Monday, March 16, 2009

10 Steps to Using Twitter Effectively

In continuation of the Twitter series of posts, I thought I'd put together a quick and dirty 10 step approach to using the tool effectively. The list provides a snapshot of what a novice user can do immediately to start realizing the benefits of such a tool.

And now for the top 10 (I suddenly feel like Letterman):
  1. Setup an account at www.twitter.com. It's quick and easy and you can be done in less than 5 minutes.

  2. Setup a profile (Photo, title, location, description). A profile description is critical so that people know what you're about and will be the ultimate deciding factor to whether they choose to follow you or not.

  3. Make your first post. Try to make it relevant. People really don't care to hear about Fido’s bowel movements or that you just saw a spider on your desk. There may be a select few but the majority of the time it's seen as being a nuisance and doesn't provide value to the community.

  4. Follow thought leaders (eg. @chrisbrogan, @Armano, @guykawasaki) and you can follow me at @jeffpontes. They will be the ones who will provide you with valuable insights and will help you to find others in the industry who share common interests and business challenges. Also when reading blogs you enjoy, search for their "Follow me on Twitter" link and start following them.

  5. Follow those who follow you. Don’t follow everyone since there are many who will simply go on a following frenzy as a means of spamming the Twitter community. It's a nuisance, it's ineffective and eventually Twitter catches on and shuts down their account. Choose to follow those with a relevant profile, have a healthy ratio of following / followers. Those who are following 1,000 but have only 100 following them are obviously not the type of people that will provide you with any value and are most likely spamming en masse. Also take a look at the quality of the person's posts. If they rarely contribute or post about Fido's new collar then simply pass on choosing to follow them in return.

  6. Retweet when necessary. If you come across something interesting give credit where it's due and repost it using "RT @username" as part of your message. At the same time don't overdue it as it could quickly become overkill as people pass it from friend circle to friend circle which can spread very rapidly.

  7. Have a conversation. Reply to interesting comments by including "@username" in your message which indicates to the person that you are engaging in dialogue with them. Keep it relevant and provide something of value in return.

  8. Contribute regularly. The true value in any community is that there are opportunities for everyone to give and take. A community full of takers will not realize its true potential as a knowledge resource.

  9. Use Twitter driven tools such as TwitterBerry, Tweetdeck, Twitter Search (among an extensive list of available tools which continues to grow) to unleash the true potential of Twitter. Find what tools work best for you. This could be content for future posts.

  10. Promote your account. Drive people to your Twitter account by including your account name in your e-mail signature, on your blog, in your social network accounts (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.). People with the same interests as you will choose to follow and you never know who you might meet.

Enough already...start tweeting! See you all on Twitter.

7 comments:

Andrew Kinnear said...

Jeff- Great list. I found it from your status update on LinkedIn. Smart use of cross-promotion between sites/networks... Cheers.

Jeff Pontes said...

Thanks Andrew for visiting. I try to keep the information relevant to the audience that I promote to. Case in point, I felt the Twitter article would be of value to the LinkedIn marketing community.

Cheers,
-Jeff

Jeff Pontes said...

I should also mention, that I'm a fan of the new Air Miles community that I noticed you've been working on.

sanjay said...

Good list Jeff
-vitaly

Ferg Devins said...

great list and helpful for the person wondering "what's this twitter thing...", the over riding comment I would make is that one should have a purpose, or reason to be on twitter...whether its networking, sharing learning, researching, brandividualizing a brand etc. Too many people GO to twitter and then wonder what its all about...cheers Jeff @MolsonFerg

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