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To be honest I’m not a huge twitter user at the moment (though I should be), I joined Twitter several years ago whilst it was still relatively in it’s infancy and have tweeted on a number of occasions, but never really got to grips with it. This is however something I intend to rectify within the very near future. 

Twitter can be a powerful marketing tool once you discover how to optimize it for your business needs, so I thought I’d write a post on how to use your twitter account effectively and make the most from your followers without peeing them off.

BTW don’t think that just because I don’t tweet incessantly I don’t know what I’m talking about. A lot of this stuff is just plain common sense plus I’ve been studying twitter extensively within the last few weeks and I have tweeted a fair bit, just not huge amounts (as yet). 

Ok so here’s my take on the do’s and don’ts of tweeting!

1. Don’t focus on number, focus on quality. This was one of my earlier mistakes, I tended to follow folks on twitter willy nilly and ended up with a ton tweets from folks I had absolutely no interest in. 

Rather than seeing how many thousands of people you can follow in the hopes they will follow you back, focus on finding highly targeted members who are a good match for what you’re promoting. Read their profiles and follow people interested in your niche; whether it’s gardening, dogs or of course Internet marketing.

2. Think of your Twitter followers as you would a mailing list – a thousand highly targeted people truly receptive to your products are worth far more to your business than a 100,000 randomly selected people. I’ve discovered Twitter isn’t about who has the biggest follower count – it’s about making real connections with real people out there who really want to follow you for the right reasons. 

3. Don’t blast your links to the exclusion of great content and making real connections. Yes you want to promote your brand with your latest blog post or product, but you won’t get the results you’re hoping for unless you’re also forging connections, developing networks and growing relationships as well.

In other words, don’t post spammy tweets. If you spend a ton of time time pushing your products and boosting your own ego, your followers will run for the hills faster than you can say, “Whoops I blew it!”

Plus, if you’re not interacting with your followers then you might as well wave goodbye to them because they will quickly lose interest and unfollow you.

4. Don’t slave over your content. If you’re already producing content elsewhere on the Internet such as your blog, then Twitter is a breeze. For example, craft 3 or 4 tweets for each of your blogposts highlighting something interesting you covered in your post, and do the same for articles. New product? Just pull out some nuggets of information and share it freely with your followers. Folks love free content from generous folks. 

5. No one is interested in what you had for your dinner last night or breakfast this morning unless it was something really unique. Who cares what brand of cornflakes you use. (I certainly don’t). I can never understand why folks want to post what they had for their latest meal on Twitter or Facebook come to that and to be honest it makes you look a bit of an idiot when you do it constantly. 

Now if you’re eating alligator or something, I may be mildly interested!!

6. Share the latest news in your niche, it’s really easy to do, just sign up to Google Alerts using terms relevant to your niche to receive the latest news each day, then write a few tweets from this content. It will take you about 5 minutes, and you become the informed person people want to follow.

7. Offer your Twitter followers sales and coupons. Since the very nature of Twitter is fast response, you can give followers an incentive to follow you by offering them special deals such as a 50% discount for the next 20 minutes etc. 

8. Provide immediate support. Dell Computers for instance have been combining product discounts with customer support and a request for feedback from Twitter users for sometime now and their efforts have added millions to their bottom line. It’s proved a very effective strategy for them. 

9. Keep track of every tweet mentioning your name, your product or your company, use http://tweetbeep.com/ to keep on top of them. It sends you notifications to let you know who’s tweeting about you, allowing you to immediately respond. And remember, every time you respond to a tweet, there are hundreds of other people watching your conversation. That’s why one stellar show of customer service can result in several more sales.

10. Elicit customer feedback. Ask questions such as, “What’s missing from our latest product?” What’s your toughest challenge?” “What would you like to know concerning how to etc and so on. This is a great way to get information on how to improve your current products and what products you should roll out next. Be sure to acknowledge the responses you receive though. 

11. Run contests. People love contests and you can really capture their interest with them. First, make the contests short – no more than an hour in duration. Second, make them fun. You might ask followers to send their best example of a web page with a funny header, or to guess what you did to earn money in junior high, or to write the best headline for toothpaste for elephants.

Encourage your followers to retweet your contest and be sure to award prizes to the winners – free copies of an e-product or Amazon coupons work great.

12. Retweet other tweets that you like. By re-posting useful content to your followers, you can build goodwill, increase your followers and hopefully get your own content retweeted as well.

13. Run polls. You’ll find new people to follow and you’ll collect dynamite tips and insights from your followers. Plus it’s a great opportunity to engage your network and further build your relationships. Don’t know how to run a poll? here’s a good website to show you what you need and how to start. 

By using these steps you’ll find Twitter is a great place to build relationships with your customers, find new customers and even enjoy the process.

And you can follow me on twitter here 🙂 

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