Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Business Twitter Primer

You might have heard about Twitter lately.  It seems the world has been, if you'll pardon the obvious pun, all a-twitter about it.  But what if you're one of those who's never seen it or never tried it.  How do people know what it is in the first place?

It's kind of difficult to explain Twitter.  If you think of it as primarily a place where you can find and interact with the audience you're trying to build for your website business, it'll be a little easier to understand.  It's one of a number of sites that are referred to as "Social Networking" sites.  These allow you to find and communiciate with your audience.

You'll go to the Twitter site and sign up.  You'll spend a little time checking out some of the people that are already on there, and reading the short messages they're posting.  You'll sort out who's a part of your target audience.  Then you'll start joining in the ongoing conversation that these people are having, drawing them to your website in the process.

On Twitter, people post short messages about things they're doing and things they find on the 'net.  You'll want to read messages from people that are talking about your niche, and you'll want people interested in your niche reading what you have to say.  On Twitter, you read the messages of other people that you've chosen by "following" them.  Other people who read your messages are "following" you. This kind of interactivity is what social networking is all about.

It's much easier to experience it than it is to explain it  Let's jump in, shall we?

  • Step 1: Sign up

The first thing to do is simply to go to and sign up for a new account.  It only takes a quick minute.  You'll fill in some basic information, and you'll be ready to go.  It will offer you the chance to choose to follow some famous people, and to find some of your current friends to follow.  This can be fun, but I'd recommend that you not do that yet, because these people won't necessarily be a part of your web business' audience. 

  • Step 2: Find some other twitterers

Do a search for your site's keywords and read the messages (called "tweets") that other people are posting.  You can click on the avatar or icon of the person right next to their post and visit their profile page.  Read their other tweets, and their bios.  Click to their websites.  It doesn't take much to discover what they're interested in.

  • Step 3: "Follow" them

If it's clear that the person your looking at is a part of your website business' audience, then you can click the small button toward the top that says "Follow".  This means two things:  One, every time this person posts a tweet, it will appear on your twitter home page and you can read it.  Two, this person will get a notice via email that you're now following them.  Chances are, they'll at least check out your twitter profile page.  They might even check out your website.  It's very likely that this person will follow you back.  That means that whenever you post a message, they'll get it.

  • Step 4: Begin "Tweeting"

The last step in this beginning primer is to start posting tweets of your own.  You can post about things at your website, like a new product line, or a new article of content.  You can post about a new blog entry at your blog. 

You can also do what I call "resource tweeting".  That means you find a good article or resource on the 'net, and you tweet about it.  Sharing this kind of information builds your own reputation, even if people know the article wasn't one you write.  You're seen as someone who's active in the community, spreading good information and help around.  You should post at least two resource tweets for every time you tweet about your own website.

Then, you keep doing this same process.  Find more people interested in your topic.  Follow them.  Get more information into your own tweets.  Read the tweets of others.  Before long, your follower list is growing, and you're interacting with your community.  You find you're understanding social networking better.  You get more traffic and a better search engine ranking.

And that makes your business grow!

Mark is currently in the curriculum Department of an internet and SEO training company. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including Mark's Black Pot - Dutch Oven Recipes, and his MoBoy blog.

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