If you haven’t checked out Twitter yet, you’re really missing out on something that can offer tremendous benefits for your business. No matter what you’re marketing, what niche your business is in or how experienced you are with social media, Twitter has something to offer. You’ll find that it’s one of the fastest growing social networks in the world, and offers quite a bit more engagement than many others (even, arguably, the monolithic Facebook). Of course, using Twitter is very different from using any other networks, mostly because the network itself is designed for a different purpose than G+ or FB. What should you know?
What Is Twitter’s Purpose?
For most users testing the waters for the first time, Twitter can be a confusing place. It’s very, very different from Facebook, LinkedIn or G+ and if you go in thinking that there will be at least some similarities, you’re going to be disappointed. Actually, disappointment is not the right term – confused is more appropriate.
Twitter is not like other social networks. Technically, it’s a micro-blogging service rather than a full-blown social network. Users post short updates (140 characters or less) and interact with each other in short bursts. There are no pages to like and no games to play. If you’re just getting into the network, be prepared for something of a learning curve. However, you do need to invest the time necessary to learn how to use it correctly. It can be very, very effective when used correctly, but used incorrectly, it can be a massive waste of time.
Using Twitter Correctly
If you paid attention in the section above, you noted that Twitter is about short, fast updates. Now, it can be very tempting to think that it’s all about sending out updates, and there are thousands of people (marketers in particular) who use it this way. However, be aware that if you go into it thinking that Twitter is a one-way street, your results will be poor to say the least.
It might not be apparent from an initial look, but Twitter is actually about creating conversation with other people and building relationships, perhaps more so than any other network out there. Because there are no pages to like or games to waste time with, users spend all their time talking with each other and interacting with other people. You cannot afford to do nothing but spew your marketing message to the masses. Without interaction, you cannot build a following. Without a following, you will fail.
Building Your Following
Now it’s time to talk about building a following on Twitter. Followers are those who choose to connect with you – they follow your updates and converse with you on the network (the same thing as “friends” on FB). In order to be effective on Twitter, you have to have a robust, engaged following, and that cannot be achieved by spouting a sales message.
Instead, you need to build a following correctly – the people that make up your Twitter following need to be chosen very carefully. Do not follow just anyone, and do not necessarily automatically follow back anyone who follows you. In order to build your Twitter following correctly, you need to make sure that your audience is made up of the right people – those already connected with your brand, current customers, or people who are interested in what you have to offer. Thankfully, Twitter makes it pretty easy to research other users.
The built-in Twitter search bar allows you to search for almost anything you might want. For instance, if you ran an online bicycle shop, you might search for “mountain biking,” “cyclist” or any one of a thousand other keywords. The results displayed will include the content of other people’s tweets, as well as the contents of their bios, giving you the means to follow people most likely to both follow you back and be interested in what you have to offer.
Now let’s talk about your tweets – don’t make them sales messages. While there is nothing wrong with sending out the occasional promotional tweet with a link to your website, blog or other online location, it’s important that you take the time to converse with others and share information that your followers find interesting. For instance, to use the bike shop example from above, you might tweet links to articles about new bike technology, new tire rubber formulations or the best biking trails in your area. Not only will these interest your followers, but you’ll find you’re much more likely to be retweeted, which gives you the chance to build your following even further. A great way to keep your eye on the ball and see who has reweeted is to use a social network tool to keep track of everything. That way you can thank your retweeter and make new friends along the way.
Also, it should be noted that sending your Twitter updates to other networks (both Facebook and LinkedIn offer this capability) should be avoided. Keep your tweets on Twitter or you risk overloading your audience on other networks.
In addition to sharing information that your followers will find interesting, it’s important that you promote others more than yourself. In fact, it’s highly recommended that you have only one self-promotional tweet for every 5 or 6 retweets. This ensures that you’re providing interesting, relevant content to your audience, but that you are being an active, supportive member of the larger community. Doing otherwise will earn you a reputation for being a spammer and seriously cut into your follower base (Twitter users are not shy at all about unfollowing if they think you are spamming or being “fake”).
Twitter can be an immensely powerful tool. However, more than any other network, it’s imperative that you use it correctly. Be real, build your follower base intelligently, share the updates of others and be an involved, valuable member of the community.
During 2003, John Lessnau popularized Text Link Advertising when he founded the first open Text Link marketplace LinkAdage.com
John hopes to do the same thing 10 years later with social media links at his new website SocialLinkMart.com. Social Link Mart is an open Social Link Marketplace for SEOs, website owners, and social media enthusiasts to buy and sell social links such as Facebook Likes and Shares, Google Plus Shares, and also to buy Twitter Tweets. All social link sellers are ranked by social media authority which keeps the bots and spammers out and real people in.