I get a LOT of questions about why anyone should care about Twitter. I gave up defending it long ago, though I will still explain it to people who want to try and understand its uses. I’m also still very happy to help people understand how to effectively use Twitter.
I admit, like most, I had a rough start with Twitter. I didn’t get it. But I saw something there, and figured I’d try it. I decided to pick a theme that would get me to post at least once a day. I picked quotations. My earliest “tweets” consist, in a large part, of short quotes from other people. Still to this day I “favorite” quotes, and still try to post at least one quote a day in my Twitter feed. Guess what? I got a growing number of followers, and a fair share of (encouraging) replies, just by doing that.
I’m not a member of the Twitterati, but I do have a decent share of followers. So allow me to make some suggestions for organizations and individuals that want to use Twitter as one of their public communications tools.
The most successful twitterers, in my experience, combine three ingredients in roughly equal parts when it comes to “baking” the content that they share on Twitter:
- Promotional tweets: Yes, it’s okay to use Twitter to talk about yourself or your company. It helps to warn people that it’s self-serving (in the spirit of transparency). Feel free to link! Just don’t make these the ONLY tweets you send.
- Informational tweets: In addition to self-serving content (that still hopefully helps others), you should also mix in other helpful content. Mention a competitor’s resource, or a good analysis or report on your industry. Don’t forget to link!
- Conversational tweets: Finally, don’t ignore the conversation. If you like what someone else tweeted about, reply to that tweet, or “retweet” it (making sure to give the original twitterer credit of course) so your followers see it too. Ask questions in your tweets to encourage others to participate.
Remember, things happen fast on Twitter. Don’t think of Twitter as a broadcast platform like television. Just because you have 300 followers doesn’t mean that 300 people will read every message you send. If they have a lot of followers, your message might quickly get buried in the “river of news.” If you see something you like, retweet it—others will return the favor. Finally, don’t forget to follow other people on Twitter. Now, I can’t guarantee that if you do this you’ll have tens of thousands of followers and make tons of money. But you will grow your followers.