Use the Marketing Potential of Twitter
Promote Yourself and Others in 140 Characters
I love Twitter and have been tweeting since the U.S. primary elections of 2008. I use Twitter to connect to other bloggers in my niche, to connect with other people who live in Hawai'i and just to generally reach out to people who share similar interests with me. It is a wonderful networking tool and you would be amazed what gets said and done in 140 characters. More networking can be done with these like-minded people via direct message, on the phone or on email. I've even attended tweet-ups with some of the folks I've tweeted with. Once my family and I spent a wonderful evening with a couple I had been tweeting with when we visited Australia. We still think of them as good friends and yet it was a large, somewhat impersonal social network that brought us together. Twitter does indeed have the power to connect people.
If you haven't been using Twitter to promote your business, I suggest you set up an account and start tweeting right away. If you already have a Twitter account and you've been letting your account languish, log in and get your tweet on. Here are some tips for promoting yourself and/or your business on Twitter:
- Once you're on Twitter, you want to gain some followers. You can do so by tweeting valuable information. You can share information about your business niche, current events or even interesting things you come across on the web. The question you should ask yourself before tweeting info is if it adds value to the Twitter community. If it does, tweet away! Others on Twitter will start following you and they (or others) will retweet your original tweets if they agree that they're valuable and pretty soon those people are following you as well. You become part of one big information watershed.
- Use hashtags to make sure your tweets are seen by like-minded people. Do you want to tweet about a giveaway on your blog? Be sure to add #giveaway to your tweet so that all those following that hashtag will see your tweet. Pretty soon, you'll be writing in hashtags, #ipromiseyou. One thing to avoid doing with hashtags is to exploit them. Here's what I mean. When you log into Twitter you should be able to see on the right hand side of your dashboard what the currently hot hashtags are. Do not use a hashtag in a tweet that has nothing to do with the hashtag. If you do this, it just looks like you're trying to get some attention rather than adding some value to the hashtag topic.
- Regularly share links on Twitter from your blog or website. There are plug-ins for self-hosted Wordpress blogs that will auto-publish to Twitter every time you publish a new article. You may be able to set up something similar on a third party site for Blogger blogs as well.
- Respond to the tweets of popular Twitter users. Chances are, they will reply back to you! I would look for tweeps (Twitter talk for twitter people) in your specialty niches or other like-minded folks to respond to. And while it would be fun to have a celebrity (in your niche or in general) respond to your tweet, the more famous they are the less likely you are to get them to tweet to you since many people are doing the same thing to them that you are. Nevertheless, it is quite a rush when someone you admire responds to your tweet. And if others see this person tweeting to you, they will follow you as well.
- Have a giveaway with a condition that people have to follow your Twitter account in order to enter. You can run this giveaway on Twitter or you can do it on your own site or blog with just a link to your Twitter account so you can easily be followed. You may find that some of these kinds of followers don't have a lot in common with you or that a few may stop following you after the contest ends but, if you want a lot of followers quickly, this is one way to do it.
- Be sure to reply to anyone who responds to your tweets. It can be a simple reply on your part, like "Thank you so much!" or "I agree!" but to respond is to validate that other person's presence on Twitter. It's just a small way to make another tweep feel important. Consider it good etiquette on a social network to reply to tweets directed at you.
- Make it obvious that you're a real person. This doesn't mean including typos on purpose. Your Twitter "personhood" can include timely tweets about current events, links to images of your dog, your dinner, the stormy sky, etc. All of these kinds of tweets verify that you're not a bot, that you might even have an interesting personality but, at the same time, they don't violate your privacy. Sending and responding to these kinds of tweets makes people feel like they know you and that you can be trusted.
- This goes along with some of the other points I've made, but I'll say it again here. Don't limit your tweets to business only. It makes you look dull and people don't want to interact with a dull person on Twitter. It also makes you look selfish, like you only want to promote your business on Twitter and that you don't care about other tweeps. I think a 60/40 split between business and personal tweets will make you look like a valuable contributor to the Twitter community. You can play around with that a bit--just be sure you don't go in the direction of business 100%.
- Don't overdo your tweeting. People will get tired of you if you're tweeting constantly. In fact they might just tweet you directly, saying that you're flooding their twitter stream--just before they unfollow you. So add value to their Twitter stream when you can--just don't tweet constantly.
If you are promoting something online, whether its your blog or a business, you can't afford NOT to be on Twitter. These tips will help you to promote your business on Twitter, provide value to other tweeps and integrate into the Twitter community.
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