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twitter for Business: How to Make it Effective

What can you say in 140 characters? If you’ve been using twitter, you’ll find that the answer is quite a bit! If you’ve been under a rock for the past couple of years, twitter defines itself as a “..real-time short messaging service that works over multiple networks and devices”. Basically they provide you with the ability to create short updates of 140 characters or less, follow other people’s updates, and have other people follow your updates. It’s a simple concept that has absolutely taken off!

As with an social media, the question eventually comes around to “Is this just simply a social medium or can it be used to enhance my business?” This answer for you is Probably… First off when using twitter for business you have to get out of your head the notion of advertising or you won’t be successful. twitter is about building relationships and sharing information. Businesses that are successful at using twitter to increase their online presence do not just simply “spam” their information out there. They build relationships, they interact with other users of twitter, and they share information. That information should include information about your company or services but for the most part will not.

First off when using twitter for business you have to get out of your head the notion of advertising or you won’t be successful. twitter is about building relationships and sharing information.

So how do I use twitter for my business?

twitter Username
Your first step is to get a twitter username. This is how people see you on twitter and will also be your personalized URL on twitter (i.e. http://twitter.com/JaredDetroit). It’s best to have a user name that can easily be recognized as you or your company as well as being easy to remember. This is not a time to create a clever alternate spelling or use cryptic words that can’t be remembered. Don’t create a sales pitch name (i.e. MakeMoneyOnlineNow)

Profile
You absolutely must fill out your profile to be taken seriously on twitter. Too many times I get someone following me that may be legitimate but they don’t have a picture and they don’t have a profile. Having your profile filled out lets me make a quick decision on whether I want to follow you back or not. Don’t try to cram everything into your profile. Keep it targeted and succinct. Say something about your business but have something personal or interesting in there.

WARNING! – If you want to be successful on twitter do not go out and follow 2,000 people on your first day without having any tweets. You WILL NOT get many followers back and you will look like a spam account!

Tweeting (after you have completed your profile)
It’s time to let the twitterverse know what you’re all about. They can see your bio, your picture, and your website address but their main opinion will be on what you tweet. Here are some quick tips:

  • Download a client to get the most out of your twitter experience. I highly recommend Tweetdeck for organizing twitter
  • Do not make it just about your company
  • Put casual tweets out there (examples below) or questions
  • Talk about someone else, your city or something your passionate about
  • Shortening of words to get more space is very much accepted (i.e. your, you’re = ur, for, four = 4, etc)
  • Follow a friend or a company that you like and interact with them
  • Use the ratio of 1-10 for tweets about you and tweets about everything else for a rough measurement
  • Try to keep your following-follower ration within 10% (unless you have more followers)

To be successful at following strangers, you should have at least 10 quality tweets. This will let you follow more than a couple of people at a time with success. Here are some examples of some good tweets.

  • Talk about what you do over the weekend
  • What do you think about @starbucks coffee
  • What do you think about the weather?
  • What’s a critical piece of advice for …
  • Respond to someone’s tweet about …
  • Tell a company what you think about their product
  • Share a good article or website you found (use a URL shortener service like Bit.ly)
  • Click on the Tweet This link at the bottom of this article

These tweets may seem silly or useless for business but it’s necessary to let people know you’re a real person and not just out to advertise/spam them. Now start following some people slowly to build your following. Start slowly and focus on people in your industry, people that interest you or people in your area. Don’t just blindly follow everyone. When someone follows you review their profile and their tweets and see if it’s someone you want to follow back.

Your now well on your way to building your twitter presence. Look for upcoming posts about about automating content in twitter and automating followers (the right way).

Jared Pomranky

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