Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tweet Dreams: Unraveling That Giant Virtual Watercooler Called Twitter

by Tammy de Leeuw
Financial Advisor Netzone

OK, you've finally decided to take the plunge and try out this bizarre internet phenomenon known as Twitter... and you might be asking...

How do I use this thing to develop relationships and (hopefully) gain some new prospects?

Let's examine a few ways you can leverage Twitter into relationships.

1. Lame is as lame does.. Resist lameness in your Tweets.

At first, Twitter might seem
a bit silly to you; a jumble of meaningless ramblings and links to God Knows What, but there is a method in the madness. When you Tweet, try your best to offer exceptional information in 140 characters or less.

Answer questions that are posted, link to useful websites, and give solid advice. In short: be a useful chit-chatter, not someone who Tweets constantly about being at their doctor's appointment, or standing in line for a gourmet glazed donut, etc. There is just too much of that already on Twitter, in my opinion. Be different and try to pack some substance into your 14o characters.

2. @Replies

Responding to other peoples' posts is one of the best ways to develop relationships via Twitter. All you have to do is key in the @ sign followed by the person’s username (without spaces) and write your response. Your response can be as simple as a show of support or thumbs up to a suggestion, to sharing a similar story you may have. When you show other people you have an interest in what they are tweeting ,they tend to suddenly become interested in YOU.

3. Blog Posts

If you don't have a blog yet- you should get one. (a different topic for a different day) The reason is simple: If you’re a blogger, you can grow your blog following by automating the process of letting people know about new posts. This is easy on Twitter: just tweet the title of your post and the link to it. Tweets about blogs are some of the most popular Tweets.

You can make the process simpler and more automated by having a site like TWITTERFEED do it for you.

4. What the heck are Retweets and Why Should I Use Them?

Retweets can help you in your quest to be a useful and popular Twitter. When you see posts that you think are particularly good or helpful , key in the letters RT or the word RETWEET then @USERNAME. Retweeting shows people you really do read what they post and creates a good feeling between users. CAVEAT: Don't do this too often... you can irritate people if you never have anything original to contribute.

5. Ask a question..

You would be amazed at how asking a simple question such as "where can I find a part for my antique Widgetmaster?" can get you a flurry of activity on Twitter. People who Tweet often pride themselves on being sources of helpful info.

6. “Blow By Blow" Accounts

If you are doing something particularly interesting, why not give a minute by minute account of the goings on? I've seen fascinating live updates from concerts, lectures, college classes, Renaissance fairs, etc. Be your own NEWSWIRE and people will start paying attention to you.

7. Photos and Graphics

Find a funny photo? Go on vacation to a cool place? People LOVE photos and graphics, and if you use TwitPic or a similar application, you can upload a photo and send a Tweet at the same time!

8. Reason to celebrate? TWEET it!

If you just acquired a new contract, made your sales goals, got a new client, or your boss gave you a great big ATTABOY!, you can let people know about it on Twitter in a celebratory, non- boastful manner.

In the next post, I will examine a few applications for Twitter that will make your foray into social media a lot smoother.

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