I must admit I was a little perplexed. Everyone was talking about Twitter so I had to check it out. Twitter is a social networking utility that allows you to join and invite friends and colleagues. Twitter provides you with a profile page and the capability to broadcast a 140 words or less to the entire “twittersphere” of members on the Twitter site. I began as a complete lurker with a non-descript logon id so I could watch the action and I never linked to my professional email. Initially I thought this was a tool that would be more interesting for social networking among the under-24 age group. I was hugely skeptical about the application for my clients and my own business. To be honest, I thought being on Twitter was like getting junk mail ALL DAY LONG!! I wasn’t ready to put myself out there.
But I watched and learned and began to see how Twitter could fit into my short and long-range marketing plans. I started to see how others were using Twitter for business and I began seeing the possibilities for my clients. I took the plunge and found some tools and techniques that I suggest you adopt as a Twitter-newbie.
1. Sign up at twitter.com and set up a profile. Link to your business website.
2. Invite colleagues and clients to follow you.
3. Search for topics that interest you at search.twitter.com. Watch the stream of “tweets” and you will find people who are interesting to you so add them to your follow list. I follow small business, social media, local cities, news outlets and favorite bloggers, positive people with good vibes, political pundits and other topics that catch my interest. You can also see the top trending topics and follow along.
My favorite day of the week is “Follow Friday” when you will see a stream of tweets with the hashtag of #followfriday. It is a great way to give a shout out and recommend folks you think others should follow as well as a way to start following others recommended by the masses.
4. Join chats that are of interest. By watching keywords that interest me, I learned of several “tweet chats” on small business topics. I join the chats at Tweetchat.com and have met some great people who I network with on Twitter and my other social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
5. You don’t have to watch Twitter all day long and catch every conversation. I use Tweetdeck and check it a few times per day for items of interest. Tweetdeck allows you to follow your favorite people, phrases and topics. It helps create a more organized approach for me so I don’t get caught up in the constant stream of consciousness.
6. Once you understand how you plan to weave Twitter into your marketing strategy, offer information to your followers in the form of tips, referrals, links and content that your target market would find beneficial. Don’t spam but do make your followers aware of targeted special promotions and products. Ask yourself, “How can I add value?”
7. If you google Twitter, you will find an array of products and classes available over the web. Here are a few sources I recommend to further your Twitter education.
For a quick guide for the beginning and intermediate Twitter user:
For a brief screencast video with tips for small businesses:
In my own business I see Twitter as a great way to participate with and serve my target market. I find it invaluable for researching my brand, my competitors and industry leaders. I have made great contacts and hope to use Twitter to identify new markets, identify potential alliances and business partners.
Did I mention you can follow me on Twitter @garrbarrgroup? See you in the twittersphere.