Nine tips to effectively utilize twitter

Yesterday, I went over the 1,000 follower mark on twitter. For my followers reading this, thank you.

Twitter has been an unbelievable tool to connect people, inform and share perspective. It launched on July 15, 2006 but finally began catching on in late 2009.

I’ve been on twitter 35 months and I find myself using it more and more each day, in different ways. Try watching a game without twitter. Yeah, I can’t do it either. It’s also gotten to the point where the news is just a summary of my twitter feed.

If you are still refusing to join, you’re lost and missing out on a lot in this new age.

Now over the century mark, below are nine tips of how to better effectively use twitter.

Build your brand
With twitter, you have the option to follow and read what you want. It no longer matters if you are with a big newspaper or online platform. If you take a unique perspective, do things differently, or have a keen eye for content, you can grow your brand and gain a following.

Then, no matter where you work, your followers stay on board.

A narrow-focus follow
In the last year, many big events have taken place that I will forever remember where I was when it happened: the killing of Osama bin Laden, the Indiana State Fair stage collapse, the Penn State scandal and Peyton Manning’s status.

No matter the topic, there are always a few experts on-site posting updates, photos and talking to sources. During these stories, I suggest following various tweeps that will keep you most informed.

Making new contacts
Twitter has been great resource to find new people with similar interests. After following someone, you immediately begin to see their personality emerge. I have developed relationships with a handful of people that I didn’t know previously, and I now connect with them on a weekly-basis. One of the special things about twitter is the ability to interact and engage with anyone, of any status.

Instant information – instant feedback
Instant information is tremendous, but there are also some downfalls. We saw first hand with Joe Paterno’s death, the trouble of media scrambling to be first to a story. It’s better to get it right than be first.

With immediate updates, those interested can constantly be in the know (if following the right people). Where do I first learn about EVERY big news item – twitter.

Along the same lines, the amount of feedback gained after posts is remarkable. I can see how many people viewed a photo, logged onto my website or clicked a link. If there’s big news, followers very often retweet or reply. Both positive and negative, feedback is beneficial and I like it. (Don’t be just a follower, get involved and reply to those you follow. But don’t be annoying.)

Limit who you follow
Although there are so many great people to follow for a variety of topics, I’m a big believer in limiting the number of people you follow.

Because stubborn folks are finally giving in and signing up, the right number continues to grow but I think everyone should have a number. Mine right now is around 330, though, I do deviate from that number for specific events (like the Super Bowl, right now). Every person I follow for a specific reason or topic. Each follow has a purpose.

Too many times, I’ve noticed friends that get ‘follow-happy’ and follow anybody they know, athletes and celebrities included. Take a trial with an account and you’ll quickly learn who your favorite follows are. From nearly three years of experience, I don’t believe anyone can reasonably follow more than 500 accounts.

Source your information
Nothing is bothering me more lately than a tweet with outstanding content but they do not note who is reporting the information or where they found it. If it’s not your own info, cite it. It’s as easy as that. Don’t try to take credit for something that isn’t yours. If somebody has done that to you, you know exactly how that feels.

Utilize the bio
Too many times, a person’s bio is an afterthought and rarely used effectively. Of course with celebrities and well-known stars, this doesn’t really apply. State what you do, who you work for and what you have to offer. What credibility do you have? Entice people to follow you. (My friends looking for jobs, you can thank me later).

Clean up your tweets
Make your tweets easy to read. Make sure everything works. It is very irritating with a tweet is difficult to interpret, includes too many hashtags, and the links don’t work. Every tweet is a representation of your brand, a representation of your work. In the digital age, you never know who is following and reading your work.

And please, no need to connect your foursquare and twitter account. I don’t care where you are. But if you are at a cool location and see something worth capturing, share a picture.

Just enjoy
Twitter is an amazing tool. Don’t overthink it but use appropriately. I appreciate all those that follow, read my posts and interact. Sometimes the latter is one of its greatest features.

One Response to Nine tips to effectively utilize twitter
  1. Semaine #05 (2012) – Partie 1/3 | Grokuik
    February 11, 2012 | 7:18 pm

    […] 9  astuces pour être efficace (en anglais) […]

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