any specific area. Excellent marketing tool!

This link will take you to a blog that describes ten Twitter tools that will enhance you use of Twitter, such as Tweetdeck (shows the last 200 Tweets made by your followers); Twhirl, which does the same thing as Tweetdeck, with the capability of following multiple accounts; Tweetburner (which will shorten, send out and track links sent via Twitter, and more: TwiTip.com.

There is more! Here is a link to 27 Twitter applications for small businesses: smbceo.com.

I leave you with a link for a free e-book for beginners to Twitter (no – I did not write the book, but I am happy to pass it on!): Wellbeing.int.com.

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