Why Should I Be on Twitter and What Should I Do First?

November 10th, 2010 by Rob Berman Leave a reply »

Twitter Blingphoto © 2010 Dave Mott | more info (via: Wylio)
I was asked by an acquaintance, at a networking event, why he should be on Twitter.  He knew that I was active on Twitter and wondered how to get started since it seemed so daunting.  I turned to my friends at Twitter Strategies Group on LinkedIn to help me answer the question.

I asked them to tell me “What are the first five things you should do once you join Twitter?”  Here are some of their answers and of course, some of the information I shared with my acquaintance, who asked the question.

Holding Conversations

  • Engage in conversation.  Don’t be discouraged if others don’t respond right away.
  • Follow new folks every day but also check in and maintain your friend/follower list on a regular basis.
  • Be real, be authentic, and engage in real conversations.
  • Just like a real conversation, listen first and look for topics to talk about that others may find interesting.
  • Engage in conversations with those who @ reply to you.
  • When someone follows you.  Direct Message (DM) them to personally thank them for following you.

Finding Followers

  • Get listed in Twitter directory, as relevant.
  • Add a link to your Twitter profile on your web site.
  • Be patient and persevere.  Twitter is often hyped as an instant thing, and in the sense that it’s a relative stream of information that’s true – but there is no real shortcut to building a meaningful set of relationships.
  • Complete your profile with picture, description, web site link and a decent background.  No need to spend money on a custom background.

Finding People to Follow

  • Look for interesting or entertaining people that follow people you follow.  These would be second level connections that are made into first level connections.
  • Check out wefollow.com (link) and twellow.com (link) to find folks by interest and location.
  • Check out #FF (Follow Friday).  Others are sharing interesting people to follow.

Using Technology

  • There are tons of apps to tweet from, check out a few and find one that works for you and integrates with your URL shortening service.
  • Investigate URL shortening tools like bit.ly (link) for use for your blog posts/web site.  Make sure the one you select has an analytics package to help you analyze your hits.
  • Place Facebook or LinkedIn URL above the bio so people can link up and offer a personal connection immediately.

Constructing Your Tweets and Retweets

  • Keep your ratio of self-promotion, to “one for you” to “four or five informing them.”
  • Think before you post.  Keep your posts consistent with the thrust of your account.
  • Be willing to and embrace changing your Twitter strategy as you learn more.
  • Re-tweet things people you are following have said if you think others may be interested in them.
  • Respond to tweets honestly and share info your friends will find interesting.
  • Sign in and check for interesting tweets at least two or three times each day.
  • Vary your tweets to include 1) a funny story or video, 2) link to amazing stuff, 3) asking for advice, and 4) sending people to your Facebook and LinkedIn URLs.
  • Write a tweet sharing a new followers’ tweet name (@____) so others can learn about them.

The Takeaway

Twitter is a fabulous tool whose value keeps evolving.  Dive in and start using some of the many tips or “To Do’s” to be more of a power user.

Those are the ideas that I collected.  What would you add to this list?  Please comment below.

1.      How would you describe your level of comfort with Twitter.

2.      What tips would you add for getting more value from Twitter?

3.      Is your Twitter usage increasing, decreasing or staying the same?

If you would like to contact me, you may do so by visiting my LinkedIn page, following me on Twitter,  or e-mailing me at rcberman2 (at) yahoo.com.

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28 comments

  1. Katina Vaselopulos says:

    I am new to this social media and no matter how may tips I read, I am still so overwhelmed! Your tips are great and I definitely try them all. Thank you so much!

  2. twitter says:

    Great post- very enjoyable read I agree with most of what you said.
    It was very enlightning. I will keep a lookout for your next post.

  3. Jose Besaw says:

    If you want to display your followers without trusting someone with your password, try the Twitter Follower Widget

  4. Faraz says:

    Very interesting. I’m new to Twitter and had no idea when I joined that there’s so much to it but posts like these are slowly educating me!

  5. Excellent information, Rob. Some ideas are new to me like twellow.com (which will be great to find more creatives like me), so I will be doing that asap. Thanks again!

