Succeeding in Twitter is achieved by getting a critical mass of followers. Your target is to have a large enough number of relevant followers; those who will be interested in your content. The more followers you have, through the simple power of social proof – the more likely it is that others will follow you.

Twitter is a great tool to help you connect on a more personal level with your customers, advocates and employees. Use it to build your brand first and foremost – do not use it to drive sales. In the longer term you will/should be able to drive repeat customers to your business. This however takes perseverance and an understanding of how to use the Twitter tool effectively. Follow the steps below and you should be able to gather a following of around 1,000 Twitter in just a few months:

 

 Choose your Twitter ID; your  @twittername

Your Twitter ID is your Twitter brand.   Many people create their personal brand by using their name, eg @jemmimastuart. You should also include a good picture or a strong logo.  You can even customize your Twitter background with services such as freetwitterdesigner.com

The next step is to fill in your Twitter profile as completely a you can. Remember, this is a chance to ‘sell your brand’. A tip is to incorporate your ‘elevator pitch’ in your bio. In other words use your bio to capture what you provide for others in a single sentence. For example, ‘We sell high quality, customizable, cake-decorating kits for children’. Bear in mind that Twitter restricts users to 140 characters for each post. This means the longer your Twitter ID, the more space it uses which will limit your tweeting room.


  Learn the Twitter  lingo

How do you know when to @ or DM?  What is a RT? Include a Twitter ID when you reply, for example @ihubbusiness thanks for the follow! You can only use a DM to communicate with someone who already follows you.  Use RT if you want to share someone else’s tweet with your followers, eg RT how to tweet like a pro via @markshaw (a genuine pro)


Start tweeting

The secret of success on Twitter is tweeting, and tweeting often. Begin by writing at least 100 good-quality tweets; then you can go looking for followers which I cover in step 4.  Twitter expert @markshaw suggests 3 types of messages (source Working 5 to 9 by Emma Jones. Harriman House: ISBN 978-1906059684):


·        Social chit chat


·        The sharing of resources, links, tools, info, ideas and opinions


·        Tweets that answer question which demonstrate your knowledge.


As a general rule, aim for a good balance. Services such as Inboxq.com allow you to answer questions related to your niche giving you an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise.


     Search for people to follow

Twitter is primarily about facilitating conversations so unless l you start to follow others, you will have little more than a blank page.


I have spoken to many people who are reluctant to follow people they do not know, however this is not the real world; it is a virtual world where practices like this are entirely acceptable – in fact encouraged.  Conventional wisdom has it that if you have chosen to follow the right people, you may only get around half of those people following you back and my experience would corroborate this. As you increase your tweeting frequency you should find that this percentage increases. The good news is that the more followers you accumulate the more new followers will be attracted to you. Be a genuine follower yourself as well as encouraging others to follow you. Twitter is a great way to learn about your market. The quality of your tweets will improve considerably if you analyse what it is about the tweets you read that makes you take notice of a particular tweet above others.

 Start by looking for people who share common professions or interests. It is also worth following ‘thought leaders’ and/or experts in your niche. Try the following resources which will make it easy for you to find people to follow:


Twitter search – this is very easy to use and offers comprehensive results.  A good starting point is to search for people you already know; try looking at your business cards and see if any of your business acquaintances or customers are on Twitter. Search on Twitter for keywords that relate to your market. Find the most interesting or helpful tweets and pick a few Twitter users. Have a look at their profiles. Have they written many tweets? Are the tweets interesting, relevant and helpful? If so, follow them. Another good tip is to look at who they follow and repeat the process by following those that meet your criteria. I would limit this to around 100 people to start with. Avoid anyone who has only written a small handful of tweets as it is likely that they have achieved their huge (probably) following by using automated software which is totally not what Twitter is trying to achieve.


WeFollow – Created by Digg founder Kevin Rose, WeFollow organizes people by hashtags #.  It is user generated and you can add yourself by tweeting @WeFollow with five hashtags that describe yourself.


Twellow – Twellow allows you to target people you wish to follow pretty easily as you can search by category.



Tweepi -  This app allows you to follow those who follow people you admire. It also has an integrated ‘management’ feature which allows you to see those who are following you and those who aren’t.


 Learn Twitter dos and don'ts


Do not post any personal information on Twitter

Do not be aggressive and avoid bad language.

Do not ask multiple questions of the same person

Do not have conversations which run into multiple tweets with a person. Very annoying!

Do not thank someone for following you with a pitch to sell something to them .Twitter is primarily an engagement tool

 


      Do thank those who mention or follow you as much as you can


      Do be polite at all times


      Do Retweet (RT) good content that you find


      Do be clear whether or not you wish to aAutofollow. My advice is not to; however I may be in a minority on this one. I suggest following those you wish to follow because of the value they provide you. You may not have much control over who follows you, so you can at least exercise the privilege of following who you wish to follow. I will use Tweepi to look at who has followed me, and then I will browse through their bios and decide if I want to follow them back.


     Do recommend others you rate- they will appreciate this and are more likely to  do the same for you


      Engage those who follow you


         A good tip is to read their bios which will give you some insights about them. If you know that a follower has an interest in art for example, tweet interesting content relevant to the interest to your follower. Make sure you use their @twitterid in your tweet.


    Be committed on Twitter

   Try and tweet something every day.  That said, the quality of your tweets is more important than the quantity. A good tip is to use an app such as Bufferapp which enables you to schedule your tweets. There is a free basic version which I highly recommend, and the team behind Buffer are great. Make sure you keep your buffer topped up (the app will remind you!). If you are stuck for content, I suggest visiting the excellent alltop.com which has plenty of great content you can share with your (by now) growing Twitter community; simply Tweet the best articles.

             

Effectively manage your Twitter account


As your follower base increases you may find it difficult to monitor all your replies and messages. A good tip is to set up lists of those who you want to actively follow but bear in mind that if you follow hundreds of people you cannot really engage with all of them (as I have discovered).Keep your lists down to around 50 people and interact with them as appropriate. The point is to keep your view of Twitter down to a reasonable and manageable level.

 There are services that can help such as TweetDeck (however I am told it can slow down the functionality of your PC) or try Seesmic desktop. Another tool to check out is marketmesuite.com.


       Promote your Twitter account


·        Use tools such as Wisestamp signature tool.


·        Add your Twitter ID when you comment on a blog


·        When you make a friend of someone on another social media platform, include your ID


·        Wherever you are asked to leave your details, make sure you include your Twitter ID



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ABOUT

Ihubbusiness is an information hub for small businesses who wish to learn about internet marketing. The site was founded by Lola Bailey in 2010. Lola is a member of the Institute of Digital Marketing and has over 20 years sales and marketing experience. She is also a full-time copywriter at www.write-upcommunications.co.uk, a copywriter consultancy which she founded. Email: editor@ihubbusiness.co.uk

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