My fortunes with Twitter have been pretty good.
I have met two CEO's of companies that I would like to maybe partner with at some stage, and I have picked up many subscribers to my blog and newsletter just through the Twitter relationships. I don't think it is the revenue generator that LinkedIn is , but it is definitely a cornerstone element of any eMarketing strategy.
Fortunately I enjoy it also. Some things that have helped me.
1. Make it easier for you to post content
Twitterfeed is a great tool. It automatically checks your blog, or other RSS source, and then tweets the results. You can include the title and a summary, or just the title. Whatever you prefer. I have feeds set up for my blog, my newsletter, and I used to have it set up for my job board on a different account.
2. Make it interesting for other people to follow you
If all you do is broadcast stuff then your ability to make a connection will reduce dramatically. You aren't a TV channel, so don't just throw links to your blog.
Try to get a good blend of content, pithy comments, conversation, and external links. (Links to things that are not your blog) For example, I often throw links related to stuff I discover on the internet. Articles, cool sites, interesting web pages, and even the odd Wikipedia definition when it is really enlightening.
People seem to respond to this. If you just bomb them with links only, then the likelihood that they will click them, or engage with you on a personal level, is greatly reduced.
3. Track your results
If you don't have TweetDeck , then you should get it. I held off for a long time but once I finally downloaded it and installed it - well, it hasn't been turned off yet!
TweetDeck is cool because you can set up search parameters to see, say, who is re-tweeting your messages and which messages are likely to be re-tweeted. (And by whom)
You can also set up groups so you can, for example, create a group of Marketers. Or a group on engineering if thats your bag. Or, and this is the important one, a group of people who you have a good relationship with. People you are more likely to engage with regularly.. And people who are more likely to re-tweet your messages.
Remembering that I have nearly 1400 followers, so I really need to categorize or it would drive me crazy.
Another way to track your results is via link shortening sites. BudURL.com is the one that I use. I can shorten a URL, and then track how many people clicked on it. That is so useful!
I put these into my LinkedIn news groups, into Twitter, on my newsletters, and for links in my blogs. So I am able to see, categorically, which of my sources are driving the most traffic. It takes a little more work - but it helps you to sharpen the sword a lot more.
4. Be sincere and authentic
I wrote about this previously and think it is probably the most important issue related to Twitter use and social media in general.
People can recognize false sincerity a mile off. This is the early 21st century they see it all the time. People can recognize sycophancy when they see it, and in general they do not respond well to it.
And people can tell, pretty quickly, if you are trying to be something that you are not. The substance just isn't there and you end up looking the fool. So basic rule, be sincere and authentic.
For example. Twitter etiquette dictates that if someone follows you then it is courteous to follow them. (The Re-Follow Rule ) This is a disastrous strategy and one I have written about previously. It is neither sincere or authentic, just mindlessly following the crowd.
Also try to refrain from bombing people with free "gifts" when they start to follow you. Would you do this in person? And if you did what would you expect the other person to say? Again, neither sincere nor is it authentic. I don't like the practice anyway.
5. Have Fun
This is important. I have seen people sounding off about the whole Web 2.0 thing or the social media thing, bemoaning the need to "be online most or all of the time".
This isn't the case. I do spend a lot of time online and linked up, but I'm a little different to most people.
Social media is a complementary approach to your marketing, not a replacement approach . It is never going to replace marketing by walk about .
If it is a hassle for you to do it, then don't! Do something else.
For me consulting is all about relationships, all about people, and all about developing long term commercial connections with people. Becoming the trusted advisor. I see the social networking world as an extension of that. If you don't, maybe it is time to ask if this is really the game for you.
Enjoy, and if you want to follow me on Twitter be my guest... !