I’m around creative types a lot. Artists, Authors, Speakers etc… and they are all trying their hand a twitter. It’s fun to see some of them really get it, but it pains me to watch others get frustrated with it and not get how to use it well.
There are several posts out there talking about what effective twitter strategy looks like and I think one of the best is from Chris Brogan (80/20 Principle). But as I read through some of these posts and teach people who to be better social networkers, there are two tips that really stick out to me as being the most important.
1. Pay Attention To Your Mentions. Practically speaking this is easy to do. If you have a smart phone (iPhone,Android,Blackberry,etc) then there are apps that will have a Mention column or @reply column. Set it up as the 2nd most important column you look at. The 1st being the people or lists that want to follow. There are desktop apps for this as well. I use Hootsuite on my mac and on my iPhone. It’s seamless.
Take a look at your mentions. If people are responding to your tweets, then reply back to them. You don’t have to reply back to all of them or spend all day replying back to them. Just reply back to the ones you feel like responding to. There’s no right or wrong way to do this, but not replying is not engaging and well… that is just wrong on twitter. I can’t always get to my reply’s when I would like but I do what I can, when I can.
People who reply to you are inviting small conversation. Not long drawn out conversation. If you are a celebrity who keeps your fans at an arms length, it’s ok. You can still reach out to them on twitter and not upset the apple cart. Saying thanks to a specific person on twitter is great start if they throw you a compliment or some encouragement.
I’m sure there are some people on twitter who get so many reply’s that it’s impossible to reply back to everyone. That’s ok. Just do what feels comfortable.
The challenge for us all is to set our own boundaries as to how much we reply back to people. Since I changed how I use twitter, my experience has been much more enjoyable. Celebrities… You aren’t opening a can of worms here. You can close the can whenever you want. But I guarantee, if you start having some conversations with your followers, your credibility online will grow exponentially. We are in a day when social networking can make or brake you, which means your online credibility is real currency.
2. Retweet others. I think retweeting others is just about the nicest thing you can do on twitter. It says that you are paying attention to others and that you are willing to share info with your friends from people you follow. It’s that simple… and it’s giving.
If you send out a message you feel like others will retweet, make sure you leave us all some room. You should leave about 24 characters open so we can retweet your whole message without the message getting cut off. It’s frustrating to only see half a link. Know what I mean?
Listen… these two points do something very important. They take the focus off of us and put it on engaging with others. Engaging with others helps build trust and shows a little more transparency. These have become two of the greatest allies in building a fan base or customer base… or just building friends online.
You aren’t engaging anyone or building anything if you have a constant stream of marketing messages and are giving us a monologue. Apply the top points above and this will decrease over time.
Just remember… Twitter is a great marketing vehicle but it’s the conversation that drives the engine.
If you would like high profile examples, then take a look at the twitter streams of Pink (@pink), Ben Stiller (@redhourben) Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe). All high profile in their own right and they are just a few of the great examples of people engaging others online. I use these examples to show that you can be a super star and still safely connect with people online.
How has replying to others and retweeting affected your time on twitter?Google+