Twitter Tutorial — Twittering for Fun and Profit

Twitter LogoThis post presumes that you have acquired a Twitter client to help you become more productive and faster — and most importantly while participating in Twitter (twittering), you are still in the same work flow as you are accustomed to. Read the article about how to twitter if you haven’t already.

After you start updating your Twitter for some time, you may have a sense of how it technically works from a user standpoint, i.e. how to update it, reply to other twitterers, etc.

What remains is how to use it effectively to achieve your business goal.

How Do You Find People to Follow?

Most new twitterers ask this question. Although it is a good question, this is the wrong question to start with. First, you need a strategy and plan to start with.

Unless you know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter at all which path do you take. For this case, if you don’t have a strategy for Twitter, just follow anyone to start interacting with other twitterers. Mission accomplished.

If you have a business-focused purpose about using Twitter, but still are not clear about it, this article introduces you about different possibilities of using Twitter for business.

Assuming you already have a business targeting a certain market segment, you need to be more specific when you create a Twitter plan.

For example, are you going to use it to encourage participation from your audience? Or will you use it as a customer service tool? Others use Twitter mainly to reach influencers in their industry besides connecting with their prospects and customers.

And if you have no plan to get involved actively in Twitter, you may still use the collective mind of the public to gain insights into your demographics by searching for what they were talking about in the past.

Once you’ve set your goal clearly, it is time to find the right people to follow. Here are some tips to do this.

  • Follow a few people you know. Start with your colleagues, or some industry experts you know. With millions of people already in Twitter, most likely at least some of them should have an account.
  • Browse around. Twitter also displays followers of a specific Twitter account. If you know someone is interested about a topic, and is talking about that consistently (as seen in the public tweets), you can safely presume that the followers are interested in that matter too. Browse around to see what they like and follow some of them to start growing your network.
  • Use Twitter tools. Twitter Search is just one useful tool. You may use Monitter or others more interactive tools to monitor what people are talking about in real time. If some profiles are of interest to you, you may choose to follow them. You may also narrow down your search in some tools to geographic locations instead of by topics.
  • Twellow. It is like a phone directory for Twitterers, sorting people by industry. This can be a great way to find people who are interested in the same topic.
  • Follow Mr. Tweet. That’s all you need to do. It will send you a direct message once “he” has a clue about who you should be following beyond your network and which followers you should be following back. Of course, you can choose to follow or refuse his suggestion.

One casual idea, but a good one is that you may also find twitterers from their blogs and follow them based on the quality of their blog posts, etc.

What to Tweet? Here Are Several Micro Content Ideas

Albrechts Landscape

You may notice that some twitterers use Twitter throughout the day but others post only at specific time of the day. If you read my previous posts (see above for links), you should know which one I prefer.

New twitterers should start with a handful of updates each day, 3-7 posts sound like a good way to begin. You can choose to reply to others, be it to questions related to the topic you are tweeting, or informally as a way to let your followers know that you are not just sending tweets as a mean to broadcast your message.

Here are a few tweet ideas:

  • Share pictures. TwitPic is created just for this purpose, among others. You may also use Flickr and other image hosting services.
  • Post videos. It doesn’t have to be yours. Remember that you can’t be self centered or people wouldn’t want to follow you. Give them useful content, be resourceful and make their time worthwhile.
  • Encourage feedback. The easiest way to do this is by asking questions and soliciting feedback from your followers. Direct question and poll are just two very effective examples. Make Twitter a way to interact with you at a level that is more lively than a blog.
  • News. You are using RSS readers to scour blogs and news sites for updated content and happenings around your industry, aren’t you? If not, you should be. Post links to interesting content so people find value in your tweets. You may also start a conversation along with the posts.
  • Quotes. Collect quotes and post one at a time at a predetermined intervals. For one reason or another, people like quotes. Do you?
  • Event / product pitch. It is not a good idea to start with a pitch unless you have built value first. Nevertheless, this is another valid micro-content idea. In fact, if you already have provided good content, you should be proud about your pitch. Blogers could also pitch their blog posts.
  • What you are doing. This is what Twitter was designed to do at first. I’ve seen twitterers asking for suggestions about restaurants close to an area he was unfamiliar with. Although not useful for most people, it lets others know that you are real, not just a bunch of automatic tweets.

Notice that most of the activities revolve around being resourceful and build relationship. That is required so that the followers are more responsive to what you have to tweet. Once they pay attention to you, a bit of a push to read your blog posts or check out your product or service is usually greeted with open arms.

Make an Organized Twitter Plan

Making your Twitter experience as smooth as possible should involve minimal habit change. Using the right Twitter tools is one thing. The other thing, which is as important, if not more, is how you feel when doing it.

If you constantly struggle to find ideas about what to tweet, you are going to quit. At least most people do.

I recommend that you create a plan, or the so called tweetlist, so you have a blueprint on how to approach this social media platform. Not only that is beneficial to your followers, but it also makes your Twitter experience much better.

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