October 30, 2009
If you want to take advantage of the opportunities on the microblogging platform Twitter, start off doing thing correctly.
Let’s look at how you join:
You join for free at www.twitter.com and here are some important tips about signing up:
Choose your username carefully. Although you can now change it easily, you should think about how you want to represent yourself or your business on Twitter.
The username you choose may also impact how you get Twitter followers. (People follow you on Twitter in contrast to friending you on Facebook or connecting with you on LinkedIn.)
Upload a clear head shot photo of yourself (preferably without your pet, child or girlfriend/boyfriend). Again, the photo you use can impact how you get Twitter followers.
Put your own name – even if you write tweets for your company – in the field where you are asked for your name. And, once again, this can impact how you get Twitter followers.
Write a good 160-character bio and include one URL. For the fourth time, what you write here can impact how you get Twitter followers.
Why can all these four “simple” steps impact getting Twitter followers? Because people on Twitter want to interact with real people, not companies, even if the real people are representing major corporations. Thus it’s important to represent yourself truthfully and as a real person.
Let’s move on to the next step:
As soon as you do the above, enter two tweets so that people considering following you can see the type of tweets you plan on writing. Therefore, give some thought to how you want to present yourself.
Now you can start following other people:
To find people who tweet about subjects that interest you, enter search terms in the search box on your home page. Once you are taken to a page with tweets mentioning the term, click on a username to go to that person’s profile and decide if you want to follow him or her.
If yes, simply click the FOLLOW button – that’s all there is to it. And if at a later date you no longer want to follow this person, just return to his/her profile page and click the FOLLOWING button to unfollow.
What happens next is that many of these people will follow you back, and you have begun to build your Twitter community.
You may be saying to yourself: Why should it matter to me how many people are following me?”
The answer to this is that Twitter is an incredibly powerful social media marketing tool if used correctly. (Many people on Twitter do not use it correctly.) The more people who are interested in what you’re about and who follow you, the more of a target audience you have connected with on Twitter.
One more thing that you do NOT want to do:
Once you are on Twitter you will be followed by people who will offer you all kinds of software programs to quickly add a large number of Twitter followers. You do NOT want to do this.
First, you can get kicked off Twitter for spamming. Second, you want to grow your Twitter community organically by following and being followed by people who are interested in the subjects that interest you.
In conclusion, do not worry if some of this information seems somewhat confusing. Twitter is deceptively simple. Because it is only 140 characters (sort of like IMing) people assume that there’s nothing “to it.” Take my word that there is a very great deal “to it.”
I predict that, if you keep an open mind and learn Twitter gradually, there will come a day when you say to yourself: “I can’t believe I ever got along without it.”
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is an Internet business consultant. If you liked this article, you’re going to love her free report on “The Top 3 Internet Marketing Elements” – download the report now from www.TeachMeInternetBusiness.com