Treat Twitter respectfully for the right response

Twitter is also called micro-blogging, because it is an opportunity for you to express yourself and tell the world all the facts about you and your business you are unable to fit into your website. It’s micro-blogging because it is confined to only 140 characters per ‘tweet’, which means you have to be concise with your message. (If you reduce it down to 120 characters that will leave room for any retweets.)

Just go ahead and join up, but make sure you’re careful with your username. Does it truly reflect you or your business? And if you were to change direction, would it continue to be useful? And is it memberable, easy to spell, universal to understand? If you can squeeze in a keyword, so much the better.

Communicate with your followers, don’t just post endless bits about yourself. Also don’t tweet rubbish or uninteresting material. Find out others within your target market and ask them questions, engage them in conversation, just like networking. People react to a lively commentary, and if you want to know something, tweet it in general – some people say Twitter is better than search engines for finding out what you want.

Find all the gurus and experts in your field through Twellow.com. Ask them questions and try and get to know them, but don’t bombard them – they also have a life. It’s best to watch and read their tweets first to learn how to tweet effectively and what line they are taking. Look at their followers and see if there are any you would like to follow too.

Post up some valuable information for your followers to read, and if you’re stuck for content, use Google Alerts to send you material on your chosen subjects, then trawl through and post up the interesting stuff using tinyurls for the links (this facility is incorporated into applications like TweetDeck). But usually the advice that comes direct from you is best because it shows off who you are, unlike those people who tweet endless quotations.

Get fodder for your tweets from the stuff you have already written – any articles, blogs, e-books, old emails or whatever. You’d be surprised what you have already, and it will be all your own material. Feed your new posts from your blog into your Twitter stream, and get retweet widgets for your blog so people can retweet your posts if they like them, and you can also feed your e-newsletters through Aweber.com and articles from EzineArticles.com into Twitter through their automation.

And finally, get a following to follow you, which you can achieve if you continue to post up valuable information, strike up intellectual and humorous conversations, provide relevant input to discussions, regularly retweet stuff you like and acknowledge kind gestures towards you. Then you’ll get to be known as an expert in your field, and can start to achieve more business through your other business media.

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5 thoughts on “Treat Twitter respectfully for the right response

  1. Good points, Alice. I think the biggest mistake people make online, in any venue, is to forget that there’s an audience for their words. One would never go to a Chamber of Commerce networking function and boldly announce, apropos of nothing, what they ate that day, or worse, divulge inappropriate intimate factoids. Nobody need be a PR robot, but novices to Twitter need to recognize it’s a forum for discussion and not merely a digital soapbox.

    I think the most successful people on Twitter are those who do just as you note, encouraging two-way conversation with relevance, humor and a genuine interest in the comments of others. Those who use Twitter to make pronouncements, as if they had bullhorns, may have interesting content, but if they fail to interact with others, they risk getting branded as blowhards. And leaving aside Trump and his hairpiece, nobody really wants to stand in front of all that hot air.

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  2. Thanks Julie, for your valuable contribution.

    I know there are the facilities to set up tweets in advance, to give the impression that you are constantly on Twitter, but is that a good thing? It does mean that there is a continuous source of information from you that will ‘catch’ more tweeple as they come online, but it does mean that you aren’t there to respond appropriately if they answer your tweets, and therefore miss out on a possible lucrative conversation. What do you think about this?

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  3. If you use the right tools auto-tweeting your Google Alerts can be a very effective way to build up an interesting stream of content in your Twitter account. I just wrote a blog post on best practices for auto-tweeting:

    http://www.alertrank.com/mrgooglealerts/2009/07/06/automatic-posting-of-google-alerts-to-twitter/

    The idea is to limit the total number of tweets per hour and day, and use the influence ranking of the alert sources to make sure you are only tweeting useful items.

    As for missing out on opportunities to reply to incoming tweets, I don’t see this as a problem. Twitter is like email in that conversations can extend over time. It isn’t a chat room where incoming tweets just scroll away. You can always have your Twitter client show you any mentions you’ve received, so you can reply later.

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  4. I’m not sure that the purpose is to give the impression that one is constantly on Twitter (which I usually am, even if I’m not posting), but to organize the time one spends. I also think it’s a fallacy (one held by many) that the point is always to catch someone in real time. When I’ve been away from the desk, I first click “more” until I have “rewound” to the last post I read, and then read up/forward until I get to the top. I then respond, whether it’s five minutes or five hours later, if applicable. (Of course, if one follows a million people just for the sake of doing so (rather than because one wants to read their tweets), it would quickly become unmanageable to read all tweets.)

    In other words, Twitter can be real-time, but it need not be, any more than one needs to respond to comments on one’s blog within minutes of them appearing. And Twitter is, as you noted, micro-blogging. 🙂

    I think setting up *some* tweets in advances makes sense. For example, most efficient Twitter users have their new blog posts automatically announced. This eliminates user-error in typing a shortened URL and lets you announce even when you’re away from the keyboard. (I like Tweetlater.) I think it’s also quite suitable if you have a plan in mind to tweet one quote per day, or a tip of the day.

    I think it’s fine to set up some of your broadcast/bullhorn tweets in advance, especially if you’re trying to hit a large proportion of people awake when you’re asleep due to personal scheduling or time zones. The problem, to me, isn’t people who aren’t there *right that minute* to respond, but the people who are so intermittently on Twitter than they respond days later. Just my two cents.

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  5. Many thanks Adam for all your information, and I’ve now subscribed to your blog.

    Julie, you’ve convinced me to try out Tweetlater.com and see if I can also span out my expertise throughout the day. This should be an exciting project for me. Your ‘two cents’ have certainly worked.

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