How to Use Twitter Effectively for Business
As part of the Women and the WEB survey, many of the respondents asked me their most compelling questions.
Here is another one: Any suggestions on how to use Twitter effectively?
And my reply:
There is really no simple answer to that question. And to top it off, Twitter is not what it once was. While today it is still a viable option for promoting your message, it is IMHO much more difficult to cut through the noise on Twitter. There is so much SPAM, finding a voice that people will listen to can be a challenge. And experts predict it will be replaced by Location Based Social Networking, Google+ and the NEXT BIG THING to come.
Having said that, right now Twitter can still be a great venue for lead generation and that is what I would focus on first. You can use several of the features on Twitter to find others and build a following/follow them. Here are just a few of the Search options available:
Find people on Twitter with Find On Twitter. If you know their name this feature is great. You just type the name of the person in the search bar and if they are on Twitter (and using their real name), they will show up. I also prefer the Advanced Search Feature. You can find people tweeting in your own geographic area, niche and demographic.
Use Twitter lists to find people. Click on your profile and across the top under the What’s Happening area, you will find Lists. Click on that to create a list of your own, find people following you that are in other lists as well. You can also use Listorious (a third-party site that maintains a categorized directory of Twitter lists) to search or browse through lists by category, and find the most relevant lists to follow. It is a great tool because you benefit from other peoples lists. Be sure to add yourself to Listorious when you are there so others can find you too.
#Hashtags – with hashtags (signified with a # before a keyword) you can use the search bar and use any keyword with the # in front of the word to find people talking about that subject. This is often used for Trending Topics, events and group conversations and is a great way to see what people are saying about the subject.
Use the Who to Follow recommendations Twitter gives you. You can find that on the top search bar of your page. This is a great tool for finding people similar to the ones you’re currently following.
Sign up with Klout. Klout makes it easier to identify “influencers” who can have a more dramatic effect on your brand. You can also see which of your Twitter and Facebook friends use Klout.
Here are a few other tools that will help you find people to follow on Twitter:
Once you have found your intended audience, if you are a smart marketer (succint, meaningful, attentive, real and timely) you can get their attention. One way to do that is mention others on Twitter. You do that by quoting people you follow (retweeting their tweets), sharing about their expertise, having one-on-one conversations with them and getting to know them.
Real, one-on-one conversations happen all the time on Twitter. It’s a matter of finding your audience. When you do be sure and also chat privately. Let her or him know how much you appreciate the interaction along with your off Twitter contact information.
An added benefit: people following those you converse with will see the conversation and if they like what they see will also follow you.
And finally after you have built your following, use Timely to help you schedule your tweets at times that are most effective to your followers. Timely also shows you native and classic re-tweets, along with clicks and the reach for each individual tweet.
Here’s a free-to-download resource I recommend by Focus B2B: Twitter for Business: An Introductory Guide
Heidi Richards Mooney is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of WE Magazine for Women, a WordPress Web Designer, the author of a dozen books and a social media consultant and trainer. Heidi has interviewed hundreds of experts on Social Media Around the World. In 2003 Heidi was named one of 50 women shaping the Internet by the International Virtual Women’s Chamber of Commerce. In 2009 she was named a Twitter Woman to Follow by Only2Clicks.com. She works with solopreneurs, professionals and small businesses in ecommerce, direct sales and retail. Follow Heidi on Google Plus