Now that the rest of the world has finally woken up and started using Twitter (thanks Wossy for the publicity on Friday night) I thought I'd summarise my top tips for brands thinking of putting their toe in the Twitter water…
1. Decide what you're on Twitter for. There are two main reasons – social or business. If as an individual you're doing both it's probably a good idea to set-up two profiles, one you can use for business use and one for your social networking (I know lots of people don't make the distinction!).
When you join Twitter you can listen to tweets or tweet yourself (and hopefully both). There are distinct rules for each.
2. If you're just listening to tweets to begin with, know that the most important thing Twitter can do is to give you insight you may not have had before. It can give you access to breaking news and/or product/technology developments. It can form part of your online reputation management as you can track what people are saying about you or your company/products - or both. Listen to see if people are tweeting your blogs and news posts to gauge how tweeted about you are.
3. Add yourself as a follower to people/organisations you think you can learn from. With any luck they will think the same of you and follow you in return. Of course, this means NOT automatically following people who follow you as the Twitter-verse can get very noisy ….
4. If you like what one of the people you are following said, say so - by 're-tweeting'. To re-tweet something, type in 'Retweeting' and the user name with an @ in front of it to show who posted it originally e.g. “Retweeting @henweb” then paste the tweet here. To reply to someone you type in the user name with an @ before it e.g. “@henweb great article!”.
5. Start tweeting yourself. Tweet often! Post tweets, ask questions, join in conversation threads about things that interest you. Comment on the tweets your Twitter friends post using the “ @ “ . And don't forget to say “thanks!” when others tweet useful/interesting information.
6. Don't just tweet about you (even if you're a brand trying to increase your profile) or you'll be like the boring guest at the dinner party who just talks about himself. Post items other twitterers might find genuinely useful. My top tip is that links to articles/blogs and other content are by far the most valuable currency on Twitter. Snappy dialogue and witty observations are entertaining but helping your followers find useful stuff is even more appreciated.
7. Chat to others. After all it's a social networking tool so don't just tweet your random thoughts, engage with others online. But DO be patient and allow conversations to develop – you can definitely be too pushy online as well as offline…
8. Go mobile. There are dozens of Twitter apps for the iPhone and Blackberry alone (I use Twitterberry). Set your preferences to control what alerts you get on what others have posted but DO use it to send tweets yourself even when you’re not in the office.
9. Use Twitter regularly. The more you use it, the more interaction people see and the more use people see in following you – so the more followers you will receive.
10. Enjoy it. It's fun. Happy tweeting!Tweet