Getting to grips with Twitter

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I signed up to Twitter ages ago.  Like many people, I dipped my toes into the medium, read that Seth Godin did not use it, and ‘politely’ ignored it.

I had a major rethink about social media since we started working in earnest on our new ‘Tribes’ project.  And the penny dropped.  Twitter is really indispensable if you are interested in change, branding, marketing and connecting with like-minded people.  

The only downside I’ve found till now is that the ‘signal to noise’ ratio on Twitter is high – once you immerse yourself, it is a) difficult to let go and focus on ‘real’ (paid?) work and b) you have to really sift the  ‘valuable’ stuff from the mundane.  There are also ethical issues to navigate – do you follow everyone who follows you?  is the objective to gain a following or just to listen and occasionally engage?  It’s a social medium after all.  My view, till now, is to reciprocate a follow.

Here are some tools, articles and links I used as I got started with Twitter:

  1. MANGING TWITTER. You cannot understand how Twitter works without TweetDeck.   Once you sign up to Twitter, download TweetDeck, start searching for a couple of topics you are interested in and just ‘listen’ to conversatons.   Here’s a useful post on how to use TweetDeck to its full potential.  If you are going to have multiple Twitter IDs, then Twhirl is indispensible. 
  2. TO FOLLOW & BE FOLLOWED.  Soon, you will decide who you want to follow.  Use Mr. Tweet to help you follow the right people in your areas of interest.  And to start thinking of how you can attract potential followers.
  3. USING TWITTER FOR BUSINESS.  There’s a great webinar by Hubspot on how to use Twitter for Marketing & PR.  It’s actually a great primer on how Twitterworks.  Chris Brogan has a good post on how to use Twitter for business.  Copyblogger follows suit.  Guy Kawasaki also wades in with his views on how he has made it to the top 10 of Twitter greats.
  4. ENGAGING.  You have to engage.  You have to be human.  You cannot be in sales mode.  You need to be credible.  You need to add value.  @umarketing said the Five Steps of Twitter Success are : Follow, Reply, Retweet, Share, Repeat.  If you still have doubts on who to follow, read this.  Just google your specific area of interest + twitter.  Here’s an example of how lists of ‘most useful digital marketeers to follow on Twitter’ are compiled.
  5. USING.  If you have a blog, you can use twitterfeed to automatically feed your post to Twitter.   Put a ‘tweet this’ button at the end of every post.  You can user Twitter to find a job, to find friends, to have a laugh, to resarch, to keep tabs on your customers, competition and markets.  Some people even think you can use it to get things done.  

There are plenty of articles and resources on how to become ‘successful.’  And plenty of advice on what to say, how to present yourself.  I guess we are still at a stage where a lot of people are trying to work out how to extract maximum value out of Twitter.  

The best advice is the most obvious, from Kevin Rose, about not getting sucked into a numbers game.  Don’t work on getting more followers – work on being more useful.

And as for Seth Godin not using Twitter:  he doesn’t need to.  There are already enough people on Twitter tweeting about him, his brilliant book ‘Tribes’, and helping him build his personal brand and make invaluable connections.

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