Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Opinion, Review, Social Media, Twitter | Posted on Sep 29, 2011
‘Do real marketers actually use Twitter?”
In one word: YES!
Do you want to get more followers? Do you want to learn something new? Do you want to make genuine connections with people in your industry?
Of course you do! So to get these great benefits you need to get on Twitter!
I know Twitter can be a little intimidating, I mean there are 114 Million tweets published EVERYDAY. So you need to learn how to deal with this data and start getting something from the segmented tweets you actually want to read. Here are my top 5 tips for getting started on Twitter:
1. Get a 3rd Party Tool
There are two types of tools you need to get. The first is a tool that lets you post outside of twitter on a nice looking dashboard. I use TweetDeck, but many people prefer to use Hootsuite. Either will work fine, they allow you to see your posts outside of the browser. In TweetDeck you can also set what you want to be alerted about, this is important when you start following a significant amount of people. Rather than getting an alert from everyone, you can set it to alert you when you are mentioned or when a specific hashtag is used. This keeps relevant information coming and and makes your Twitter feed’s fired hose of information more like a squirt gun.
The next type of tool is an analytics tool. I use Crowdbooster to schedule Tweets, check my impression rate, evaluate my account’s growth and identify my most influential followers. Crowdbooster also suggests what time you should be posting during the day based on the number of impressions you get. An analytics tool gives you information about how your Twitter campaign is doing and gives you tips to make it more effective.
Between TweetDeck and Crowdbooster it is extremely easy for me to optimize my Twitter campaign.
2. Follow People in your Industry
Prior to creating a Twitter account you need to have a clear persona for your user. For my personal Twitter I have set myself up as a resource for people looking for information on Social Media, Email Marketing, and Affiliate Marketing. I know the influential people in my field so I find them on Twitter and start following their tweets. People are notified when they get new followers, either via email or in their analytics tool. Most people will follow you back if you are relevant to their industry and will definitely follow you back if you have enough Klout.
3. Mention the people you Follow
Now you have an account, are set up on TweetDeck and Crowdbooster and have followed some of the leaders in your industry. Great! It is time to start posting. A good way to start is to reply to other posts and adding your spin in 140 characters. Make sure the user’s handle that you are mentioning is in your tweet and they will be notified. In most cases people respond back, so don’t just say ‘That was SO interesting’ add to the discussion. Twitter is the ultimate place for quick, direct and to the point public discourse. People are excited when their content is Retweeted or replied to, remember this is social media (keyword SOCIAL).
4. Join a Hashtag Chat
So you have identified the big players in your industry, but one person isn’t the be-all-end-all of a topic. Expand your horizons with hashtag chats. If you are involved in a hashtag chat and are using TweetDeck, set a new column with that particular hashtag. Join chats that fit within your niche and start answering the questions and interacting with others. If your tweets are of high quality they will start a wave of discussion, get you more followers, and many more retweets. The more people mention and retweet you, the more your message & brand spread. I attend 5-7 hashtag chats a week, here are a few I HIGHLY recommend:
- Social Chat #socialchat Monday @ 9pm EST
- Brand Chat #brandchat Wednesday @ 11am EST
- Social Media Measure Chat #smmeasure Thursday @ 12pm EST
5. Post Valuable Content with Relevant Hashtags
If there is one thing you must have noticed during this entire post I kept telling you to post content that adds value. People don’t care about everyday banalities, they care about the latest information with well thought out critique. If you find a good blog post, then give a quick summary add the link and throw a few hashtags in like #blog and #[post's topic, e.g. SocialMedia, FacebookTimeline, etc...]. People follow all sorts of hashtags, so now the information that would normally only be seen by your direct followers is being served up to other people.
Twitter is a fun and powerful tool. I have met some very great people through Twitter and have started some very positive joint ventures with other people. Social media is very important and all too often we talk too much about Facebook and forget about such a great tool for networking.