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How to use Twitter Effectively

How to use Twitter Effectively image

“I Tweet, Therefore I Am”

Are you getting what you want from Twitter? Whether you are a pure beginner with few tweets and an egg as your profile picture or someone who tweets daily, here are a few points that will help you get the most out of your Twitter.

Be Social!

While this may sounds obvious, too often individuals and businesses set up a Twitter account in order to create another direct marketing channel. They want followers and they want their message to be spread through their followers but they become discouraged when they can’t reach that goal. Remember that Twitter is about conversations, so if you enter the “Twitter-verse” only talking about yourself, your company, and what interested you – you will become “that guy” at the party that everyone starts to avoid.

Want to be the life of the party? Tweet things that are interesting and engaging of course, but be social with your followers. You can see your followers’ tweets in your timeline and when you hover over a specific tweet you will see the option to “retweet” the message. Another option is that you can choose “reply” to the tweet, so you can speak to your follower directly. By taking interest in your followers, you create relationships and build social media equity.

Follow Back

Reciprocity is a key element of Twitter culture. Keep notice of those who are following you and follow them back. Twitter has made this more transparent, now when you click on followers you will see next to each person the option to follow them if you aren’t already. Debates have raged over the years about this issue and I’ve heard all of the complaints – to many followers is too much noise, the feed moves too quickly, etc – however during those years both good business practice and Twitter-etiquette has shown that following back brings more followers.

Each time that someone follows you, you have a chance to engage with them when you follow back by sending them a message thanking them for following you and letting them know that you’re interested in learning more about them. Also if you are worried about too much “noise” in your Twitter feed, then be sure to use the LISTS options to separate those you are following into different groups so you easily filter out the noise and highlight the conversations you want to follow. Another great way to manage your list and conversations is by using TweetDeck, a free application that can be used on your desktop as well as on your android or iphone.

Find New People to Follow

The easiest way to find new people to follow is by clicking on “Who to Follow.” Twitter will suggest followers based on who you follow, who they follow, and similar interests you share. While this is a great resource, you will be limiting yourself if this is the only function you use. One of the best ways to find interesting followers, who may also be potential leads for you and your business, is to monitor conversations around key words. Twitter has significantly improved their search function since the spring, so now you can simply search on any key word to see who is using that key word in their tweets.

Use Hashtags

If you’re not using Hashtags then you are missing out on the opportunity to spread your message to a much wider audience. Hashtags act as a kind of standardized search function on Twitter so that people who are not following each other can still have conversations around a certain topics. This is often used for general topics like #socialmedia, specific events like #w2s for the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco this October, and even television shows and news programs like #theoffice or #bbc.

If you want find out what a hashtag is being used for, you can look it up on hashtag.org which is an excellent resource that will show you how popular the tag is and even which days of the week and times of the day it is most popular. One of my favorite new resources is Trendsmap, which shows a real-time mapping of Twitter trends across the world. You can either look at a specific location to see which hashtags are trending, or you can look up a specific hashtag and see in which parts of the world people are using it.

All in all this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Twitter resources. However by starting with these four suggestions, you’ll see your follows grow, your message spread, and your enjoyment of Twitter increase. Don’t forget to check out Socialbakers Twitter statistics!

Belinda Whittaker

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