Use Twitter as a business tool, not just to socialize.
Hi there, The Digital Marketer here, ready to help you put the power of the Internet and technology to work for your business.
I'm a huge fan of Twitter and use it often for my business. Using Twitter for business, you ask? Does that surprise you? Well, it shouldn't.
For anyone who hasn't heard of Twitter, I describe it as a microblog where you are confined to posts made up of 140-characters or less. You can follow other people's posts -- also called "Tweets" -- or they can follow yours. There are many ways and reasons to use Twitter and many people have found that it is a vibrant, active community where they can connect with like-minded people quickly and efficiently.
By the way, in case you were wondering why Twitter confines post lengths to 140 characters, it's so your Tweets are mobile-friendly. You can set your Twitter account to send or receive Tweets on your wifi-enabled handheld device although if you are following many people or active Twitterers, I would highly recommend NOT setting your account to receive those Tweets by text message. It could drive you a little crazy.
Six Ways to Twitter
Here is my list of six ways to Twitter for your business.
1. Tweet what you are reading. In the same way we used to have links pages on our websites and visitors found that resource to be handy, linking to articles you find interesting not only provides value to your followers but also better defines who you are by your interests.
2. Tweet links to your blog posts. If you are blogging in a way that enhances your personal or company brand, don't be afraid to link to your recent blog posts.
3. Tweet provocative questions. If you want to get a dialogue started with your Twitter followers, throw out a provocative question now and then. You can even conduct an instant focus group with your Twitter friends as long as you disclose what you are doing.
4. Tweet advice for others. Make sure you aren't just broadcasting your own news on Twitter. Read what other people are posting, and if someone asks for advice and you have the answer to their question, Tweet a response to them. Your help will be appreciated.
5. Tweet to get advice. If you have a question about business, technology, travel, you name it -- someone out there in the Twittersphere has the answer. Don't be afraid to put your questions out there in your Tweets, and the more people you have as followers, the more quickly you'll get a response.
6. Tweet meaningfully in the conversation. If you see a conversation of Tweets forming between some of the people you are following, make sure you read back and understand what the conversation is about before adding your two cents. People welcome participation in their Twitter conversations, but make sure you are on-topic and respectful.
Using Twitter as a Filter
You can also use Twitter as a filtering device. By carefully selecting who you follow such as experts in your industry or other thought leaders, you can get a glimpse into what they are thinking about, what events they are attending, and what they're reading. I often find useful articles that help me with my business by reading what other Twitterers are reading.
You can also find other interesting people to follow on Twitter by seeing who the people you are following refer to in their Tweets. There is something both strategic and serendipitous about following links to new people in Twitter -- you never know when you might link to another great resource or potential business connection.
Don't Do This On Twitter
There are definitely ways to abuse Twitter and get an instant reputation for being a less-than-useful Twitterer. Here are a few don'ts to keep in mind:
Don't spam. While Twitter doesn't push information out like email, you can still be spammy on Twitter by being too commercial or by having too many auto-posts that lack your human voice. People will unfollow you quickly if they feel you are not really there.
Don't autofollow. While some people believe that it is beneficial to automatically follow the people who follow them, I think it isn't very strategic and not very meaningful. Sure I want more followers, but I would hope people follow me because they appreciate my point of view, not because I follow them back.
Don't be too self-centered. Yes, you are supposed to be Twittering to answer the question "What are you doing?" However, Twitter has evolved beyond this question to include many more facets of conversation. People are fine with self-promotion but balance it with generous Tweeting as well.
Bottom Line: Twitter is a useful communication tool and a deep knowledge base. Knowing how to tap into it strategically can mean the difference between a frivolous and a fruitful Twitter experience.
That's all we have time for today. Visit the show’s website at digitalmarketer.quickanddirtytips.com for links to all of the sites mentioned in the show. If you'd like to ask a question or request a topic for The Digital Marketer, email me at email@example.com or leave a message by calling 206-339-6279.
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