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5 Tips for Getting More From Twitter

follow me on twitterIn continuing with my series of quick social media tips (check out 5 tips for LinkedIn and 5 tips for Facebook) I’m covering some tips for business use of Twitter here. I’ve actually written about some of these tips in great detail before in this free ebook – Twitter for Business, but this can act as a quick primer for folks who like their info snack sized like this.

1. Tweet great content 3-4 times a day – Follow people who always find great stuff, subscribe to blogs that feature great links and reviews of new tools, scan weekly and daily email news digests such as SmartBriefs, cruise over to the delicious popular page and read print publications of interest. All of these sources (most of which can be scanned in a 15 minute sitting once you have them set up) are rich with content that your followers and the twitter world in general wants to read. One of the most valuable services you can provide is to be a filter for the information overload your prospects, customers and network are feeling. In a way, your twitter stream can become that valuable filter for pointing out the best content, but do it consistently and watch your follower count grow.

2. Reply to conversations (@ducttape) – One of the best ways to get engaged with those you follow is to join conversations where appropriate and offer answers and suggestions. Many common tweets come in the form of a question from someone looking for help. When you offer the solutions to these forms of tweets you automatically become more engaged and demonstrate some of your own knowledge, expertise and willingness to help. Obviously, you can’t sit around all day answering questions, but by focusing on addressing conversations that are related to your industry and field of expertise, you can build a reputation around topics that matter to your business objectives. Use 3rd party tools such as Seesmic Desktop (make sure you look at their browser based tool if you are having resource issues with desktop tools) or Tweetdeck so that you can easily scan conversations and be ready to reply to conversations that are directly related to you.

3. Retweet other people’s content – Another network and follower building practice is to retweet other people’s tweets. This is simply the act of taking someone’s tweet and tweeting it in your stream – with full credit to the original tweeter. This has become a very standard practice on twitter (designated with a RT) and can be overdone, but you can also use it for two purposes. If you are following people who tweet what you find to be very interesting content you are doing your followers a favor by sharing that content with them. In addition, you are, in effect, acknowledging the person whose content your retweeted. This is a nice bit of the culture of sharing and usually comes back in some form to help you build your following. People generally pay attention to the folks that are retweeting their content. However, this can become a crutch as well – make sure you are pushing your own content out in a nice mix. You can use tools like tweetmeme to track the most popular retweets. This can be a way to find new content for tip #1.

4. Use search to meet objectives – For many twitter power users search in the most important feature of twitter. You can use the twitter advanced search tool to create very elaborate searches that can filter out only the tweets that address your specific industry in your specific geography. Or you can find people talking about your expertise, whining about a problem you can help with, or proving a solution you need. Searches you create on twitter also produce an RSS feed so you can set your searches up in a way that deliver the results to your RSS reader on a daily basis. I would also include the use of the #hashtag function (I wrote in greater detail about hashtag use here) as a search tool. Get in the habit of using it to promote your events and promotions and while attending events, in person or online, as it’s a great way to find and connect with like-minded folks attending events. People who follow the event tag from afar will bump into your content this way as well. Once again, 3rd party tools like Seesmic Desktop and Tweetdeck allow you to monitor your searches, including hashtags, on your desktop.

5. Be easy to retweet and follow – This one is both on twitter and off. Sharing great info is the first rule, but you can do other things as well. While twitter allows 140 characters, if you aim for 120 your tweets will be easier for someone to RT. This way people can add their handle and a bit of commentary. Use tools, such as the Tweetmeme WordPress plugin I have at the beginning of this post (go ahead you know you want to click that green retweet), that make your content off twitter easy to tweet. Add your “follow me on twitter” button to web pages, email newsletters and email signature. Add your @name to your business cards, stationary and invoices.

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  • http://kengaylord.wordpress.com/ Ken

    I would throw a sixth tip in there: Don't try to make the conversation about you. It is called Social Media for a reason. There is give AND take; and often there is more give then take. Be social and engage people.

