It’s easy to dismiss Twitter based on its ridiculous name – after all, who wants to be a Twit? But the service, which requires users to distill their statements to 140 characters or less, is growing daily. Joining Twitter is crucial to directing potential customers to your website – but Twitter is about more than just shouting 140 character advertisements.
Twitter lets it’s users “follow” other users who are sharing information that they are interested in – whether it is because you want to find out where a celebrity will be signing autographs, or get the latest news headlines (CNN, The New York Times, and all the other news publications all share their newest headlines on Twitter), or are interested in news or ideas on a specific topic. For example, when I began writing my blog, Life: Forward, I joined Twitter – and gained followers from sharing information, on a niche topic – body image and the wage gap, which is what my blog focuses on and pro-choice news, which is part of the niche of the Abortion Gang site that I also write for.
What you “tweet” becomes part of your brand, so consider what image you want to share with the world, and make sure that both your Twitter user name and what you tweet are consistent with that. If you are trying to promote a business, then your user name should be the name of the business (or as close to it as possible), and if you are a freelance professional, then consider using your name, or a user name that represents your niche.
Once you are signed up with Twitter, find other users to follow who interest you, and who are interested in the topics that fit into your niche. I recommend signing up with HootSuite, a site that will show not only the tweets of people you currently follow, but also the tweets that contain keywords that you are interested in. While some users will follow you in hopes that you follow them back, it is better to be more genuine about your interest – as users following more users than they themselves have are seen as potential spammers – which means people are less likely to follow you.
Of course, you will be tweeting out sales on your website and new product announcements – but you can “retweet” those tweets that other users posted that you like, as well as information related to your niche. For every one promotional tweet that you send out, send out at least five other non-promotional tweets, so you add value to your followers, and so that those interested in your topic find you. Use HootSuite to time your tweets throughout the day – spending five minutes setting them up at various intervals throughout the day let’s you maintain a constant presence rather than spewing a half dozen at the same time, once a day.
Not sure how you’re doing? Check out Klout, which uses various metrics and analytical processes to determine how influential you are, and what your “true reach” is in the Twitter-verse.