When I first heard about Twitter—The Microblogging phenomena that everyone seems to be talking about at the moment I really did wonder what the fuss was about. I thought it was interesting but it did not initially grab me.
Why would other people care about what I had for lunch, or who was at the airport and why someone was sad? And why would a business become involved in this, what possible purpose could it serve? Then I though maybe it is about the cult of personality maybe it is about microfame and perceived short attention spans, I mean 140 characters did not seem like much.
What I have come to realise though is that, at its heart, Twitter is just a communication tool. Like the Web, and the phone and the telegram before it, it’s just a tool to let one person connect with another.
How Does Twitter Work?
Users have 140 characters to answer the question, “What are you doing?” If you join Twitter you can “follow” others, allowing their updates to appear on your home page. They can follow you, with the same result or you can also direct message them, but always in 140 characters or less.
Twitter communications can be viewed and updated on the Web, through desktop apps, and on mobile devices. My two personal favourites being twitterberry and Tweetdeck, both of which allow me to interact easily whether at my desk or on the road.
Tweets (recent 140 character posts) tell you what people are having for breakfast, that they are worried about how their job interview went or that they are planning a romantic dinner with their partners. These can sometimes be very weird indeed if you spend time looking at the public twitter time line rather than just your followers.
How Does Twitter Help You Work?
A growing number of people are beginning to using Twitter for business. And as I have said in pervious posts I am not talking about the internet marketers trying solely to increase their traffic. Instead more and more professional are using Twitter as a communications tool.
Here are some things that you might want to think about:
Follow industry leaders who post links to important resources and influence conversations
- Post questions for quick answers and answer others’ questions to establish your credibility and expertise
- Create links to your Web site or blog (don’t over do it!)
- Keep up on the buzz in your industry
- Network with like-minded people.
How to Find (The Right) People on Twitter
You can use Twitter search to look for subject that interest you and follow the people talking most about them. You can use third party sites and tools like;
- Mr Tweet: Finds and suggests like-minded people based on your tweets.
- Twellow: Searches based on location,categories and keywords.
How to Get People to Follow You
The more people who follow you on Twitter, the more influence and networking opportunities you have. It makes sense therefore to try and build a following. Here are some ideas on getting others to follow you:
- Follow them. Most people follow people who follow them as long as they are not just trying simply to increase followers for its own sake.
- Be discriminating with whom you follow. I find that if someone follows me and they only tweet about how hungry or tired they are, I don’t follow them back. The same goes for people who haven’t tweeted in a while.
- Complete your Profile. People rarely follow strangers, so complete your one-line bio and include a URL in the More Info URL section of your profile. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve not bothered to follow someone because I didn’t know a thing about them.
- Add your Twitter feed to your blog or to other social media profiles. Having my Twitter feed linked to facebook and Friend has increase the number of people that I know who now use Twitter itself.
- Reply to people you are following, especially if they’re not yet following you. That’s a good way to engage someone and get them to follow you, even if they didn’t follow you immediately. Remember, though, some people have thousands of followers, and may not be able to respond to every reply.
Getting the Most Out of Twitter
While the guidelines of Twitter etiquette are still evolving, guidelines from other social media sites can used:
- Treat others with respect
- Don’t just try and sell something.
For More Information and Discussion of how to use social media tools for business come and visit my other blog