This post first ran in 2009 - much still remains relevant. I've changed a few things in red.
At the Blog Book Tours class (which I no longer teach) , the next assignments for the month focus on the social marketing groups we all know... and maybe hate. These include Facebook, MySpace, Goodreads, and Twitter.
We're starting with Twitter because it's the fastest, easiest, and most powerful for marketing your other websites. It's also less of a time-suck than the more complex social forums. There are other added benefits about Twitter networking that I'll point out later.
In a nutshell, Twitter is a micro-blogging site that allows snappy posts of 140 (now 280 + photos, videos, and GIFS - use them!)characters. To participate, you follow other Twitter users and this allows you to see their updates.
You, in turn, are followed by others and those people can read what you have to say. Keep this scenario in mind, because it's the key to how Twitter works, or how it doesn't if you don't "get it". Believe me, many people don't, and consequently feel it's a waste of time.
Let me repeat:
You must follow people to see their updates.
Only your followers can see your updates.
It's crucial you understand this. If you are enthusiastically following thousands of people, but only a fraction are following you back, then only that small fraction sees what you write. Therefore, it's important you spend your efforts offering information that is of value to others, so they will want to follow and read you.
Now, to get started, and before the following and socializing begins, you need a few things upfront:
- An email account that is acceptable on Twitter like yahoo or hotmail
- A name that coordinates with your other website efforts if possible - I use blogbooktours everywhere I can
- A small photo for your homepage and post icon
- A well-written short bio
- The website link you will send readers to for more information
Once you've gotten this far, you're ready to practice entering some updates. Introduce yourself in one, leave a blog link in another, tell us what you're doing today in a third. Do this several times more, perhaps throughout the day, to get Twitter into your conciousness and just to practice writing concise but meaningful messages. Be sure to bookmark your Twitter page to make it one of your regular stops several times during the day, much like checking your email.
Now you're ready to start following people and have them follow you back. We'll talk about how to do that in the next post.
And then you can follow me @twitter!
Tomorrow I'll also post helpful links picked up at Twitter to help you even more. One of my favorites is TwiTip for ongoing updates and tips.