No time…also known as the time it takes to read this post.
Starting out: Create your personality and/or brand.
Get rid of this picture. That is, unless you happen to look like o_O. Post a picture of yourself.
If you’re representing your company, then be your brand. If you’re representing yourself, then be yourself. Simple as that.
People often hint at the question: Should I have a different persona on Twitter? I give a resounding NO. As in real life, be yourself and if someone doesn’t like it, then chances are you probably don’t want to be working with them anyway.
Offer something valuable.
Before you start following 2934 people, put up some interesting content. Allow me to let you in on the “Am I going to follow this person?” process:
- Receive “So-and-so is now following you on Twitter” email. If name incorporates a lot of numbers, strange characters, or extremely risque verbiage, might possibly delete email. If not, continue to Step 2.
- See so-and-so’s picture (refer to “starting out”). If it’s o_O or a risque girl, delete email. If not, continue to Step 3.
- Look at number of following and followers. If the number of following far exceeds followers (I’m talking 3987 following and 34 followers), delete email. If not, continue to Step 4.
- Check out the number of updates. If the number is very low and followers/following are high, I tend to question this person. If all looks normal, continue to Step 5.
- Check out the Twitter page. (This is the one and only reason to have a really great background.)
- Look at recent posts. If there’s only a tweet or two and one is Trying to figure out Twitter, consider yourself not followed.
That may look like Twitter snobbery, but hey, I’m just looking out for you.
At the same time, creating interesting content is an ongoing process – just like blogging or creating web copy. There’s no harm in pushing your business or tweeting about your latest article, but give more than that too.
Find people in your niche.
There are a ton of great tools to search for people talking about what you’re interested in. The best and easiest is probably Twitter Search.
Once you start following a few people, you’ll quickly find out who they’re talking to – and become apart of that community in no time.
Know the lingo.
A year ago, there wasn’t much more to Twitter than RT or DM or @. Now there are a whole slew of Twitter slang that tends to throw newcomers off – sometimes enough to give up altogether. But here’s what you need to know:
- @ – Reply: when you want to (publicly) reply to someone. As in, @davecousins congratulations on getting the house under contract!!!
- RT – Retweet: when you want to repeat what someone else says (and give them props). As in, RT @flytenewmedia The best–and most difficult–thing you can do for your company is listen to customer complaints.
- DM – Direct Message: For tweets better sent privately.
- # – Hashtag: Typically used for events, popular topics, and often for silly mentions. These will tend to become trending topics for Twitter. For example, yesterday #gfail or #googlefail was a big one.
- #followfriday – Follow Friday: Possibly the most popular hastag. In order to continuously expand Twitter networks, Follow Friday is used to suggest others to follow. Here’s a great Mashable post on the anatomy of Follow Fridays.
ReTweet, Reply, Repeat
Basically, don’t start ignoring your Twitter account. Keep the conversation going by constantly adding something insightful – and here are some ways to do that.
If you ever hit a rough patch in your tweeting, think of it like running. If you run, you know you hit a wall – that point where your legs seize up and your lungs scream for you to just stop already. You also know that if you run through the wall, you’ll come out the other side being just fine and suprisingly able to run for quite a while further.
I think Twitter has a wall. There’s the point where you think Is this really worth my time? And then BAM! You’re addicted, networking up a storm, and even making your next sale.