  6. Great post Rob.

    When I first started using Twitter, I was following a disproportionate amount of people. Now, I follow the advice to keep the number of people I’m following close to the number of followers that I have. I use JustUnfollow to manage this.

    • Rob Berman says:

      Sherryl:

      You should look through the follows like you would a rolodex in the old days. Take out the ones you do not need. Interesting that even with all the technology I still have two rolodexes with business cards.

      Rob

  7. Good suggestions Rob and the comments are good and to the point as well. Like Jeannette I only use Twitter to tweet a new article on my blog.

    Stopped making an effort with Twitter when they decided I followed too many and had to have as many people following me. Considering the amount of people that have started following me because of my blog, I’m most likely there now. However, like Pat I feel it’s a bit like a cocktail party and most of the tweets I get honestly bore me.

    • Rob Berman says:

      Catarina:

      It does take some work to screen through the tweets. That is why I use HootSuite to help me. I do look for certain people and tend to not follow closely others. It is a tool in the tool box. It all depends on how your other efforts are working.

      Rob

  8. Great post Rob. I just “followed” you!
    My comfort level with twitter defintely needs to grow. I need to make more time for learning “the system”. Your suggestions will most defintely be of use to me. Thanks!

  9. Janine says:

    Great post. I’ve only been on twitter for a few months – and started very reluctantly (did a program that involved setting up an online profile). I’ve just amped things up in regards to twitter and will def keep in mind your tips.

  10. Susan Oakes says:

    Good tips here Rob. I also think do what makes sense for you, your business and others you want to connect with is important to remember and not just follow what others do.

    It is funny I wrote a post today about rules and mentioned Twitter.

    • Rob Berman says:

      Susan:

      There is synchronicity in the world. We both wrote about Twitter on the same day. The most important rule for Twitter and other Social Media is do what enhances your brand.

      Rob

  11. Hi Rob,

    Your article prompted me to see if I was following you and I wasn’t – oops! Now I am :). I hear you and understand everything you write about Twitter yet I still haven’t been able to get a good hold on it as an engagement tool. I am finding that most of the “conversations” are one way and not interactive. Not sure it is something I am doing wrong or perhaps something I am missing? In any event, I will continue to do my best with some help from the tips you offer in your post.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Rob Berman says:

      Julie:

      Thanks for the follow. I think there ends up being a lot of one way conversations if you follow some of the statistics. A key is to find the right pond you want to fish in and then start trying to reach those people. There are tools that let you search only in certain geographies or by interests. The other thing to keep in mind is how often you tweet. There is so much in the stream that it is OK to tweet the same item 3 times in a day, as an example.

      Rob

  12. Excellent tips on using Twitter. I know many users have made contacts that led to business. Like any other social media tool, it takes time which is why until know I have had a fairly passive level of activity (although I do RT several times a day). I mainly want to post my blogs. But that’s going to change. I’ve mastered blogging and have an active presence on LinkedIn. Twitter, here I come

    1

    • Rob Berman says:

      Jeannette:

      I love that you are taking it one platform at a time. I think Twitter is a great way to put your blog out there. We should be re-tweeting each day to share good content. You also can begin to engage the people you are re-tweeting.

      Rob

  13. Valuable information Rob.

    I’m quite comfortable with Twitter even though it’s the cocktail party of social networking.

    The most value I get is by connecting beyond 140 characters. I will email and possibly telephone of Skype with people I want to connect with further. Like a cocktail party, it’s a starter conversation not the be all to end all.

    Interesting you ask about usage: my personal usage is about the same. But my on time with it is less because so much is automated now.

  14. Hi Rob,
    Nice post on Twitter and the many benefits which come from being involved. I love your idea about sharing @newfollowers – I’ll try it. Out of curiosity, which app do you prefer to tweet from?

    • Rob Berman says:

      Catherine:

      I use HootSuite. The free version not the paid one. I like it since it is not a desktop program like TweetDeck. It is useful for scheduling tweets in advance. I can also look across various Social Media and post to multiple Social Media all from one place.

      Rob

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