The Global Language Monitor recently announced the most used word of 2009. Any guesses on the word? #hint — the word is “Twitter.”
So, what’s all the hoopla about? NST developed a white paper that examines the basics — what it means to “follow” someone, what the heck a retweet (RT) and hashtags are, and what this #followfriday is all about – as well as some more advanced topics, including reasons for your business to join Twitter and things to consider before entering the Twittersphere. Here are some tips for success taken from the paper, but we encourage you to read the full Twitter white paper.
- Think about what you tweet – Choose your characters wisely (you only have 140), and make sure your tweets tie back to your goal. Chris Brogan, co-author of “Trust Agents” suggests instead of answering the question, “What are you doing?” answer the question “What has your attention?” This will make sure your tweets entail more than what you are eating for lunch.
- Listen regularly – Listening is critical. Don’t forget this important step. Listening should be done not only before a Twitter effort, but also on a regular basis.
- Don’t ignore your bio – Filling out your short Twitter bio is free and easy, but it is also very important. Mat Leonard in the Search Engine Journal says your Twitter bio is actually your meta description, which shows up in search engines. Choose your bio words carefully, and use important key words and phrases in your bio. Also, upload a photo of yourself – people like to know who they are tweeting with online.
- Have fun, and show it in your Tweets – Speak casually and candidly. No one wants to hear a boring talking head. Leave behind the marketing speak, and show your Twitter personality.
- Don’t be afraid to retweet – If someone you follow tweets something of interest to you, then retweet it. Twitter is all about sharing. By retweeting someone, you are building a relationship with that person and helping define what your brand on Twitter is all about.
- Tweet often … but not too often – Managing a Twitter account is a commitment. If you can’t commit, then don’t do it. Most of NST-managed Twitter accounts tweet at least three times a day, and we are constantly monitoring for brand mentions or opportunities for engagement. Remember, no Twitter account is worse than an inactive Twitter account. Conversely, be careful not to over tweet, especially with self-serving messages and links. The last thing you want is to look like a spammer.
- Get linky – Sharing links is a key part of making yourself valuable on Twitter – and this means linking to content other than you own, when appropriate and when you think it provides value to your followers.
- Promote your Twitter presence ¬– Put your Twitter handle on your e-mail signature, on your business cards and in other places where you promote your business.
- Chose your followers – You don’t need to follow everyone who follows you. You should only follow people who are interesting and provide value. If they don’t meet this criteria, unfollow them and remember they will do the same to you, if you don’t remain relevant. Use Twitter search engines like Tweepz.com or Tweepsearch.com, or directories like Twello.com or WeFollow.com to find followers that interest you.
- Do more than just talk; take action – If fielding customer service issues via Twitter (you may be doing this even if it isn’t your main goal), it is important that the person managing the account has the ability to actually solve customer service issues. Replacing defective products, sending out coupons when appropriate or issuing refunds are a few examples of “taking action” on Twitter.
If you are considering a Twitter account for your business, this paper should help get you thinking, and – of course – we’re here to help. Happy Tweeting!