This week I will have hit 50,000 tweets

Mar 30, 2012 by

That’s no mean feat in just under three years on Twitter, although I confess, I pretty much ignored it for the first six months.

I am often asked – how? It seems simple enough to me but I guess that it’s not as clear to people who still don’t quite get the power of Twitter.

Quite simply I love Twitter. And Twitter obviously loves me as over 90% of my business can be traced back to Twitter; I even wrote a book on ‘How to get started on Twitter and generate business’.

I received a phone call this week from one of my followers who wanted to pick my brain on Twitter.  He has a client he wants to become more active on there and wanted to know how I thought it could work for them.

So, in honour of my 50,000th tweet (it could well have already been posted by the time you read this) here are my top ten tips on Twitter for business.

  1. First and foremost – be you.
    I may offer assistance with Social Media but I won’t ever pretend to be you on Twitter.  That’s because it is fake.  I can’t even tweet for my own brother, it just doesn’t sound right.  Talk about your day to day experiences, your family, your favourite foods, the TV you love and hate and your hobbies.  That’s right. Just be YOU. It’s the basic element of Twitter that makes it work, and yet for many seems to be the hardest to appreciate.
  2. Start a conversation
    That’s right.  Twitter is about a conversation. You could sit there and twiddle your thumbs and expect people to follow you, but it’s not going to happen.  If you want people to follow you then you need to talk to them.  You could follow someone back, having read their profile and checked out their timeline you should be able to write a simple tweet thanking them for following you and asking them a question relating to what you have just read.  If you ask a question rather than just saying thank you there’s a lot more chance of a conversation starting.
  3. Don’t AutoDM
    Trust me – this is one of the most abhorrent features of Twitter, it’s practically akin to spam mail. No one likes to receive it and it could lose you followers.  Think about it.  I’ve just looked at your profile, checked out your timeline and followed you and yet the first thing you do is send me an automated message sending me over to Facebook! No – thank – you
  4. Don’t use a Validator
    This is possibly even more insulting than an auto dm.  Would it really be too much trouble to look at my profile image, look at my tweets and make your own mind up that I am human?  I defy anyone to read my timeline and think I could be a robot.  Slightly insane perhaps, an automaton – no!  People are offended at being asked to validate themselves and will just not bother.  It’s a sure fire way of keeping your follower numbers down.
  5. Follow Interesting People
    Followers don’t magically happen, but  they are also not supposed to be about vanity. Yes it’s flattering that I now have over 3,500 followers, but, you know what? I’d be just as happy to have 300 followers if they all talked to me and engaged me in conversation.  Follower numbers are vanity.  It’s how you interact with your followers that creates the buzz that is Twitter.  So Justin Bieber has broken the million barrier, whoopee for him, but how many of those followers does he talk to, share with and engage with.  If you follow people that you have something in common with, engage them in conversation, then they may just follow you back.
  6. Think about others
    Whilst the first thing I suggest you do on Twitter is be you, the next thing you do should be to actively use it to help others.  If someone asks for a recommendation and you can help, do it.  If someone asks a question and you know the answer, give it.  If someone tweets something interesting and you know several of your followers would enjoy reading it, retweet it.  See – it’s not painful is it.  Say please and thank you. Start conversations, help people out.  This is really where the pleasure comes from in Twitter.  If you know two people on Twitter who have a lot in common – introduce them. They may not come across each other otherwise.
  7. Don’t bombard your timeline in one sitting
    My local paper puts every headline on Twitter one after the other. Bang. Bang. Bang.  What it means is I pretty much ignore most of them.  However, if they spread them out during the day there’s a lot more chance of me reading them.  You can use tools like Hootsuite scheduling or Buffer to stagger your tweets so that this doesn’t happen.
  8. Give a reason if you do #Follow Friday
    I used to love Follow Friday.  I actually used to blog my Follow Friday recommendations because it gave me a chance to give you a proper reason why you should follow someone.  I don’t do it anymore as I have so many people I follow that are deserving it seems cruel to only pick one or two each week and I’d never get to the end of the list.  However, there is nothing worse than seeing a tweet, or several in a row, saying #FF and a list of names but no reason why you should follow them.  If you’re going to do it then do one per tweet and give other people a good reason why they should follow.
  9. Put your own business at the bottom
    The last thing you should do on Twitter is sell.  People are not there to read your business tweets. But, that’s the thing.  If you keep a healthy balance then you can tweet about your business. Let people know what you do, if they don’t know, they can’t refer people to you.  Share blog posts with your followers.   Don’t just broadcast. Go back to tip one.  If you’re not doing the being yourself you will just lose people’s interest.
  10. Be You
    But wait you say, I already said this in tip one. Yep. But that’s the thing. This is such an important part of Twitter that if you get it wrong you’ll never truly see the power of Twitter.  Twitter isn’t just about business.  Actually, in a way, that’s just a nice side effect for me.  Twitter is a place to meet new friends.  I’ve met several of my Twitter buddies for real, and because they are real people on Twitter it’s not like meeting a stranger for the first time, it’s like meeting an old friend you haven’t seen for years.  Twitter is somewhere to learn new things.  If you follow the right people you will learn so much from the tweets they post, the blogs they tweet and so on.  I learn something new every day on Twitter.  Twitter is also a place for laughter.  Yes you can have a good joke, someone will tweet something that will make you smile, or in some cases, spit your coffee out with laughter.  On the other hand it can also make you cry, as someone, somewhere, will always be having a worse day than you.

So please.  Before you turn round and tell me you don’t ‘Get Twitter’ or that it isn’t the place for you, actually give it a go.  A proper go.  Think back over the ten tips above and allow yourself at least three months, preferably six, to get the hang of it.  If you give Twitter a fair chance and use it wisely it could be one of the best decisions you ever make, of course, working with us would be the other best decision you ever make!

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