The cool thing about Twitter is not Twitter itself. So you can get over thinking you have some other new cool tool to figure out, some new thing to add to your ever expanding to-do list. What’s cool about Twitter is what is happening ON Twitter.
But since I’m probably talking to small business owners, let’s get down to business and answer the number one question I hear regarding getting your Twitter on.
How Will Twitter Help Me Get More Clients?
Well, unless your target market is a bit more on the tech-savvy side, you probably will not reach your clients directly. And that’s the plain truth of it. Do I think my life coaching clients are going to stumble across my Twitter profile and say “Whoa, I think I just found my coach?” It’s possible, but unlikely.
The value I’ve found in Twitter is growing my ability to collaborate with others who have an established client base or tribe (the social media buzz word coined by Seth Godin from his book Tribes). Imagine making friends with a new tribe leader whose tribe members might be your tribe members. This is about collaboration, not competition. This is why Twitter is so cool because it’s helping business step into a more empowered place where we leave competition in the dust and instead, recognize our uniqueness and consciously choose to collaborate together to share value. So indirectly, I am connecting with my right people. I do it by identifying complimentary services, products, people whom I resonate with. Resonation is the feeling of “this matches” or “these people might be my people.” If your product or service is a natural cross over, you’ve just made your selling more effortless. Begin a relationship with the tribe leader and see if they are into lending you some of their tribe juice. In other words, take the sell out of your selling. If selling creeps you out like it does most small business people then you should be perking up here and getting excited about venturing out into the Twitterverse.
So grab your good-feeling and off we go….
Getting Started On Twitter
The Twitter Profile
Why is your Twitter profile important? I generally will not follow you back if you do not have a complete Twitter profile.
- Do use your real name and not some fancy-schmancy moniker. You are building your personal brand. I used to hide behind my favorite online moniker “CStars4U” until my creativity coach, @CharlieGilkey called me out. What and who was I hiding from? If I’m spending time building my Twitter follow/social networking brand, I want people to know who I am. Use your real name.
- Do identify your location. Your mailing address is over-doing it. Your city and/or world region is not. Lame is iphone stuff… maybe it wouldn’t be lame if I had one, but for now… totally lame. I have a GPS. I don’t generally have it out when I’m tweeting. (I hope those numbers are geo coords, if not I’m the idiot and I still don’t get it.)
- Do add a URL. If you don’t have a website URL yet, consider putting in a link to social profile such as Myspace, Linkedin or Facebook. Or even just start with a free Google profile. This helps people get more an idea of who they are following. If your URL leads me to some MLM scheme, you are automatically disqualified. Period. If you don’t yet have a website, please contact me ASAP or check out YWC’s Web Creation Workshop.
- Do complete your 140-character-or-less bio. Less is more here in my opinion. Aim for a tagline that would fit on a business card or perhaps repeat your website or blog’s tagline here (as long as it’s a good one).
- Do upload your own picture (aka avatar). Not your business logo. Not the picture of your kid, or your dog or some other cartoon-y image. Make it a real life picture of you. Twitter is 21st century networking with real live people. If I want to meet your kids or dogs, I’ll visit your Facebook or Flickr profiles.
- Do worry about your custom twitter background later. This is a nice-to-have, not a have-to-have. Twitter offers some cool backgrounds to choose from to get you started. After you feel like your brand is establishing itself (this takes some time) then you can consider growing a big fat tree like I have for my background.
What To Tweet
- Be yourself.
Authentic. Transparent. Real. More buzzwords, but they work here and on Twitter. Don’t be afraid to show your “real” self on Twitter. In fact, showing your foibles, mistakes, pains, and frustrations actually makes you more relatable. Seriously, if you are at some biggified event, where someone is speaking, the very best thing that speaker can do is make mistakes. This helps members of the audience imagine themselves speaking because they can relate to the pain of making the mistake in the first place and, did I mention… see themselves speaking to a large group? Twitter works the same way. Go ahead and tell people you are unloading the dishwasher but make sure you Tweet lots of value-added tweets in between.
- Tweet value.
Re-tweeting, known in the Twitterverse as RT, is your friend. By following people you like or love on Twitter, simply retweeting their tweets adds value for your followers plus builds relationships with the original Tweeter. Everyone appreciates a retweet and you will usually be thanked for it. In fact, one of the best ways to get followed by someone cool is to retweet their stuff. If the tweet resonates with you, you can bet it will resonate with your people too. So retweet… a lot. I like the service TweetLater.com for gathering together tweets based on a few keywords and this feeds me a lot of RTs… all day long.
Who To Follow?
Find someone you dig and from their Twitter profile page, find out who they are following. Spend a few minutes everyday checking out about 10 people they are following to see if they resonate with you and follow them. Naomi Dunford (@IttyBiz) suggests looking at who “cool-person-you’re-following” is replying to and follow them. If “cool person-you’re-following” is having a Twitter conversation by replying, then the person they are replying to is most certainly cool too. Find out who they are, and if they resonate with you, follow them.
Here’s how I know if I resonate with someone.
- They have a real person face for their avatar.
- I scan their recent tweets and like them
- I visit their profile URL and like that too
- They have a cool bio
- They’ve tweeted recently (like in the last 24 hours)
- Following vs follower ratio seems reasonable (following 10,000 but have only 5 followers is NOT reasonable)
There is this sort of “rule” on Twitter called Follow-Back. The idea is that if you get followed, you automatically follow back. A lot of folks practice this rule. I used to (in the beginning) mostly because I was building up my Twitter following. Then I hit about 200 and found it challenging to stay on top of the cool people in my Twitterverse. So I downloaded TweetDeck and this helped a lot. I was able to set up ‘groups’ of really really important people whose tweets I did not want to miss. Plus it has a built in URL shortener to support the 140-characters-or-less lifestyle. And lots more features. But again, TweetDeck came after I was following about 200 peeps. So start with just plain ole Twitter and grow into what works for you… like everything else in life.
Today I’m following around 1000 and I’ve realized I’ve hit my max. Therefore, I’ve kinda dumped the “follow-back” rule, for now. So if you’ve followed me and you expect an automatic follow-back, so sorry. You’re going to have to engage me in a Twitter convo or tell me you like my tree or something in order to get my attention. If I know you as a client or outside of Twitter but from the Intert00bs, chances are I’ll follow you back. Just say “hey” and to do that you’ll simply direct a Tweet at me like this:
@MyndeMayfield Hi. I’m enjoying the heck outta your tweets. Have a great day!
Don’t worry so much about the Twitter lingo. You’ll pick it up. The best way to figure out WHAT is so cool about what is happening on Twitter is to jump in and make some waves. Go ahead and tell me about the cool blog post or article you’re reading. Give me the title and the URL so I can read it too. Retweet those inspirational quotes that keep you going (I need and like those too!) And every few tweets or so, tell me something really real, about you or your life so I know you’re human. That includes dishwasher unloadings, laundry foldings and regular ole bad-day-breakdowns. In *my* Twitterverse, I’ve found the coolest people rush in to pick me up, make me smile or just offer a virtual hug. THAT is very cool when you’re on this adventure of being your own boss.
I’ve already mentioned a few people I follow in this post but here’s a fly-on-my-wall view of “My Tribe” group from TweetDeck (the peeps I so don’t want to miss) to get you started:
There are many more in my TweetDeck groups… some are clients, some are friends, some family, some absolute strangers except through Twitter. The very best thing that has happened since I started tweeting is that absolute strangers have become friends. Some I’ve already met in person or will meet very soon at a blog conference or workshop. I’m looking forward to that and to meeting you too.
To merry meetings (imagine that and now go get your Twitter on!)