Jessica Miller-Merrell | , , ,| By
With almost 27 Million users in the United States, Twitter is a must for businesses and professionals looking to build their brand, promote their business, and develop new relationships. Reports from companies like Nielsen and others claim Twitter retention is between 40-60%. Most who log on for the first time find out, “Twitter Ain’t Easy.”
Twitter is not complex but for new users, it can be overwhelming. There are new terms to understand, etiquette to learn, and third party tools to experiment and consider. I often hear questions like, “Why are people I don’t know following me?” and “How can I find time to read everything in my Twitter Stream?”
Like Pimpin’, Twitter Ain’t Easy
People follow others to learn more about that person. This form of acceptable “cyberstalking” is a way for others to develop relationships and promote themselves without making the full relationship commitment similar to online dating or chat rooms. And yes, it is okay not to read every tweet in your stream. In fact I wouldn’t recommend it. There are not enough hours in the day. Focus on a few people or tweets that peak your interest and engage. It’s like shaking someone’s hand at a networking meeting when you’ve already read their bio.
- Learn & Observe. Take the time to read blog posts, books, videos and engage other tweeps before diving in. It’s important to remember that what you tweet, how you tweet and when you tweet is a direct representation of you and as a job search candidate, a business professional or personal. I recommend viewing Twitter in Plain English You Tube Video posted below.
- Be Authentic. Gear your topic, discussion, and posts to your target audience and be genuine. Have empathy and be put yourself in the shoes of your audience.
- Use Third Party Applications. Free services like TweetDeck, TweetLater, Ping.fm, and others make your life easier. With these tools you can create groups of followers, keyword search, post to multiple social media platforms like Facebook, Flickr, and Bebo, and also schedule your tweets or posts.
- Engage, Engage, Engage. Twitter is what you make of it. Get out there and join in the conversation. If you have good content, take time to engage others, and have a dialogue, the relationships and connections will follow.
- Be Organic & Patient. Not eat organic but grow your follower count organically and over time. It’s the best way to develop creditability among Twitter power users. Avoid following others in large numbers of 250 or more a day. Doing so appears to others that you are spam. (yes, these do exist)
- Manage Your Time. As my friend, Shelley Cademy says, “Twitter can be a soul-sucking black hole.” Use Outlook or other calendar to schedule your time on Twitter so that you remain productive and focused on working, spending time with family, or whatever it is you do.