There, I’ve said it. If your idea of Twitter is sharing trivial information about daily practices that not even your mother cares about, it would indeed be a waste of time. But if you think that’s all Twitter has going for it, you’ve got it wrong.
What Twitter’s great for:
- Engaging with industry leaders, authors, and people you admire when otherwise they wouldn’t give you the time of day. Why? Because it only takes them a few seconds.
- Getting quick answers to a simple survey question or a question about almost anything that doesn’t require a long discussion (e.g. What’s your favorite restaurant in Manhattan? What email provider do you use?, etc.).
- Finding out what people are saying about any topic. Do a search using hashtags (#) to pull up all the tweets on that topic (e.g., #capitalpunishment)
I set aside about 20 minutes weekly to pre-schedule one or two tweets a day and 10 minutes daily to see what others are saying and join the conversation if appropriate (see checklist below). I use Hootesuite to pre-schedule my tweets.
Here’s some very basic Twitter terminology you need to know: A post on Twitter is called a Tweet. When you repost something someone else tweeted, it’s called a retweet or RT. Trending topics, or TT, are topics discussed by many users at a given time. These are often identified by a hashtag (#) plus the topic name. You can Favorite a tweet by clicking on the star. That is an easy and friendly way to recognize someone for sharing your content.
Twitter set-up tips
- Be sure to upload a decent headshot of yourself for your profile. Even if it’s a company Twitter account, people are communicating with a person, so the picture should be the person who manages your account.
- It’s nice to add a customized background color or image
- Always include your company website’s URL in your bio and make sure it’s a live link.
- Make your bio warm and inviting – include some personal info as well as professional. Don’t include too many (if any) hashtags. I find it annoying.
- Add a Twitter app to your phone and iPad so you can keep up with it while you’re away from your office.
Twitter daily checklist – 10 minutes
- Check notifications and reply to @mentions. Thank people who have mentioned or retweeted you, or “favorite” their retweet – 3 minutes
- Check direct messages, but I’ve found there’s so much spam here that I often don’t need to reply – 2 minutes
- Browse your tweet stream and join or start a conversation. If you find something interesting or valuable, share it by retweeting. This not only provides value to your followers, but it puts you on the radar screen of whoever wrote the tweet you’re sharing – 5 minutes
This is not supposed to be a chore. Give Twitter a try, because lots of your customers and potential customers are using it, and you want to make it as easy as possible for them to get a favorable impression of you and your business. One way to do this is to set up a “listening station” so you’ll know whether people are mentioning you on Twitter. You can do this by setting up and saving a simple Twitter search or Google Alert of your name and your company’s name.
Chris Brogan gives a great example of using Twitter – go to the 2:22 mark and listen
Twitter Guide Book from Mashable
31 Twitter Tips from Ken Krogue on Forbes.com
Twitter tips Infographic from Media Bistro (Frankly, I don’t like infographics, but some people love ’em!)