Social networking is growing exponentially with Facebook and Twitter dominating the list. In fact, it has been said that 175 million tweets are sent every day. But how can you harness the power of Twitter in your business?
There is no shortage of articles, e-books, tutorials and reports on “how to use Twitter.” While there really are no “rules” per say, what works and what is most effective? Below are some tips and suggestions.
Let’s get the basics out of the way. More times than not, I tend to access Twitter by using their site. But, of all the available apps, HootSuite is by far my favorite after testing many of them. With Hootsuite you can schedule your Tweets in advance and they just added a new feature called “Auto Schedule” which can be used for optimal impact. You can also create reports and monitor your Twitter campaigns as well.
Whether you have a BlackBerry, iPhone or Android, you should also download the Twitter App to your mobile device too so that you can access Twitter on your phone or computer but the point is, you are always connected.
A hashtag is “a word within the message prefixed with a hash sign.” So let’s say you have a site about drug recalls there are two things you should do. First when you send out Tweets about recalls you should append #Recalls to the end of your Tweets. Next, you should follow those hashtags that pertain to your niche so that you can re-tweet and monitor news in your niche.
Following & Followers
If you have your hashtags set up first, you can quickly find some likeminded bloggers and tweeters that you should be following. Twitter will also suggest users to follow. Check out and see who the people you are following are following. And follow them yourself if they are relevant or if you find them generally interesting.
I check my new followers regularly so I can follow back. But I tend to notice auto-bots and I block them. You can usually tell it’s an auto generated account when a half-naked woman is the photo or there is no photo at all and it’s the generic Twitter “egg”. Another telltale sign is when you mention a popular keyword such as Travel or Poker and next thing you know you have a swarm of new followers.
Tweeting & Re-Tweeting
Now, for me, this is the tricky part. You need to strike a balance between personal and professional. You don’t want your Twitter feed to be all about business but you also don’t want it to be filled with nonsense updates either, so you need to balance the two. People want to know a real person is on the other side of the computer and it will make them more likely to follow you back and re-tweet your tweets.
Reverting back to the example about drug recalls, you want to monitor news channels so you can stay on top of any recalls and be among the first to share the news with your audience. But you also want to add some personal tweets in there that others will relate too. But, have you ever followed someone and they tweet every single thing they are doing that day? No one cares, that’s the truth! Mention needing caffeine and you’ll likely have several agreeing with you as most of us it require it daily especially mid-afternoon. But no one cares that you had a fiber bar for breakfast.
I have a highly responsive Ultrabook that goes everywhere with me, which is most commonly the bookstore where I enjoy free Wi-Fi and copious amounts of coffee. I spend a few minutes in the morning checking my news streams and the people I follow. I re-tweet any tweets that catch my attention and are relevant to me. The very point is sharing someone else’s info and hoping they do the same for you. So you need to be someone that inspires them to want to share.
Respond to all your mentions (aka re-tweets) as best you can and be sure to say thank you. Gratitude goes a long way and helps to foster relationships. Twitter can be as powerful to your business as you want it to be. If you set it up to auto follow and auto reply, along with sending auto messages, you aren’t likely to achieve the goal of making people care about what you have to say. In fact, that annoys most people. Hiring someone to handle your Twitter account is a viable option but try to hire a person that will add some personality not a company that you will end up paying to do the very thing you are trying to avoid.
And let’s not forget that for most, Twitter is an extension of your blog, website or mixture of both. You want these people to also visit and interact with you there too, give them a reason to take time out of their day to want to read your Twitter and click through to your site or vice versa.
Belinda Lima is a freelance writer for andgeeks.com and bbgeeks.com. She graduated from the University of Texas with her Graduate degree in Creative Writing and now uses her word smith talents and her love of technology to write about a variety of social media, consumer electronics, and mobile accessories topics in her articles. When she’s not writing, Belinda can often be found hiking and rock-climbing the gorgeous vistas that surround her city.