I first created an account with twitter about a year ago just to see what all the hype was about and immediately didn’t get it. In fact I had my account for a full five months before I decided to give it another go. This time I did a search for web design and development, as it’s of great interest to me and started following a few people. By initiating this relationship I realised people weren’t only tweeting what they had for breakfast (as were my first impressions) but in fact sharing links to other interesting stuff they had found or had written themselves, namely blog articles, design resources, tutorials and the like.
From having access to that small number of tweeters I started reading what was being tweeted. I’ve discovered a lot more from using twitter as my source of information. In the same way as subscribing to a website’s RSS feed I have found twitter to take this method to the next level by creating a community between users. The old saying ‘You get out as much as you put into’ holds true here. My design, business and web knowledge has grown and will continue to. I’ve found sites with CSS3 demos and the latest info on the new HTML5 standard. I’ve found endless Photoshop brushes, shapes and textures. Of course it’s not all work and we all love the funny stuff too.
After several months of being content with my current crowd of followings On the 22nd of August I decided on setting myself a goal. I tweeted “Aiming to get my followers tally to 50 by the 4th of October.. In the world of design, web and online marketing follow me now..” over a period of three days (with the help of Later Bro.) Within 5 days I had achieved my goal and am still counting.
These simple techniques have been the most effective by far:
- Retweet the articles you’ve read – help spread the word by sharing it with your own followers.
- When retweeting the article check if you are following it’s author. If not then start following them! Showing support for someone’s hard work will help you gain support for yours.
- Begin writing and I mean articles, reviews, tutorials, whatever you feel like. Create a blog and start sharing your knowledge. Produce some Photoshop brushes or funky textures (host them on DeviantArt) and tweet the links.
Give something back to your fellow twitterers, after all they did help you get where you are today. I also believe the best way in keeping on top of things is to follow more people than are following you. It keeps you in check with the fast pace of twitter.
Twitter: A Business Tool
Taking all this information and putting it into a business scenario is done in the same way. We need to look at what search terms to use in the initial phase of the tweeting experience. So if your business is a bar or restaurant you can start with location specific terms. This is a really good step in building connections in your local area and spreading your name amongst the people most likely to be your customers.
Creating connections with business associates is also a good idea. Start following your local newspaper or an online directory for restaurants and bars. Chances are they will follow you in return. Another effective method is to add a link to your twitter account on your website that will encourage visitors to follow you. Get your customers involved and remember people love getting things for free. Try this, when someone starts following you send them a DM (that’s direct message in twitter lingo) thanking them for the follow. Maybe even add a link to a voucher for a free glass of Champagne. Good manners goes a long way and we do want them coming into your venue instead of floating around in cyberspace.
Now that you’ve built a nice twitter community for your business you need to stay fresh in the minds of your followers, so let’s start to do some writing! Do you have a new special offer for food this week? Tweet it. Is there a Sunday roast special? Tweet it. Are you introducing new cocktails? Tweet it. Get the idea?
However let’s not become limited to only deals and offers, why not write a few articles? Have a go at writing an account of that live music show you’ve been tweeting all week about. Ask your followers to contribute by getting them to write a review of their visit.
Twitter, and in fact all social media tools are fast becoming a must have in any business’ marketing plan, therefore we as users need to understand and make use of these systems in order to entirely benefit from this new form of media.