"Newbie" Twitter Networking & Branding Ideas


I am often asked how to get started on Twitter or how to use Twitter for branding and business development. There's no quick fix. It takes time and dedication. Every "Twitter bird" is a little hesitant to leave the nest before taking flight.

I realize not everyone is naturally social media savvy. I'm sharing my ideas so that we may be "birds of a feather" in the Twittersphere.

1. First things first, learn the terms. Retweet (RT), Hashtag, Follow, etc. It's a language of its own. Here's a great Twitter Dictionary as a guide: Mediabestro's "The Essential Twitter Dictionary"

2. Pick your dashboard for organizing tweets, scheduling tweets, and setting up alerts. TweetDeck and HootSuite are the most common and they have phone apps, so you will never miss a Tweet. I use HootSuite.

3. Set up keyword and hashtag streams in your dashboard. Follow target clients, organizations, industry associations and look for opportunities to RT or interact with them.

4. Follow people & things you like. Look for your favorite sports team, community groups, restaurant, brand of clothes, stores, magazines, TV shows (yes, they are on Twitter, too). You can usually find a link to their Twitter account on their website. If they are worthy of following, it will be there!

5. Do some research to find out who else to follow (people and hashtags). Search Twitter directories, sorted by industry, look for top people to follow in your industry on Twitter. The lists exist- you just have to dig a little. Here are a few to get you started:  wefollow.comhashtags.org/twibs.com.

6. Be a copycat. Most of the industry associations and publications are already following the top thought leaders, so look at their twitter profiles to see who they are following. Look at the top influencers in your clients' industry, who are they following?

7. Take shortcuts to get there.  Most every Twitter account has lists that you can subscribe to. Here's a helpful website for searching lists: listorious.com

8. Follow your followers! (Not all of them, just the ones you think would be worth connecting with and may have some interesting value.) Look at their profiles. Who are they? What are they Tweeting about? Interact with them. Your following / followers ratio should be pretty much head to head over time. Check out my following / follower stats as an example: twitter.com/crossga

9. Choose quality over quantity. Make sure you are building QUALITY connections. Don't get fooled by those auto-follow deals. Don't expect anyone to follow you, Tweet to you, or Retweet you if you don't say anything original or relevant to their interests. Remember to give quality tweets (use hashtags!) to get quality followers.

10. Be there (on Twitter)! Get into a routine. Check your twitter stream at least three times throughout the day for about 10-15 minutes at a time. Jump into conversations where you have something relevant to say and share interesting information that you see with your followers.

11. Share interesting stuff. Subscribe to targeted company, association, or industry news EMAILS and tweet articles as you scan the email headlines and read the articles. What you find interesting, your like-minded business friends probably will, too.

12. Get outside of your own zone. Offer to guest blog for cross promotional opportunities with industry publications, community publications, or related companies that have the same target market as you. Go where there are built in crowds and spread your message. Be willing to share their info first, to make the initial connection.

13. Be a person! Balance work / life on Twitter. Tweet about where you are going, what you are eating, and puppy dogs, etc. but keep it interesting...and no tipsy tweeting ;)

14. Keep it real, as in "In Real Life" (IRL). Go to networking events. Meet people, Get their business card.

15. Collect your contacts online & keep in touch. Follow-up digitally with the connections you make IRL. Twitter & LinkedIn are your new rolodex!

Got Twitter Tips? Share them in the comments section below. Happy Tweeting!