I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a Twitter newbie. I wasn’t working at SmartBrief two years ago when Twitter first made a splash, nor was I truly dialed in six months ago when Twitter became a household name. Like many others, I’d been watching from afar, and had trouble grasping how Twitter could possibly help our business.
Just a few months ago, I decided to dip SmartBrief’s big toe in the water. A corporate account was set up, and using TwitterFeed, we automated some headline feeds twice a day. Results were hardly sensational, but a few folks started to “follow” and my interest was piqued.
After a bunch more reading, I decided to set up a personal account and join the community as myself, RobBirgfeld, rather than SmartBrief, Inc. What a difference that change made. That’s when things started to hum.
For those of you who are starting from scratch, here are a few quick tips to get you started:
- Be yourself – even the most successful, big brand accounts (@comcastcares, @southwest) have a personal touch. A real headshot is appreciated, and tweets peppered with personal snippets go a long way. What song is in your head right now? How did your favorite team play last night? Make yourself human, and others will respond.
- Engage in discussion – Twitter is a community, which means it’s not a one-way discussion. Answer questions posed to the community, respond to comments, and most importantly, “retweet” interesting tweets. Twitter is a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” environment, so make sure you’re willing to give to your followers—not just receive.
- Respond to everyone—If you’re not a Twitter superstar, don’t pretend to be one. If someone sends you a message or responds to a “tweet”, respond back—whoever they are. You never know, today’s newbie could be next week’s sensation.
- Don’t just shoot for the big guns – Sure, a response from @ChrisBrogan will do you wonders—but it’s not realistic. Connect with Twitterers with smaller followings. They will listen, respond, and help you grow at a solid pace. Oftentimes, those who are not overly consumed with Twitter are significant elsewhere (Blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.), and your communication may pay off in the long run.
- Search, search, search— search.twitter.com is perhaps the most useful tool out there. Find out who’s talking about you or your product right now, and take the chance to contact them and respond personally. If it’s good, they will love to hear from you. If it’s not, they will appreciate your response. Either way, you have a chance to join the conversation.
So get your account, upload your picture, download some apps (twhirl, TweetDeck, TwitterBerry) to help you get a feel and start poking around. If you’re honest, the community will accept you…and results should follow.
Rob Birgfeld is Director of Audience Development at SmartBrief – and can be found on Twitter @robbirgfeld