Twitter for Business Guides – Part 1: The Basics
Finding and Managing People
Twitter can be a fantastic tool for your business, but it all boils down to how well (and how often) you use it.
It’s like moving into a new neighborhood. If you peep out the window with a pair of binoculars and watch everyone, you may know what is going on with your neighbors in microscopic detail, but you’re a ghost. You’re invisible. No one knows you exist.
If you get out there, however, and comment on your next door neighbor’s roses, say hello to those you pass when out for your daily jog, you’ll soon meet jogging partners and be swapping plant cuttings. Next thing, you’re being invited to barbecues, your kids are playing with the kids across the road – and you’re fully involved in the community.
That’s what you need to do on Twitter too. Find out when all the other neighbors are outside. Be out there. Get involved. And do so, on a regular, daily basis.
In the meantime, to make sure you are well-introduced, let’s look at eleven methods for finding valuable “neighbors…
1. Check for Twitter Alerts
Twitter itself will tell you if you’ve missed an avenue for connection. Next time you log in, you’ll see “suggestions” just under your header.
(Example: You’re likely to see this particular message if you skipped searching through your email contacts. If you click “Search contacts”, it will ask you to sign into your Gmail account.)
2. Check for New “Followers” Daily
Every time you log into Twitter, get into the habit of glancing at your Followers tab. If the total has grown, click on it straight away to see who your new followers are.
If they look like people you would want to be neighbors with (i.e. their interests seem to be aligned to yours), go ahead and follow them back.
The importance of checking each new follower out:
Just click on a new follower’s profile photo and viewing his or her “full profile”: It will quickly become apparent that some new followers have no interest in you or your niche but are after quick numbers.
Never follow blindly back. Followers like the one blurred out above can look harmless but will only detract from the quality of your list – and the SEO/authority value of your tweets. No matter how pleasant or innocuous their initial tweet, check: You may discover they use headers or backgrounds (or post photos and include links) that are in complete opposition to your values or interests.
Even if the background is seemingly innocent, do your due diligence in checking out potential followers. And in spite of the harmless “tweet” that appeared in our sample Twitter Timeline, there were no actual tweets at all in this new follower’s feed.
In fact, the prominent, clickable link on “her” header led straight to an explicit porn site.
You can report or block spammers like this. Most of the time a follower turns out to be spammy, simply blocking them will suffice. (If you “report” too many people, insider rumor seems to suggest that Twitter may hold it against you.) But do report anyone who violates Twitter’s own definitions or who seems to really cross the line.
To report: Click on the little person-arrow icon beside their “Follow” button and check “Report” from the drop-down menu. (It will automatically block the offender too.)
Ignoring new followers means that spammy or offensive contacts may remain on your Followers list – and your Twitter power will suffer accordingly.
Always check them out!
3. Use your @Connect Button.
But what do you do when your new “Followers” numbers grow too large, and you simply can’t tell if you’ve gained new followers or not?
Click on your @Connect button to instantly see who has:
- Interacted with you (that includes new follows)\
- Mentioned you
4. Reply and Acknowledge All Mentions
If someone has mentioned you (e.g. “#BarnOwlPottery, that was a great tip about keeping clay damp”), here’s your perfect chance to acknowledge and reply – which is possibly your most important Twitter-growing strategy.
People appreciate personal notice – particularly if they’ve responded to a tweet of yours in the first place.
And, face it, Twitter is littered with people who don’t bother to acknowledge those who retweet and respond. Your interactive habits will certainly stand out! Plus people who check out your profile when you’ve just “followed” them will see that you are a friendly person who engages… and they will be more likely to follow you back. (In other words, they won’t be wasting their time on you.)
Besides, it’s more fun when you chat to everyone at the barbecue. You don’t want to make anyone feel he or she is sitting, ignored, in a corner (particularly when they brought the Smores).
5. Check In with Those You Are Following
And speaking of responding, do remember to check out the “Following” button as well, every time you log on.
See what those you follow are up to – and respond to their tweets, if any resonate with you.
Never, ever respond just for the sake of being noticed. If there’s a link, check it out and – if you feel strongly enough about what you’ve just read, heard or seen – reference a specific detail from the link destination (i.e. article or video).
It’s all about bringing value to the conversation.