Tips for Tweets

Posted on August 31, 2009

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I’m at a key moment in my use of Twitter: I’m experienced enough to know what works and what doesn’t, and yet I’m still motivated to talk about things I see. Here are some tips to help you with your use of Twitter specifically, and social media in general.

First

Know why you want to use Twitter. Are you being social? Promoting yourself as a job candidate? Promoting yourself as a business? Promoting your business?

Photo

Choose your photo wisely. If you’re a business, use your logo or some part of your logo. If you are your business, use an appropriate photo – a professional photo or a good picture of you doing your work. Whether you’re being social or promoting yourself as a job candidate, use a nice photo. Save your drunk gangsta face for someplace other than the Internet. Seriously. It will come back to haunt you, even if Twitter becomes obsolete. Don’t use cartoons or odd, creative pictures – unless that creativity is what you’re promoting on Twitter.

Tweets

Your goal with your tweets is either to help other people, or to promote yourself by showing your interests. You help other people by providing useful content – quick tips, or links to articles and blogs. You show your interests by doing things and tweeting about them. Don’t just sit home and think. Do re-tweet other content, but don’t just do that.  Go and do and tell us about it!

The limit is not 140 characters. It’s 100-120 if you want people to re-tweet your post – and you should. That’s how you expand your network.

If you’re on multiple social networks, please stop posting the same thing on all of them. Chances are that your network is also on multiple social sites, and you’re teaching them to ignore you. Know what each site means for you, and post accordingly.

Frequency

You know that you want people checking Twitter to see your posts. You don’t have to be on Twitter long to see how quickly Tweets scroll off the bottom of your page. So you know you need to Tweet often, but you also have to actually do things. How do you find a balance? I recommend jumping on a service like SocialOomph, and scheduling your Tweets.

Typically, I start my day by blogging. Then I post about my blog on Twitter, and sometimes Facebook (there’s an app that automatically displays my blog on my LinkedIn profile). Next I scroll through my Facebook feed, looking for content that interests or inspires me, and I re-tweet it. Finally, I do some blog and tag surfing on WordPress, and Tweet links to interesting blogs relevant to my personal brand. Depending on when I start, I could be done for the day by 10:00 AM (often it’s earlier). That means that unless someone searches for me, sees someone else’s re-tweet of one of my posts, or searches for a topic on which I tweeted (see Hashtags, below), I’m invisible to the Twitterverse. So instead, I’m scheduling all of that using a free online service. My Tweets will pop up throughout the day, even while I’m out living my life. I can always post additional material “live” when I need to.

Hashtags

You don’t have to be on Twitter long to start seeing words preceded by a hashmark, like #marketing. These are tags that make posts search-able within Twitter. If you want more people to be able to find your Tweet, use appropriate hashtags. If you’re posting about a blog post that you read, incorporate the tags used by the author into your hashtags.

Other Tools

There are lots of tools out there for using Twitter. Seesmic, Tweetdeck, and Socialoomph.com (used to be TweetLater) are just three of them. Experiment! Set up your Twitter account to accept updates from your phone, so you can update while away from your computer.

Remember

There’s huge difference between being on social media, and being involved with social media. If you’re managing your career, or working in marketing or sales, you need to be the latter.

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Posted in: Marketing