I am often asked about how to use Twitter effectively without spending a ton of time. While there are ways to automate some of your Twitter activity, an even better option is to participate strategically while you are there in order to get the maximum benefit in minimum time.
The very first thing I advise my clients is to understand why you are even using Twitter. What is your strategy and what is your end goal? Are you trying to get more blog readers? Build your newsletter list? Find joint venture partners? Tweeting randomly and aimlessly isn’t going to be very effective.
Second, you’ll want to spend a good amount of time interacting. There is nothing wrong with letting others know what’s going on with you or your business. Just be sure to intersperse your tweets with some two-way conversation. This builds community and keeps things balanced and interesting. You don’t want to be a “hit-and-run tweeter” who swoops in, tweets and leaves!
Third, I tell people to follow the “10/1 rule”–10 non-promotional tweets to every 1 promotional one. You don’t have to hit people over the head. I saw a good example of this recently where a pet accessories seller regularly tweeted a “bizarre animal fact of the day.” It’s a way of promoting indirectly while still providing your community with value and interesting (and memorable!) tidbits of info.
Fourth, you want to find and follow people in your target market so that they are able to hear your message. Twellow.com and Wefollow.com are Twitter directories you can search by category. They’re essentially the Yellow Pages of Twitter. If your business is local, a great way to find other local Twitter users is to use nearbytweets.com.
You can use this site to search by both location and keyword. A lot of people like to use tools like this to set up “tweetups” which are basically local meetups of Twitter users in your area. These can be great for networking. Another technique if you are already following some people in your target market is using whoshouldifollow.com or mrtweet.com. Both of these sites recommend you new people to follow based on whom you are following already.
Finally, don’t let your fear that you have nothing interesting to say stop you from tweeting. People want transparency and authenticity. They want to connect with real people. You probably have a lot more interesting things to say than you give yourself credit for. If you are still stumped for what to tweet, here are some suggestions:
*Share links–some can be to your own stuff, but mostly link to others’
*Go to Twitthis.com and grab the bookmarklet to drag to your toolbar. This allows you to share content that’s on any site outside of Twitter and post it to Twitter without even having to login
*Ask and answer questions-this often triggers conversation and helps you engage with others
*Use Twitpic.com to upload a picture, Utterli.com to post an audio tweet, or 12seconds.tv to post a video clip-these types of tweets add variety
*Re-tweet others, thank someone for re-tweeting you, be supportive, tell a joke, share a fact, offer a tip, comment on someone’s twitter picture or background, congratulate someone, live-tweet an event, invite others to an upcoming event of your own, share an inspiring quote, solicit for guest bloggers, suggest someone to follow on #followfriday, post a poll…you get the idea.
The list is endless! At first glance, it may seem like this is a lot to do. In reality, you could implement these strategies a couple times a day or even just a couple times a week. It’s the cumulative effect you’re going for–which will pay off in the end!
© 2009 Communicate Value. All Rights Reserved.
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Christine Gallagher, The Online Marketing and Social Media Success Coach, is founder of Communicate Value, where she is dedicated to teaching small business owners and professionals how to conquer the overwhelming aspects of online and social media marketing to increase business and maximize profits. To get your F.R.E.E. 5-Part E-Course and receive her weekly marketing & success articles on leveraging technology, building relationships and boosting your profits, visit https://shesgotclients.com.