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

      No disagreement there Ken – of course this is true of any marketing communications really isn't it?

    • SaraMartin

      i agree with you Ken that it's give and take plateform.. although one must be precautious while giving anything, otherwise twitters might perceive him/her as a spammer..

  • http://www.facebook.com/daveglees Dave Lees

    Really like this site – a lot of great practical tips! My type of quality.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daveglees Dave Lees

    Really like this site – a lot of great practical tips! My type of quality.

  • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

    No disagreement there Ken – of course this is true of any marketing communications really isn't it?

  • http://redhotfranchises.com/ RedHotFranchises

    Most Twitterers give up after a few tweets, unable to think of a really good way to leverage it for their business.
    Great Tips!

  • http://redhotfranchises.com/ RedHotFranchises

    Most Twitterers give up after a few tweets, unable to think of a really good way to leverage it for their business.
    Great Tips!

  • egoebelbecker

    alltop.com is a good resource for finding good content to tweet.

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

      Totally agree with that suggestion – it's become a bit like a preprogrammed RSS reader for many folks

  • http://www.dogspelledforward.com egoebelbecker

    alltop.com is a good resource for finding good content to tweet.

  • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

    Totally agree with that suggestion – it's become a bit like a preprogrammed RSS reader for many folks

  • nicktako

    Thanks John! Some great tips there to simplify the process of being effective on Twitter.

    One other resource that I utilize when looking for additional content to tweet about is http://www.stufftotweet.com – It will pull the top stories for many different websites and assemble it all in one place so it makes finding content easier.

    Thanks again!

    @NickTako

  • nicktako

    Thanks John! Some great tips there to simplify the process of being effective on Twitter.

    One other resource that I utilize when looking for additional content to tweet about is http://www.stufftotweet.com – It will pull the top stories for many different websites and assemble it all in one place so it makes finding content easier.

    Thanks again!

    @NickTako

  • http://www.facebook.com/bonnielelak Bonnie Lelak

    Thanks for the great info. I really need to add the Tweetmeme Plugin to my sites.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bonnielelak Bonnie Lelak

    Thanks for the great info. I really need to add the Tweetmeme Plugin to my sites.

  • http://bustedkeys.com bustedkeys

    these are all great tips, however this can become time intensive as i've come to find.

  • http://bustedkeys.com bustedkeys

    these are all great tips, however this can become time intensive as i've come to find.

  • http://FryingPanSports.com/ Cleveland Browns

    Wish I had the time to do all these items but just doing them once a week takes up all my twitter time.

  • http://FryingPanSports.com/ Cleveland Browns

    Wish I had the time to do all these items but just doing them once a week takes up all my twitter time.

  • HopefulMJ

    These were great tips. I especially liked keep tweet with RT to 120 so we can add a handle. Very cool idea.

  • HopefulMJ

    These were great tips. I especially liked keep tweet with RT to 120 so we can add a handle. Very cool idea.

  • http://peer2.com/ peer2

    yeah, and keep the shameless plugs to a minimum!

    (shameless plug: peer2 is social media marketing! http://peer2.com )

  • http://peer2.com/ peer2

    yeah, and keep the shameless plugs to a minimum!

    (shameless plug: peer2 is social media marketing! http://peer2.com )

  • SaraMartin

    i agree with you Ken that it's give and take platform.. although one must be precautious while giving anything, otherwise twitters might perceive him/her as a spammer..

  • muqtada123

    Thanks for awesome tips, i m using tweeter for such a long time, facebook, linkedin also but i never get any visit from these above site but implementing your tips might help me to get my content converting into visitors to my website. Thanks

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  • daisysoapgirl

    Great Tweet tips. Thanks.

  • teickohuber

    I'm curious, how much time should a small business spend tweeting, re-tweeting and the like?

    Also, do your recommendations hold true for all small businesses?

  • teickohuber

    I'm curious, how much time should a small business spend tweeting, re-tweeting and the like?

    Also, do your recommendations hold true for all small businesses?