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Griff Says: Twitter tips: Setting up a profile and building relationships

July 23, 2009

The single-most difficult part of using Twitter or any new social media network is simply knowing where to begin. What do I do? How do I behave? What do I say? Here are some useful tips for using Twitter.

Set up your profile: The first thing you need to do is to set up that profile. See that bar on top of your Twitter page? Click “Settings” and start filling up your profile. The notable areas in here are URL, bio, picture and design. Put up a link to your site or blog, along with a brief description. Upload a picture to differentiate yourself from the others, and then tweak your Twitter design. Like any other social networking site, it is important in your profile to completely express what you are or what you stand for.

Follow people with similar interests: Now that you have a profile, start following people. You can find these people in Twitter directories. I use Twellow and JustTweetIt. These sites can introduce you to Twitter users who have the same interest as yours. Follow these people and observe their tweets. You may also try following who these people follow, but read their descriptions and visit their blogs to make sure you’re still on the right niche. Being on the right niche will make it easy for you to build a community with a similar interest.

Get into the conversation: So now that you are following people, you will see some tweets on your board. Read about what the people you’re following are up to, and reply if it interests you. For example, a person narrates how he is going to conduct a meeting. You may then reply with ideas. When someone asks a question, don’t hesitate to answer if you know it. Don’t be afraid to interact.

Don’t spam: Spam is the cause of many unfollows on Twitter. There is a character limit for a reason. Do not send repeated messages to people. Do not constantly direct message (DM) them with links.

Update daily: All right, so you’re blending in the community. Now, update daily if possible. I know some Twitter users who unfollow because of inactivity. Reply to people and update people with what’s going on with your life. Soon, you’ll be recognized, and you’ll get some follows.

Find the latest buzz and contribute: Now, it’s your time to contribute. Find a topic that will interest your niche, and tweet it. Since you have established relationships with your followers (through replies), you will get more attention. It’s a nice strategy to always append “please retweet” at the end of your tweet. There will be some people who will be so interested they will retweet. There are others who will reply to you about the link you tweeted. But you are not a “nobody” anymore. You are not just talking to yourself. People are now responding to your tweets.

Help other people out: The famous saying, “Do unto others what you want others to do unto you,” holds here. Before you can receive retweets, you must help others first by retweeting their messages. Help the people in your niche. One day, you’ll be surprised about how eager they are to help you back.

Create relationships: Now, it’s time to create constant connections. Soon, you will find some users are more active than others. You will get to talk with the same group of people at the same time every night. But don’t get bored. Interact with these people, and create relationships. Ask how they are doing, and try to touch on their interests.

Integrate Twitter with other social networks: Have a blog? Then post to Twitter when you have a post that will interest your niche. Have a Facebook profile? Then ask people to add you. Twitter is really a vital part of Web 2.0. It can serve as the core. It can let you build relationships that can branch out to other social networks.

Establish relationships even outside Twitter: Have a lot of friends on Twitter? Then take it to another level. Ask for their messenger and talk to these people on a more intimate level. Call them through Skype, or even arrange a meet-up. Twitter can create real relationships.

For more about how to use Twitter and many other social media networks, demonstrations in the upcoming bootcamp offer approaches for monitoring and engaging consumers in social media from a multiple discipline approach. Learn how to engage your target, and gain valuable knowledge of how consumers are interacting with your brand and category.

Cost for the entire event, including hundreds of dollars in products and takeaways, and three bonus offsite social and networking parties, is only $249.95. Register from http://www.social-media-bootcamp.com and enter The Rock River Times’ Discount Code, RockRiverTimes, for a $25 discount. For more information, please send an e-mail to: registration@social-media-bootcamp.com.

Social media are an integral part of life today. Let’s get on board and see where they take us. Better still, let’s join in the conversation, even lead in it, and a have a say in creating the future.

David D. “Griff” Griffith is a serial entrepreneur and networker and an evangelist of Web 2.0 and Social Media. A veteran of the internet, Griff has been an early adopter and innovator since the introduction of the World Wide Web; having now spanned the globe using tools from Bulletin Boards (BBS) to Usenet to Internet Relay Chat (IRC) to Twitter to…beyond!

from the July 22-28, 2009, issue

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