New To Twitter and Feeling Overwhelmed or Confused? Here’s Help!

by mjtaylor on February 2, 2012

“Twips” For Fledgling Tweeps, Twerps and Silent Birds

Bug Eyed Twitter

Feeling A Little Overwhelmed?

Have you joined Twitter, but find it too overwhelming or just can’t imagine how to make it work for you? Are there so many Tweets that you find yourself looking a bit bug-eyed like the poor Twerp on the right?  Twitter can have a high signal-to-noise ratio, but there are some pretty simple ways to manage that  – it helps if you sort your followers into lists (Twitter provides this feature) and even easier when you use a platform such as Tweetdeck or SocialSprout to keep things organized.

More challenging can be figuring out how to use Twitter – or any form of social media – to promote your business. Or perhaps you just don’t know what to Tweet.

Let’s assume you have gotten started; you’ve signed up and filled out your profile. It helps if you’ve used some descriptive keywords in your profile – it’s important so that like-minded folks can find you by keyword search as well as revealing your interests to those who find you through mentions. You will have uploaded a photo – people respond to faces, so do put yours out there!

Twitter is about who you know – and why you know them!

It may help you to remember that Twitter is about connecting with others who share your interests – they may or may not be potential clients or customers, but they will have, ideally, information that is interesting or helpful to you, or will be interested in the sort of information you have to share.

It can be very helpful to organize your contacts into lists, sorted by interests or how you are connected, or even geography, perhaps. That will allow you to read only one list feed at a time. If you want industry information, you will be can quickly filter out the “noise” that might be overwhelming if you are following large numbers or people with a wide variety of your interests.  If you’re interested in reading about a pet interest – say politics — or a favorite holiday, you can peruse those Tweets only, reducing the clutter and noise that can make Twitter feel overwhelming. You may want to check out this guide to Twitter lists.

How To Promote Your Business Without Annoying Your New Friends

If it’s all about you, you won’t be followed for long. Just as in real life – how long would you stay friends with someone if they only talked about their life? Think about your audience needs and interests when you Tweet and try to play to what they will find interesting most of the time.

By all means, do broadcast the URL to your latest blog post, but make that sort of post in the minority. One self promotional post in 10 would be a good  rule of thumb. The rest of the time you should be looking for ways you can help your followers – providing information they want and retweeting their best Tweets.

First impressions count! You also want to  make sure your last couple of tips of the day have reader appeal rather than self interest … if you can provide both – say a link to a helpful new article on your blog – then by all means make that your last Tweet, but be sure that the ones before that show that it’s worthwhile following you.

What to Share – Inspiring quotes are usually appreciated, as are one line, tasteful jokes, but news is most appreciate in the professional fields. You may already track trends in your local market or the national  news for your industry, but to be the first with breaking newssign up for Google Alerts . If you’ve never used Google Alerts, you’re missing out on a wonderful free service that makes tracking any topic effortless. All you need is a Google account and simply create an Alert for any topic that interests you. You’ll get an email as soon as Google indexes a new web page or news item on the search query you choose.  Here’s Help on Setting Up Your Alerts.  (Bonus Hint: Alerts can also be used to track any mentions of your brand and that of competitors.)

Some great ideas  to help you cater to your audience. What’s in it for your followers?

Don’t Retweet Just To ReTweet.

Twitter Bird Throwing Up

It's Called ReTweeting Not ReGurgitating

Take the time to read before you share or you may find yourself with, um, egg on your face. You might even inadvertently promote a brand or concept you don’t really support – like that of your arch competitor!  Read before Retweeting to make sure that you not only support what you are sharing, but that it’s not old stale news, or a low content site.  You will find that some people have simply snagged someone else’s idea and that you have to click through to another site to find the real article. Be sure the site you Tweet is of the quality you admire and that your followers are likely to enjoy what you are sharing.

Gratitude is your best friend! Say thank you to new followers – don’t do it by sending them a private message with a promotion in it. That makes me inclined to unfollow someone PDQ. If your first move is to promote to me, I am a little put off. Get to know me first, please.

I think it’s best to say thanks publicly for following or for mentions and Retweets – the more a Twitter handle is mentioned the more authority it is deemed to have, and that boosts the SEO value of links shared on Twitter. So you are doing your Tweeps a favor by putting their handle out there. I like to group as many as I can together.  If it gets forwarded it creates more exposure for more people.

Twitter is, In Part, a Numbers Game!

Do strive to gain as many followers as you can – while it is more about quality and influence of follwoers than it is about sheer numbers, the numbers  help in a couple of ways. The more people who know you the more likely your presence or links gets seen by new folks. Additionally, when someone new surveys your profile, you can bet they will be more likely to follow you if lots of others are doing the same. There is a crowd mentality – and people think if all of those folks are following her, she must have something to say worth hearing.  Your most recent Tweets may speak volumes more to that point, but the numbers are usually noted.

Above All, Be Yourself and Have Fun!

It’s social, it’s meant to be fun! Yes, it’s also about business and your professional relationships – but it’s not an office environment. Think of it more like a holiday party for your clients – you want to loosen up and make sure they are entertained.  Don’t be afraid to be a little witty, or quirky if that’s who you are.

More basics: What is Twitter and How Does It Work?

Terrific article on how often to Tweet your own articles and website content and where to find content to establish yourself as an authority in your own field: The 10:4:1 Rule. Shorthand for the rule: 10 Links to third-party articles; 4 Links to company blog posts’ 1 Link to a landing page.

Have you got any Twips for new Tweeps?

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