It only took me 5 years to figure it out. And I can’t proclaim to have driven amazing results on a business level, yet. But I can, however, teach you how to get the most out of Twitter as a source of information and interact with new, helpful people.
Here’s the basic steps to get started right:
- Once you have an account, do a few searches on topics that interest you.
- Follow a couple dozen people/companies that have something interesting to say. (some will follow back)
- Create Lists and put these people/companies into categories. (Most important step)
- Interact with these folks by using their @username in your tweets.
- Use “Reply” to interact with a post. The original tweeter will get notified and thus a conversation gets started.
- Find your voice and tweet out thoughts and links that represent you.
- Share tips and tricks on topics that you know a lot about.
Ask questions. Give advice. Think of twitter like the ultimate bulletin board service. Or like public email. Or public SMS.
You can also use hashtags (#topic) to tag your post which will group it with other posts with the same hashtag. Hashtags are also used as a way to indicate an emotion, event or action. i.e. #happyfriday #ComicCon #StarbucksFreebie
I use Lists religiously. Since I follow over 1000 people/companies, it’s really impossible to read all their tweets in one timeline. So, by categorizing them in Lists, I can stay somewhat current with the most relevant. For example, I have a List called “Friends” which is a private List and that contains people I know personally. Lists can be public or private. If you make a List public, other people can follow your List. Lists are the filters that make Twitter usable in my opinion. If you want to go one step further, sign-up for Hootsuite and connect your Twitter account. Hootsuite allows you to create a dashboard of Lists so you can see the most important Lists in columns.
As you are reading tweets, if you find one that stands out you can mark it as a Favorite by clicking the star icon under the tweet. This will allow you to re-visit the tweet at any time by going to your Favorites page in your account. This action also notifies the tweeter and they may thank you or follow you. You can also “Retweet” the post which adds it to your timeline and thus your followers could see it (this is how tweets can go viral). These are the ways to start building influence and reputation on Twitter.
Once you find a rhythm that works, you can easily check Twitter a few times a day in a few spare seconds of downtime. Twitter has become my #1 source for current news, innovation research, new music, marketing strategies and just plain fun information.
Here are a few people/companies that I follow to help get you started:
@Mashable (tech and current news/events)
@GuyKawasaki (very interesting news/events/images/etc)
@WendiMooreAgency (excellent news curator)
@ThisIsSethsBlog (Marketing strategy, innovation curator)
@Sevenly (awesome quotes and all-around great company)
@PRSarahEvans (curator of everything cutting-edge)
[box type=”info”] So, what’s the ultimate point? Just as you have a reputation in business and friendship, you can develop influence on Twitter. This has value. As you develop influence and reputation, your reach (voice) grows. If you have a business, you no longer need to hire a PR firm to put out a press release. If you have a cause, you no longer need to pay for advertising. Is it coming into focus yet?[/box]
I hope this helps you get started and adds some value to the things you are doing. Feel free to post questions here and I’ll try and answer them – or you can ask me on Twitter 😉 @mechlin