Many use social networks like Facebook and Twitter to post pictures, to share links and to post a status update occasionally. But most business users aren’t aware of all the potential the social networks—particularly Twitter—have to offer. Here are eight ways to get more out of Twitter
1. Decide what you want to accomplish with your Twitter account. Is the purpose of your Twitter account to generate leads? Converse with customers? Keep up with industry news and competitors? By figuring out what you hope to accomplish with your Twitter account, you can then figure out what kinds of Tweets you’re going to post and what metrics to measure.
Another decision to make is what your level of participation will be. Are you only interested in news related to your business community, or do you wish to participate in discussions? The latter will help greatly in promoting your company and its products and services to others. Again, like most things, you get out of it what you put into it.
2. Create your Twitter bio as if it’s a sort of online resume, or like a business card you’d hand out at a professional conference. Select a passport-style business photograph of your face, and a short intro that briefly describes what your professional experience and interests are. The goal in Twitter or really any social network is gaining a large amount of followers. By choosing a good representation of yourself you’ll gain some followers based on common interests.
Try to choose a username that is close to your own name, so others from before will also recognize you and make the connection. Alternately, use the name of your business as your username. This allows you to promote your business with every tweet.
3. Start by tweeting information on professional topics or interests. For example: if your business is technology, you might mention a new gadget, computer or other device you, a friend or colleague just purchased. Remember that a tweet is only 140 characters, and that you should rarely ever continue a message into a second tweet. You should even try to avoid using more than about 120 or so, because in Twitter the way to get your message across is by re-tweets from others who are passing along your message. If you’re already at the maximum character count, then others can’t re-tweet that message effectively, or you can't tell others in your tweet to retweet, which has been shown to increase the number of tweets.
Don’t be concerned if you don’t have any followers, or just a few. It could take a little while before the individuals reading your tweets decide to make the move to follow you.
4. Communicate with both current and former colleagues. Search for them by name and click the “Follow” button found in their profile. Send them a greeting by entering the “@“ symbol before their username. They will receive an email and/or tweet with your profile, and from there will decide whether of not to follow you.
Remember that it’s polite on Twitter to follow someone who is following you. This rule is rarely followed by celebrities and high-profile business leaders, but it’s still a good one to remember.
5. Go to WeFollow or Twellow to find the leaders of your industry, and follow them. Don’t go overboard with choosing a lot of members to follow, or you’ll look a bit spammy by following so many people and having so few followers in return. Choose five or 10 to start with, and grow it gradually from there.
6. Feel the need to respond to someone’s tweet? Don’t be shy!