What is Twitter?
Twitter is simply a means to communicate with other Tweeple
(Twitter people) in a 140 characters or less.
I think people enjoy Twitter so much because of the
frankness. It makes you condense your posts into the most important
information. In short, you get right to the point.
Why should I use
The Lemmings mentality - everyone else is doing it. But in
this case, it means that by establishing a Twitter account you can talk to
everyone in one social media outlet.
Ok, then what can I
do with a Twitter account?
The main benefit is that you can easily get your information
out to thousands or potentially millions of people. However, one has to be
careful about "spamming" or only posting information about your company or URLs
to your pages. The Twitter population is very wary of spam and will easily peg
you as such and unfollow. There's one simple way around this - share
information about you that's genuine. Don't just pipe out the corporate PR.
Make the account personal and interesting. It also gives the public a way of
communicating with you the Company/ Person that it didn't have before. That's
why Celebrities get on twitter -- people can feel they can interact with
So... how do I do this?
Well first, go sign up for an account. Make the name
memorable. Most people say just go with your name. I think it's fine to go with
a nickname or moniker, just stay away from underscores and numbers. Once that's
done you need to develop your profile. This means selecting an avatar for
yourself (usually just a personal picture), writing a brief biography and
stylizing your profile with a background and colors. Now, here's where people
make the first mistake. Instead of immediately trying to build a followership, work on
creating a few posts. Get about 10 or so under your belt before you actively
recruit followers. Think of it as your time to develop your style or test how to post and retweet information. Some people will find you and follow you just based on what
you're saying. Now comes the hardest part - attracting followers.
Again, how do I do
The universally agreed way to build a group of followers is
to first follow people. Tweeple are fairly reciprocal. If you follow them, they
will follow you (there will be more on this below). Start following people that
are like-minded or share an interest in what you're going to be talking about.
Sigh... how do I do
Search and cannibalism my good friend! First, search for
terms that relate to your interests. By using the Twitter search function you
can easily find people who have mentioned your keywords in the last few months.
Follow them. Then search more words and follow those people. Eventually you'll
come upon the jackpot - an account to cannibalize. This is an account that is
doing the same thing you're doing - either talking about the same subjects or tweeting about the same type of products. This means they've already done the work for
you. Obviously followers of this account are either interested or (at the very
least) not turned off to this account's message. Simply see the people who are
following them and BAM you now how a list of followers to feed from. Who
says cannibalism is all bad? Finally there are channels within Twitter that are
defined by hash tags (#). You'll see tweets that use the terms #followfriday,
#tv, etc. This means they're tweet is related to a specific keyword or subject.
With Twitter tools like TweetDeck (more on that in the Tools section) you can
follow channels and then follow the people that use them. Fun!
So I just shotgun
follow as many people as possible? Is that it?
Well, not really. If you follow a couple of hundred
followers a day you're going to look like a spammer account (rightfully so). The trick is to
follow in moderation and let those people you've followed follow you back.
Here's a good rule of thumb: When first starting out try and follow 30-50
people a day. Then, after three
day go back and dump the people who haven't followed you back. Show some tough
love. This is a great way to gain a bunch of followers quickly without being a spam account. By dropping the follow only group every three days, you keep
your following/followers ratio to near even. Example: if you are following 750
people and only 200 are following you back then you look like a spammer.
However, if you are following 500 and have 450 following you back you look like
a legitimate account that has content people want to listen to. The key ratio to have in mind is 1.5:1
following/followers ration; or, never following more than 150% above your
Yes. There are good times of the week and bad times of the
week to follow people (yes, people have devoted time to studying this stuff).
The key times to follow Tweeple are between 1-3PM and 7-9PM on weekdays (CST)
and Sunday afternoon and evening. It's been shown that your reciprocal
followers average 35-50% during these times. On the off times you can average
10-20%. That's a big difference when you're talking thousands of potential
Well, thanks for all
your help! I'm off to start an account!
Hold on a minute! There are a few rather important things
still left to say. First, let's talk about your posting strategy. You want to
be a valued and popular member of the community. You get to be this by promoting your site or products on occasion, not every other tweet. Only 10% of your tweets should actually
be about your business, product or contain URLs to your webpages. The rest
breaks down to: 30% personal or real comments about your day, 30% retweeting
(RT) other people's tweets (this builds good loyalty between members and
creates an "I'll pat your back if you pat mine" mentality"), and 30% general
useful comments (usually helpful links to pages that aren't yours, news, or
funny web items). That, in a nutshell, is how to succeed with Twitter.
Useful Twitter Tools
Here are a handful of free tools that will make your Twitter
experience much, much better:
Free Twitter Backgrounds (give your Twitter site a
non-generic look without much work): http://www.agglom.com/agglom/1320/Pimp_my_Twitter_Twitter_backgrounds_and_design
Twitter Mission Control (TweetDeck - a way to keep track of
your responses, follow channels and top keywords in one handy application): http://www.tweetdeck.com/beta/
Twitter Karma (The site to use when you're doing a bulk
unfollow of those who haven't followed you. Sign in, select "only following",
go to the bottom and "check all." You may want to unselect some Twitter
accounts that aren't following you - in the case of news or interest - and then
click "bulk unfollow." This will purge your Twitter account of those not
interested in what you have to say and keep your ratio low: http://dossy.org/twitter/karma/
Twitter Grader (A fun site to see how well your Twitter
account is doing):http://twitter.grader.com/
Twitter Top 40 (An assortment of other great Twitter tools
you can explore with): http://www.longest.com/2008/10/28/top-twitter-tools/