With Twitter being the big buzz word all over the MSM, blogs and just about everywhere you look, it seems like everyone is jumping on the Twitter bandwagon. And that’s not a bad thing at all. But most people don’t know how to ‘use’ it or don’t understand how it can be a great tool meet new people, manage lots of conversations, track buzz, and help your business. While there’s no one RIGHT WAY to use Twitter, the ‘What Are You Doing’ moniker is just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s 10 ways to Be Useful on Twitter:
1. BE NICE – Its a big big world out there with so many cool people talking about every topic imaginable. If you like what someone is saying, Follow them. Just dug a good article they wrote on their blog? Leave a comment, or tell others about their post. Its just good manners. Likewise, if they Re-Tweet one of your messages or link up your blog post, give a shout out or just say thanks. It goes a long way.
2. The Art of the Retweet – Retweeting is really effective way to spread good information quickly. Really quickly. I’m a re-tweet-aholic. There’s so many great links I see from people I’m following that in many cases, the people that follow me would also dig. So you Retweet. It keeps the links flowing and helps good ideas get exposed to tons of people.
3. Bring It – Face it, we’re ALL super passionate about something, or an expert in some particular field. Maybe you know more than anyone else about vintage He-Man toys, are a beer enthusiast, or a travel guru. Maybe you are good at connecting people. Search.Twitter.com is your friend and mark my words, it’ll be one of the most valuable pages on the web very very soon. Plug in your search terms and ‘boom goes the dynamite.‘ You’ve got a real time stream of conversations happening on that topic. Engage. Help people. Share your knowledge. Then Repeat.
4. Be You - You’ve only got 140 characters to get your point across. That’s what makes Twitter a killer-app. You have to be brief. Get to the damn point. But at the same time, BE YOU. Tweet like you speak. Talk about things that matter to YOU. Your best asset is authenticity.
5. Don’t Spam – I’m sure you’ll be tempted to talk about all the great things your business can offer, or send a million notices of your upcoming event. But here’s the thing. No One Cares About Your Business (see Krista’s article for more info). Be authentic, show you’re knowledgeable, and put a link to your biz in your description on your profile. If you’ve got the chops and show it, when people are looking for the type of service you offer, you’ll be top of mind. Its all about the soft sell.
6. Have a Tool Box - Use apps like TweetDeck or Twirl or Tweetie to keep an eye on your conversations and groups of followers. Once things start growing they grow quick, so its important to build systems that will allow you to interact, track, and manage your Tweeps.
7. Integrate - Make sure your updates are posted in real time cross platform. Have them injected on your blog, make them automatically appear on your Facebook profile, and post your @handle at the end of comments you post. All this will help people engage with you regardless of where they found your content.
8. Hashtags are your friends – If you’re tweeting about an event or topic that’s trending, give it a #hashtag. It will help when searching for certain topics. #FollowFriday is a great weekly tag where you can suggest people others should follow.
9. Keep Your Profile Current - Make sure you have links and a good description of yourself in your profile. Potential followers and friends use this to get a sense of who you are, what you do, and use it as a way to find additional content you might be putting out.
10. Be Useful – Don’t overdo it. Don’t be That Guy. And don’t tell us incessantly about stuff we don’t care about. It doesn’t matter to me that every day you tweet out that you just picked up your kids from work, or are cooking dinner, or just woke up, or that you’re going to the bathroom. So stop it. Now. Everyone has something to bring to the table that’s engaging, fun, and can help the conversation. So Be Useful, and get to it.