Thursday, March 18, 2010

Twitter: This You Must Do First

So, you are not quite ready to jump into Tweeting, Twittering or whatever it is they do on Twitter. You still want to learn or to be convinced. I'm fine with that. Being cautious is good and in fact where social media is concerned, this can truly be an asset. It is very hard to undo a bad mistake made publicly.

While this list will deal with the To-Do’s on Twitter, please remember one very important thing NOT to do on Twitter or any social networking site, and that is to ONLY self promote. Yes, of course we all know why you spend minutes, hours or days learning about social media. The ultimate reality is to sell, sell, sell, right? We may all agree but no one likes the person that is always yakking about their wares. Purchase this! Buy that! Look at Me! Here! Here! Now! Now! This offer won’t last! Did you hear me?! I’m puzzled! Why won’t anyone listen! (Okay, I’ll stop. But you get the picture, right?)

It is annoying and you would think I don’t need t mention the obvious. Unfortunately, many people lose their effectiveness over time using this frustrating method of sales. It doesn’t work in person. Why would anyone think it would work virtually…and with complete strangers?

Enough chatter! Here are my FIVE top things you MUST do before, or soon after you create your Twitter account (or any social media account). And...the good news? If you already have an account you can always improve upon it.

Number ONE:
Create a Compete profile.

This is the first impression people will have of you when they visit your Twitter website. In fact, this is the determining factor as to why I chose to follow a person. For me it has more to do with the person, and what they are all about rather than their tweets.

Make sure your name or brand is very prominent. I was recently listening to a webinar where a gentleman had changed his legal middle name to read SUPERMARKETER or something similar! If you want your brand to show, this is definitely one way to do it. If you are, like the rest of us, and a bit more subtle, it is better to have your twitter account reflect your true name. I welcome all followers.

Here is an example of my Twitter account name:

Number: TWO


Your background is important. Is your home tidy when unexpected guests walk in? Consider this when someone stops by your Twitter (or blog) for that matter. There are some free alternatives, you can create one yourself, or have a webmaster or graphic designer create one for you. I have used this website for nice backgrounds:

Another source is a recent blog post I read about creating the background for Twitter using PowerPoint. The criticism of this idea is the limitations of this tool for really custom applications. But we are talking do-it-yourself here. Here is the link if you want to try your hand at creation:

If you want a background that impresses, hire an artist. You will find their rates very reasonable for the most part.

Number THREE:

Know what you are doing on Twitter or have at least some sort of general plan of what you want to accomplish. This may change as you become more comfortable with this platform. Don’t be afraid to grow and change for the better. For many of us learning social media there is only one way to grow and that is up! In otherwords plan to learn but plan to take action. How will you learn? First by reading other tweets. Remember, this is called micro-blogging for a reason. It is short. Remember keep your tweets to 130 characters in order to allow others to re-tweet you…maximum characters allowed is 140. If you have a focus it will keep you on track.

Number FOUR:

Be yourself. If you have a sense of humor (rated G, please), or like to share quotes, do. This is the place of many poetic pieces and great thoughts of the day. If you have a link to a funny blog post, share that as well. Be creative and funny only if this is your personality, if not it is better left unsaid. There is nothing worse than trying to be funny and falling flat.

Number FIVE:
Search To Follow

Search out people to follow. In the beginning you may be following more people than follow you. In fact my numbers will often jump up or down by 100 or more. Why? People with large twitter followings tend to follow me and if I don’t follow them back, they “unfollow”. Therefore, when I noticed my number shift I took heed as to why, and found out I had been “unfollowed”.  At first, I considered this very rude! They decided to follow ME in the first place, and because I did not reciprocate they unfollow?! Yet, this is the rule in the world of Twitter-Universe. Most of the people with huge lists use automated processes that follow based upon keywords, and unfollow if you do not reciprocate in kind. So, don’t take it personally.

Use keywords in your ideal category, demographics, or industry. Look for the people who have a great profile or good tweets. You can also search by name if you are looking for a specific person to follow.

Next Week… five more ways to become effective using Twitter. Do you have any ways that work for you? IF so, share them with us.