I have held various leadership positions in marketing during my career and I am very comfortable with new technologies. I have launched pioneering products, initiated new business models, and created entirely new market segments within the technology industry. My point is that I usually get things done pretty quickly, but I have to confess that Twitter actually stumped me for a while.
If you’re starting to tweet, stick with it. It takes a little time to understand its purpose and value. From a business perspective, the benefits are not as obvious as search engine marketing, using Facebook, or blogging as I am doing now. Microbloggers on Twitter are truly a unique animal. Similar to the tips I’ve given before regarding social media, to get the hang of it, you really need to jump in and get started.
Twitter tag: As with all social media places, there is a protocol and a set of etiquette that you will want to know and follow. The faster you collect them, the faster you will get loyal followers. No matter what drum beat you march to, there’s a group, a community, and a Twitter feed for you. Don’t wait to be invited to the dance, just start dancing. It can get quite addictive and very rewarding when you start to see the benefits. Here are 10 tips I’ve learned that should be helpful to get you started.
- Ask topical questions: People on Twitter like to engage in back and forth conversations. Questions are a good start for thought and a great way to start a dialogue. It’s an easy way to get started and test the water when you first start tweeting.
- Post helpful facts, tips, and content: In addition to short conversations, most people are on Twitter to search for information. It’s the whole “give to get” thing. Make sure you value the community and the people who follow you. Unless you are a famous person, you should focus on posting interesting facts, helpful tips, and valuable free content.
- Say thanks: It’s a common etiquette on Twitter to say thank you when someone decides to follow you, adds you to a list, or retweets one of your tweets. Do it frequently.
- Recognize others: Retweeting other people’s tweets is a form of recognition. You should also thank the other person by adding a comment to their retweets, that is, great advice, useful information, thanks for sharing, etc.
- Request help from Twitter: Tell people what you are looking for or what interests you. It’s also okay to ask for help on how to better use Twitter and take advantage of the tools available in that area. People on Twitter want to interact with you and they like to help.
- Introduce you: When you gain followers, send them a personal note and introduce yourself. Tell them something about yourself so they can connect with you. You can do this in a direct message or some people do it in the public Twitter feed.
- Answer other people’s questions: Answer questions other people ask you. Always try to add value by giving a thoughtful response and maybe even provide them with a helpful link on the topic they’ve tweeted about. Be honest, real and show your personality.
- Let people know when you add them to your Twitter list: Say hello to your friends to let them know when you add them to your Twitter lists. Another way to recognize them and give them recognition.
- When they add you to a list, say thank you: When they add you to a list, it usually means that you share the same interests with them. Say thank you and tell them something about yourself. Make the connection and keep the conversation going.
- Waiting for Twitter events: People who follow the events live can be identified by the hashtag. If you decide to participate in an event, introduce yourself first. Follow up with a direct message to those with whom you had similar interests and that you value their contributions.
Twitter for business: Twitter, like other forms of social media, is about giving back to the community or, in this case, the crowd that follows you. Before being accepted, you must first give value. If you are seen as only selling something (self-interest), people will not respond to you. You should use it to show your thought leadership and create brand differentiation by providing unique and valuable content. Customers want to buy from people they like and respect. Once they have an affinity for your expertise, they will reward you. It’s okay to open up and show your personality. Social media is built on trust and making connections that provide mutual benefit. Like-minded people will follow you.
Given my background in technology, it’s hard to admit, while biting my lip, that I was dumb at first with Twitter. Its business value is not obvious. However, after several months of use and some trial and error, I have to tell you that it really is an amazing form of communication and should be included as part of your social media guide. Once you take the right steps, you will master things and find your rhythm. Twitter is not difficult. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Boomer, Gen X, Gen Y, or part of the Lost Generation, if you understand some of the basic protocols, etiquette, and ways to engage the crowd, you’ll soon find value on Twitter.