I’ve been using Twitter for more than three years, and I’ve tweeted tens of thousands of times from dozens of accounts. If that makes me an expert, than I guess I am. I prefer to think of myself as someone who enjoys Twitter and likes helping others discover its value.
I often meet people who don’t understand the value of Twitter. They have trouble adjusting to the 140-character format and seem mystified by hashtags and abbreviations.
Or, they’re using Twitter and tired of the noise and bots, the self-promotion people send out in an endless loop.
The good news is that many avatars represent real people. Many tweets are sent in real time, and not via automation. Being real and human is an important way to differentiate yourself on Twitter.
Here’s how to stand out from the crowd on Twitter.
Focus on others. When you focus more on giving to and promoting others than you do on promoting yourself, you can stand out. There is no magic ratio I can recommend of tweets about others versus tweets promoting your content. Take some time every day to turn your focus away from your goals and look for ways to promote others.
Connect intentionally. When you connect intentionally with others, you can stand out. Use lists to home in on people you’d like to relate to regularly. Then show up every day and look for ways to build relationships with them.
Ask questions. Ask real questions. Ask because you’re curious and want to learn. Ask because you want to know the answer. Ask because you’d like to start a conversation. When you ask questions and stick around for an authentic conversation, you can stand out.
Add value by sharing pure content (not links). While it can be tempting to use content-rich tweets as a way to pitch a link to your blog post or website, you can stand out when you send tweets with pure content, no strings (or links) attached. When you are thoughtful in composing tweets, seeking to add value, you can get people’s attention.
You can stand out by avoiding the wishful belief that Twitter is a magic tool or quick fix. Twitter will not make you suddenly rich or famous. You will not become an overnight sensation, and your content will not immediately become viral. Sending a steady stream of self-promotional tweets will not guarantee sales of your book or product.
The value of Twitter will be evident as you seek to give value and encourage others — when you differentiate yourself by showing up to make a difference.
Would you like to learn to use Twitter more effectively? This post was adapted from my “31 Days of Twitter Tips,” an e-book that contains 31 ideas on how to differentiate yourself on Twitter. Get the e-book for free from 12 Minute Media through August.