Saturday, December 5, 2009

Twitter? What's A Twitter?

Thinking about jumping in to the Twitterverse? A friend of mine - the Atlanta Movies Examiner - was contemplating the same thing, and asked me for advice. The following is a synopsis of my advice and follow up comments.

1. Tweet only information that would be of use to other people. Nobody really cares what you are having for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I usually tweet about my latest blog posts, kid-friendly activities I find out about, general news, funny tidbits. I'll also send out a tweet about my experience with a particular vendor ­ say, if I had a really great experience at a certain store, or a particular associate was really helpful. People also tweet about the bad experiences they have with anything ­ flights, traffic, products, customer service. They'll often follow their tweet with FAIL.

2. 140 characters really limits you, especially if you have a long link you want to insert. I use link shorteners to circumvent this. My favorite is It provides easy to understand analytics as well.

3. To try and increase clicks to my blog, or to @TextileWorldMag news stories, I¹ll try and tie my tweet into a trending topic (you'll see these on the right hand of your Twitter page), or an item of interest in the news, the latest magazine you¹ve read ­ a general nugget of news or pop culture information that everyone knows about. It's all about synergy.

4. If you¹re really into personal branding, use your name as your Twitter handle. I use @SmyrnaGirl, which I kinda regret cause it doesn't sync up with my LinkedIn pages or bylines.

5. I use the favorites feature (click the star to the right of a tweet and it will be added to your Favorites) to save tweets that I'll get around to reading later. I use this mainly as a repository for links to how-to articles about Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook. And the occasional SNL or Late Night sketch video!

6. Some of my favorite people I follow - this list includes those that tweet helpful information about technology and business, celebrities, and random people that are interesting:

@SeanENelson - LinkedIn expert
@daddyclay - from DadLabs, great, funny parenting website
@JennyDeVaughn - great social media tips
@victoriadunmire - great social media tips

The Follow Up

1) Re: #4, would you recommend using "Atlanta Movies Examiner" or something else as my Twitter handle? (Presumably if I do the latter, it won't make as much sense for me to tweet about non-film-related topics or articles I've written about.)
I'd see what other Examiners are doing. If you want to strictly tweet about film-related topics, you might want to stick with something like ATLMoviesExaminer, though Twitter only allows you 15 characters.

2) Did/do you have a strategy for building up your list of followers?
No, I didn't have a strategy. There are several tools out there that people use to automatically follow people who use certain keywords in their tweets. I notice I get a surge in followers for TW right after I tweet about sustainability, or recycling. Or You'll notice people's tweets mentioning "You can get 100 followers a day. Click this link to find out how." But I feel this kind of defeats the whole purpose of Twitter, which is to foster communication that will hopefully lead to real-world relationships.

With TW and Billian's, I am going about it kind of under the radar. Most of my TW tweets point to TW content, or to our advertisers events/information.

Billian's I foresee being more synergistic as soon as I can get everything up and running. With that account I plant to tweet about our latest products, updates, white papers, etc., as well as industry news. Overall I hope to create synergy between the BHD website, and our pages on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Do you have Facebook or LinkedIn accounts? If you put #in or #fb at the end of your tweets, they will show up on your LinkedIn and FB pages.

3) How much time, if any, do you spend tweeting other people's articles, etc. as part of a strategy to encourage them to tweet about you?
If I think it's of value I'll retweet it. If it's someone I know, I'll retweet it.

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