I noticed that my 2 blog posts on Twitter that I created earlier this month received an overwhelming response. People loved learning about various activities and reasons for using Twitter in their online training, distance learning classrooms, businesses and coaching practices. However, they also wanted to know the best practices for “operating” this social media. In this “Hot Topics Wednesday” episode I compiled a list of 15 most important steps that you need to take in order to enjoy your Twitter experience.
1. Sign up at Twitter.com. Signing up will take you about 40 seconds. You can’t skip this step.
2. Download Tweetdeck for FREE from http://www.tweetdeck.com. This program will help you schedule your tweets in advance. For instance, I schedule all of my tweets once a week (it takes me about an hour to do it), and then check in for 5 minutes each day to see what others have to say and comment on their work. Even when I am away, my automated tweets keep appearing on my profile, so I am constantly connected with my audience without being glued to my computer
3. Use URL shorteners. Since you only have 140 characters per “tweet”, you can save space by shortening the links to the articles you write about. Here are some useful sites for that. By the way, your tweeter deck from Step 2 should also help you shorten your URLS!
Just copy and paste the website address that you want to share in your tweet into the box on one of the following sites:
4. Use #hashtags. A hashtag is a word, or a series of characters with the “#” sign in front of it, such as, #edtech. Hashtags are used to follow a specific conversation on Twitter (in this case “educational technology”). This allows you to get discovered by anyone in the world who is viewing or following that hashtag conversation. Here is a list of #hashtags that are commonly used by others: http://hashtags.org/
5. Keep the drama off Twitter. We are bombarded by tons of information every day. The last thing people need is to have negativity in their social networks. Use your posts to bring positive energy and brighten up your followers’ day! Concentrate not on the number of the posts but on the VALUE that you provide to your audience. If someone is negative to you- you can either ignore them or unfollow them… DO NOT get into the virtual “fight”- it does not resolve anything, it can ruin your Twitter reputation and robs you of precious time that you can spend on more productive activities.
6. Find people in your niche. On www.twitter.com go to “find people”; type in the names of people who are the main influencers in your field; click the “follow” link under their photo. This will let you see their tweets with other people.
7. Build relationship. Do NOT pitch to your audience. There is nothing worse than a company or a person who try to sell their products without contributing to conversations. Social media is designed for social interactions, so build relationships by commenting on people’s post and try to create personal bonds with them!
8. Learn the art of “twittiquette”
Thank people for:
- following you
- retweeting your posts (RTs)
- for mentioning your profile
Make sure to use RT (retweet) if you use someone else’s pos
Remember, you don’t have to follow everyone who follows you, and vice versa.
9. Choose a role model. Spend some time observing those whose twitting behavior appeals to you. What do they do that attracts you to their posts? Why do you follow them? Try to adapt their strategies to your personality and create your unique “twitter signature” behavior.
10. Be proactive about harassment. Yes, you can be harassed and “stalked” in virtual reality. In fact, the more successful you become, the more the chance you have for attracting negative people. You do not have to tolerate harassment. Go to www.twitter.com, find the name of the stalker, and block them (there is a link on the right side).
11. Offer FREE ebooks, reports and other information on Twitter. Instead of blatantly promoting your product, offer a free ebook or a cool report. These often get re-tweeted, and therefore more and more people will know of your business and your profile. You can link these reports to your website, and through them, generate more traffic.
12. Position yourself as an expert. Share any relevant and insightful websites / conference presentations / pictures with your followers and provide your opinion on the newest books, products or techniques.
13. Use direct messaging feature. If you have a private discussion with someone, use the direct messaging (DM) feature or use the @ symbol, so your conversations are not advertised to everyone (not to mention, it can get very annoying to read lines of unrelated text going back and forth)
14. Spread the love. Be generous in promoting others on your Twitter list. This creates a good flow of energy and your followers will often reciprocate in some way in the future. Have you seen a tweet including #FollowFriday (or #ff shortened) and a list of user names preceded by the @ symbol? This tradition was born spontaneously within the Twitter community to recommend your favorite tweets to your followers. You can use #FF feature to give kudos to others and promote them to your community.
15. Allocate time for your twitter updates. Create a non-negotiable time period to work on your twitter updates. Avoid spending hours reading and posting comments. Use Twitter, don’t let it use you.
For more information learn more:
Twitter terminology: http://mashable.com/2008/11/15/twitterspeak/
Tools for organizing your twitter community: http://mashable.com/2009/06/09/organize-twitter
How to create and use Twitter lists: http://theedublogger.com/2012/02/13/the-updated-twitteraholics-guide-to-tweets-hashtags-and-all-things-twitter/#lists
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