Back to basics information on using Twitter as a business tool

by Carl Natale on May 4, 2010

Twitter has been around long enough that I forget that there are people who don’t much about it. They may know enough to be interested in its potential though.

If you’re new to Twitter or trying to explain it to a client, start with Tweeting 101: A Twitter Cheat Sheet from Web Worker Daily. It’s a great breakdown of the basics.

I would add a little to part about writing retweetable tweets. I try to keep my tweets close to 100 characters to allow tweeps to have room to add a quick comment. Some people appreciate that opportunity. And it leaves room for someone to retweet the retweet. (Yes, that’s legal in all 50 states.)

Once a new tweep gets started, it won’t be long before he or she is looking to build a following. Scott Kirshner has “10 tips for attracting a following on Twitter” in The Boston Globe. There is good solid advice here.

    1. Set up your profile.
    2. Put your Twitter “handle’’ everywhere.
    3. Share information; avoid self-promotion.
    4. Re-tweet other people’s messages.
    5. Leverage Twitter users you know.
    6. Pick people or businesses to follow.
    7. Find people who are already talking about you.
    8. Be consistent.
    9. At gatherings, be a reporter.
    10. Dangle incentives.

It’s important to remember that these tips don’t require a significant time commitment. The key is consistency. I also want to stress it’s important to be all about yourself. You will quickly spot the people who are just in it for themselves. Don’t be like them.

But let’s be honest. You do want to know how Twitter can benefit your business. Small Biz Bee addresses that with “8 Ways Small Businesses Can Use Twitter Effectively”. This will give you a good idea of what’s possible. Here are the tips:

    1. Growing Customer Relations
    2. Promoting Sales
    3. Getting the Word out About a new Product or Service
    4. Special Offers Only to Those who Tweet
    5. Directing Customers to Product Reviews
    6. Cheap R&D
    7. Special Customer Announcements
    8. Promoting Worthy Causes

Fine tune your tweets with these 10 Dos and Don’ts for Brands on Twitter on Mashable. These are real good rules of the road for anyone – not just for brand promotion. In fact, you can apply these tips to just about any Internet communication.

    1. Don’t Be a Showoff
    2. Don’t Use Poor Grammar or Spelling
    3. Don’t Get Too Personal
    4. Don’t Auto-Tweet
    5. Don’t Leave Air in the Conversation
    6. Don’t Overtweet
    7. Do Shout Out to Users Who Mention You
    8. Do Monitor Keywords and Competitors
    9. Do Make an Informative Profile
    10. Do Fish Where the Fish Are

By the way, the last Mashable tip is the most important.  If you’re market isn’t using Twitter, then it’s like the old joke about a guy looking for his lost car keys under a street light.

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