To Tweet, Or Not To Tweet – That Is The Question


By Ernest O’Dell

In recent months, I have finally come to the conclusion that I would join Twitter, just to see what it was all about. I—like many others before me—thought “tweeting” was just a waste of time, and I had no use for the limitations of a 140 character “mini-blog” of sorts.

It’s enough, I guess, that I can get the same on Facebook, LinkedIn, MyBlogLog or MySpace. Whatever for, or why, did I need another social networking platform?

Ah! But I finally “bit the bullet” and “took the bait” and signed up. As I said—under the premise of finding out what all the hoopla was all about.

Since I joined within the last several months, I’ve garnered several thousand “followers” and I probably “follow” more people than those who follow me. I still haven’t really figured out the “finer points” of using it as a business tool. When I do, I’ll send you an update.

I did sign up with some automated Twitter add-ons which automatically “follow” and send auto replies. TweetLater.com – which later became SocialOomph.com – has been instrumental in automating a lot of the menial tasks for me. It will even cycle through a rotating “tweet” to go out to my new connections.

I even found an application on Facebook which will post my WordPress blogs to Twitter, and back to Facebook. (I still haven’t figured that one out!) One thing about all this Web 2.0 “social networking” stuff: I’ll never claim to be an expert or a “guru.”

I still do not understand the value of Twitter and how it can help my business. Being the “trooper” that I am, I will persevere and give it a chance to prove itself. I guess that’s all I can do, and in the past, when I have done so, I’ve been lucky enough to find some real treasure troves.

The boys over at Twitter Watch Dog, Al Ferretti and Skeeter Hansen, run a blog that has a lot of good info on Twitter and how to use it, and go to great lengths to explain the core values of Twitter Success.

In their recent post “20 Ideas To Use Twitter For Your Business,” they explain how to “engage, build relationships, and provide real value to the community.”

Well, that all might seem simple to some, if done effectively, and some seem to think it will propel your business to the stratosphere! To date, I’ve gotten pitifully few redirects from my automated tweets. But, I’m going to give Twitter a chance to prove itself. (If this appears to be a “less than favorable” review of Twitter, it is. It really hasn’t “wowed” me yet.)

Perhaps I’m not being “effective” enough, I don’t know. Or I’m not perceived as being “valuable.” I guess I’ll have to work on both.

Whether you’re new to the business community, or a seasoned professional, it might be well worth your time to at least consider if Twitter would be a good “fit” for your business. I know a lot of businesses that are using it effectively to communicate with their sales personnel.

So… it must have some value—to some.

Keeping some of these core values in mind, here are some basic ideas to help you use Twitter effectively; whether for personal use or for your business.

