When I started to use Twitter, I wanted to see how easy it was to use and why people would want to use it. Essentially it appears you can use Twitter for three reasons, firstly; for purely social objectives or secondly; and more commonly as a way of promoting your business your ideas and your brand or most likely a mixture of 1 and 2. The easiest way to describe Twitter is that it is text messaging on the Internet. You only have 140 characters to post a blog so there is an art in itself in getting your message over with this limitation. To quote Winston Churchill “I don’t have time to write you a short note so I will write to you a long one”. With such a limited number of characters you do have to think quite clearly about what you’re saying, which in itself is no bad thing.
So I’m assuming, as I do that you want to use Twitter to build up your network and promote your business is a few tips on how to get started. Firstly I would say that twitter is incredibly easy to use. But before you start you need to decide on your persona. That is to say do want your tweets to be of a personal nature or of a business nature. Perhaps we should look again at it in a slightly different way and ask yourself the question do you think that some of your personal messages would be inappropriate for your business contacts two receive, if you think the answer is yes then you should open two twitter accounts. If the answer is no, or probably no, then one will be sufficient.
Getting started is easy once you have signed up get your home page and it settings. Let’s not worry about pictures and suchlike at the moment, and concentrate on settings. The most important section is the one line bio. Give some thought about what you want to say, as potential followers will read this bio and use it to decide whether to follow you or not. A poorly written bio will not encourage followers.
Right we are now ready to go. So what do you say, at this point it’s a learning curve for you so I had just try a few different posts to see how comfortable you are with them. The most important thing is to be yourself, remember this is not a 5 minute wonder, potentially you’ll be using this medium for years to come. To build up your network you need to find some people to follow, and you need some followers. The best way to start, if you can, is use to connect with some of your friends who already use Twitter, that gives you a place to start.
Go to one of your friends pages, and on the right hand side you will see the word following and underneath that I will be a number of mini pictures, choose one at random and click on it. This will take you through to that person’s home page, read their Bio and if you like it, just below their picture you will see a radio button which says follow. Press it and you are now following that person and they are part of your network. Repeat this process as often as you like and you will quickly build up an understanding of those individuals who are of interest to you and those who are not. The current etiquette is that if you follow somebody, but they will for the most part follow you back.
For the first few days, don’t worry too much about growing your network, your best spending your time understanding how twitter works. You’ll get a sense from reading of the submissions and from that you should start to understand the best way for you to communicate via twitter. A couple of other ways to speed up the building your network is to use something called “twitter local”, download it and use it to identify people close to you who are on twitter. Follow them and as you are local they are very likely to follow you back.
So that’s a quick way of getting started. More on this when I have learned more myself.
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Laurence Ainsworth is using is founder of Exigent Consulting which provides advice and support for small to medium businesses. Exigent specialises in Business Turnaround, Sales and Marketing and Mentoring & Coaching. He can be found ontwitter.com/laurenceexigent and at www.exigent-uk.com He is a regular contributor of articles on marketing and sales and is a frequent Blogger and Twitter-er