5 Things You Should Be Doing On Twitter

I thought Twitter was a joke. A maximum of 140 character messages? You've got to be kidding. There's no way you can use something popularized by Ashton Kutcher and Oprah for marketing … Or can you?

My initial foray into Twitterland was to follow some of the top copywriters and internet marketers. I wanted to see how they used Twitter as a marketing tool. These are folks like @michelfortin, @alexmandossian, @CGMakepeace, and @johncarlton007.

I followed other B2B marketers and some of the top business sites as well, such as @fastcompany. What I saw them doing surprised me. They were breaking what I heard was the number one taboo in social media . They were promoting their OWN blogs, and even their products. Those tricky SOBs were winning the game because they were making new rules as they were breaking the old rules.

Here are five things I discovered you should be doing on Twitter if you want to keep up with the players:

1. Follow hard and Play often.

After you set up your Twitter account, including a meaningful profile that says something about your focus, get in there and Tweet away. The more you tweet, the more you'll be followed. When you send out a provocative, inspirational, or meaningful tweet, your followers will re-tweet your tweet to their list. Those people in turn will follow you.

Use the Twitter search function to find the big players in your market. Follow them. They may or may not follow you back, but that doesn't matter. There are programs you can buy that will automatically follow everyone who follows your favorite people, but I advise against using these. You want quality, not quantity.

2. Mix it up.

Ann Handley of @MarketingProfs has over 32,000 followers because she sends a variety of tweets throughout the day. A large number of her Twitter posts are replies to others and re-tweets. This creates good Twitter karma by acknowledging that she's a part of a community.

When you reply to another person's post, your reply will be seen by his or her followers. If you say something meaningful and add to the conversation, many of them will follow you. By Re-tweeting a post, you're helping that person grow his or her list of followers. They will often give you a public Thank You for the re-tweet. They may also mention you on what's called "#FollowFriday", which has become a Friday tradition of suggesting other people to follow.

You should also add your own meaningful content, which is BEST done this way:

3. Add value through blog posts.

If you don't already have a blog, create one (let me know in the comment area below if you're interested in learning how to create a blog). You're a writer, so use your skills to create good blog posts. If you install one of a half dozen Wordpress Plugins (I use Twitme) that integrates your Wordpress blog with Twitter, the plugin will automatically create a Twitter post that references your blog post.

Trust me … people WILL click on the link and read your post, and they'll re-tweet it if they found it interesting. In fact, Michel Fortin has installed a plugin on his blog that sends a Tweet whenever he makes a comment on his own Blog! He knows that people are curious enough to click through.

4. Engage in conversations.

Use the search function in Twitter and type in keywords associated with your brand or business. Reach out to everyone talking about these items with a personally crafted Tweet. Do not resend the same thing over and over. People you interact with will read your Twitter stream and want to see what useful information you provide … and within seconds, you'll have dozens of new followers.

5. Be a good community member.

You'll see many of the top business Twitter users provide links to products, seminars, or even services provided by their colleagues and peers. Don't ever promote an affiliate product. DO promote free stuff that you think is useful, even if you know that it's a freebie used to get people onto the person's marketing list.

If you're helping the people you follow (or your followers), they'll do the same for you. A simple "announcement" tweet about your new E-book or seminar will garner dozens of re-tweets. A recent social media webinar, for example, sold out almost entirely from Twitter posts. This stuff works.

Bonus Tip

Finally, please don't let Twitter take over your life. Set aside specific times to search, review Tweets from your favorites, and send your own Tweets. I use the free program TweetDeck to track all the Twitter posts flying through at the rate of 10 per second. Talk to any Twitter user and he will have his favorite tool. Most let you categorize the people you follow so that you can scan your favorites first and ignore or un-follow those who waste your time.

Happy Tweeting.

P.S. You can follow me at @copysmith.

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Published: May 20, 2009

3 Responses to “5 Things You Should Be Doing On Twitter”

  1. Sid... good ideas. Again short and sweet, but packed with good info.

    John Wiggill

  2. Very useful and helpful information. Thanks for the post.


  3. Sid, you asked, or rather told us if we would like help with a Blog to let you know.
    I would love to have help setting up one.

    What advice do you have?


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