I started using Twitter http://www.twitter.com/GoodIdeas a few months ago as a social marketing experiment and have grown to value it as both a marketing tool and an educational tool. While I can only track a few instances of direct business as a result of being on Twitter there have been dozens of times where I learned something that I would not have known had it not been for following people on Twitter.
First let’s recap what Twitter is. Twitter is a micro-blogging platform that lets you update your status and let the world know what you are up to. There are millions of Twitter user all over the world, and the number of active users has increased by 900% in the past year.
When you sign up for Twitter it is a bit like looking at a blank canvas and not knowing where to start painting. Most Twitter users sign up and then do nothing as it is not obvious what the next step is. What I recommend is you sign up at http://www.twitter.com and then do a search for me, GoodIdeas or Mike Blaney and Follow Me. I will be notified you are Following me and I will choose to Follow you. Your Twitter profile will then show you are Following 1 person and 1 person is Following you. The next step might be to see who is Following someone you respect and then Follow them.
The next step is to post a 140 character or less update. Here are couple of my recent posts. They are dry, but informative. The last one is an attempt to get people to visit this blog:
- People more likely to open email marketing messages relating to their interests than ones sent at a particular time of day or day of week.
- Men interrupt women a woman’s conversation 76% of the time but rarely interrupt a man. Men, stop interrupting and start listening!
- Mike Blaney – Today 145 people have googled business card and found my post about How to Make Your Business Card Stand Out http://tr.im/hgFK
Twits fall into two categories; the social tweeter (that is what a post is called) and the addict. While I try to post tweets that will be of interest to people a lot of people Tweet a dozen or more times a day on every aspect of their life and you find yourself skimming past these people
But the point of this post is that companies can also use it to promote themselves.
Step 1: Import Your Contacts
- Twitter allows you to to import contacts from Gmail, Hotmail and your own address book. Do it.
Step 2: Make Sure that Your Profile is Complete
- Fill in all the fields (both required and optional) and include your website URL. You can also personalize your Twitter page to match your company’s branding.
Step 3: Understand the Dynamics of Twitter
Twitter is a social tool, not a classifieds site. These are some tips that will help you to get followers:
- Don’t spam others about your specials
- Follow other users
- Don’t promote your company directly. Do it the smart way. For example, if you sell widgets, write a buyer’s guide about the kind of widgets that you sell and tweet about that blog post. That is useful information. Avoid tweets like “Great Widgets On Sale – Starting at $9.99!”
Step 4: Build Your Followers Base
There are many things that you can do to build your followers base:
- Put a link to “Follow Me on Twitter” everywhere (your email signature, forums, website, and business cards)
- Every time you post on your blog, invite people to follow you on Twitter
Step 5: Balance Your Followers/Following Ratio
- Try to have a balance between people you follow and people that follow you. If a lot of people follow you and you don’t follow them, they will stop following you. If you are following plenty of people but just a few are following you, you’ll be seen as a spammer trying to grow your follower base as quickly as possible.
- Grow slow. Instead of adding 200 new friends all of a sudden, add maybe 50 and wait for them to follow you back. Then follow another 50.
Step 6: Make it Worthwhile to Follow You
- Tweet interesting stuff. Every time you are about to post something, ask yourself “Is this something I would be interested in?” If the answer is no, chances are that your followers will feel the same way.
Step 7: Learn from the Best
- Find users with several hundred followers and learn from them. See what they are doing right and get ideas from them.
Done right, Twitter should be part of your marketing arsenal as it provides positive exposure for your business. Depending on your business, Twitter could be an efective tool.
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