  1. First, don’t talk business all the time. Like anything, variety is the spice of life.
  2. Engage people on a personal level and talk about all kinds of things that others may be interested in.
  3. What-ever your business is, tweet people’s attention to things, places, people, etc. Then provide value and establish why your business may be of benefit or interest to them.
  4. Feel free to be creative and think outside of the box. The possibilities are virtually unlimited.
  5. When you tweet about your own products or services do so from the perspective of offering advice or value, rather than hard selling. (Nobody likes SPAM)
  6. Establish a habit of tweeting as often as you see fit. Please don’t go overboard and always be focused, but there should be a daily activity to establish consistency. (Personally, I could care less what a lot of people are “doing right now.” They might be “doing” something I really don’t want to know about!)
  7. Use search.twitter.com to look for special subjects, people or types of info. This will help you to find lots of interesting people who are in your line of business. BONUS: This search is provided in real time, as it’s happening right now.
  8. Take a look at some of the Twitter third party tools that are listed on Twitter Watchdog. Some of their tools will help you to be far more productive as you interact.
  9. Spend the first few weeks building your Twitter following with people who you know or feel would be interested in your business. Twitter Karma, Buzzom, and Tweet Adder are great applications for this. I have way too many followers who have absolutely no relation to the business I’m in. But, who knows…
  10. Understand that Twitter is probably the fastest-growing social media phenomenon of all time for personal and business use. It could—quite possibly—provide some real advantage to your business… and maybe your personal life, too.
  11. Make sure that you understand Twitter lingo: Learn what RT means, what the @ means and so on.
  12. Understand that while many still do not fully understand Twitter (like me), other businesses have been very successful by using Twitter in a variety of ingenious ways that creates a “viral effect” for their business—locally, nationally and globally.
  13. Survey or Ask some quick easy questions and get a lot of opinions from targeted people, rather easily.
  14. Realize that there are a good number of like-minded people and businesses on Twitter and it is becoming a goldmine for networking, ideas and resources in a multiplicity of ways.
  15. Twitter can be very educational if you keep an open mind about it. Don’t be close-minded and dismiss it “out of hand.” You might actually be surprised by the “nuggets” in a gold mine you find there.
  16. How important will Twitter be for your business in the future? Who knows? Get plugged in and stay plugged in. It may take time for you to benefit from it. But hey! It’s free to join anyway.
  17. If you want to convert your Twitter followers into potential clients you will need to engage them in a process of soft marketing. Don’t try to “hard sell” them, as it turns most people off; if they even bother reading your tweets. Provide valuable content, insights and information by establishing yourself as someone they can trust. Only then can you convert some of your followers into your sales funnel.
  18. Be understanding of those who think that Twitter is just a “ridiculous” kiddie toy. You may come across some criticism while engaging your business and you might have to carry out some internal PR within your own organization to assure people you’re not wasting your time, or lost your “marbles.”
  19. As you progress on Twitter, spice up your Twitter background with a tailor-made Twitter background design.
  20. Last, but not least, always be positive, be yourself and have fun. (Why is it that all the social “gurus” tell you to “have fun?” For serious minded people like me, and others with AR, it’s an annoying proposition!)

On a final note: If you “hook” your Twitter account into the SMS application where it “tweets” you on your cell phone, PDA, or your Blackberry, it could become expensive if your carrier charges you for “character count.” It’s pretty much based on the same protocol as “texting” which is so popular today.

Remember this: If you do—in fact—get your tweets sent to your wireless device, you will get ALL your tweets, in “real time.” I get hundreds per day over the web interface. I refuse to hook it into my cell phone SMS. On a “texting” rate, that could prove expensive!

Ernest O’Dell – CEO
Guerrilla Internet Marketing
E-mail: GuerrillaInternetMarketing@gmail.com
Guerrilla Internet Marketing

Ernest O’Dell is the moderator of the guerrillainternetmarketing

He is also the author of “Guerrilla Real Estate Marketing” and soon to be published “Black Ops Manual In Guerrilla Internet Marketing.” Watch for it!

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Ernest,

    Yes Twitter can be a good source for building your business if used the right way. The automated stuff is great but sometimes it defeats the purpose of “social networking”. I’m not saying not to use the automated stuff because that’s a good thing….just don’t automate everything. Some people are doing that and ruin what they are trying to do. Just like anything else ….you have to stay in contact. Keep sending the great info you provide and you will see results.

    Thanks again for an awesome article!

    Rodney

  2. I agree, Rodney. While Twitter has its limitations, it is a quick way to get a message out to people. Automating it with SocialOomph or one of the other automated API’s can detract from the personal aspect of social networking. In my book, Facebook and a few others like FB have the best advantage for forging relationships with people.

    One system, though, that has been overlooked by a lot of people is Profit Rally which has proven to still be a viable venue for distribution of media to your subscribers. It took me a while to figure it out, but once I did, I put myself to writing a complete guide and tutorial on it.

    However, I still haven’t heard from Axel Steininger since he had his PayPal account suspended. It’s been over 2 years and he still owes a lot of money to people I know, and for that reason he has disabled the ability to upgrade to Pro.

    If people were former Pro members, he has allowed them (I gather) to continue their Pro memberships without charge, but I don’t know if they have all the services to go along with it.

    Even so, the basic free model is still awesome and the URL and text rotaters that you can plug into your sites are powerful and covert.

    It took me a couple of years to figure it out, as I said, but I found out that this stuff was way ahead of its time… by light years.

    In the realm of software and getting tons of traffic, it’s weapons grade.

    In the realm of building downlines and recruiting, it’s absolutely nuclear!


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