twitter, how to use twitter, robin

Twitter 101

Everywhere you go now people are talking about twitter. It's taken the internet and the world by storm, and why not? It's fast, free, easy to use by almost anyone, and somebody's always there! That makes it perfect for just about anyone. I think that this is the connection tool that our "Brave New one-World" has been needing.

I think twitter is a totally fantastic use of the Hungry Entrepreneur's time. Why? First and mainly, to connect with other people. (Also known as schmoozing or networking.)

For me, helps me stay connected with other people while I'm working at home. It's that old 'water-cooler' thing you've probably already heard mentioned before. Cliche, but true!

Do yourself a favor and sign up for twitter now. Now! I'll still be here when you get back. You may have some of the same questions I had at first. I've found answers to some of my questions... and maybe your questions too.

Where Is Everyone?

First of all, where's the people? That's what I wondered too. I'm used to being on eBay or Facebook, where it's easier to wander around and find other people.

Well, on twitter, you click where you see 'find people' on the tool bar near the upper right corner. That takes you to a page where you can search by name or subject. You can type in different things that interest you, like fishing, video games, or anything else you like.

If you want to randomly look at people to follow, click on 'suggested users' on that same page. That gives you access to all kinds of people. At first, just scroll down, and choose a few people to follow. You'll recognize some of the names.

Choose anybody you want to. Don't worry about too much now, because it's not forever! You can 'unfollow' anybody later if you want to. But just by following some people, your name will be at the top of their follower list, and you'll probably get added to someone else's follow lists 'just because'.

Who's That?

When you have a few people following you, you'll think to wonder, "Who is that person following me? And how in the world did he/she find me?"

Well, do you know about 'keywords'? Those are the words or phrases you put into the search box when you're on a search engine or other site... the words you use to say what you're looking for. You probably used a word in a “tweet” or your “bio” (about you) that was searched by somebody, and that's how you got found.

I did an experiment when I first joined. One day I'd mention network marketing. Sure enough, I was followed by fellow MLM'ers. The next day I'd say something about chickens. Again, bingo. Fellow flock tenders would find me. Mentioning knitting or eBay would bring similar results. Still haven't figured out the hookers tho. I'm sure I never mentioned... never mind!

Did You Follow All Of Them?

I don't have a ton of followers, but the number is getting bigger every day. I'm okay with that. Since I've relaxed a bit, I've have become a little more picky about who I follow back. How do I choose who to follow? I ask myself a few questions when I look at their posts...

  • Are they interesting? I'm not a snob, and I give people the benefit of the doubt a lot cause I'm probably dull sometimes too.
  • Do they talk to people or at people? What seems to be their point for being on twitter? I don't usually follow companies or people that only promote their stuff. I may be missing out on some fun or profitable relationships. But it's usually like having a conversation with a phone-book ad. I don't do that either.
  • Famous people with zillions of followers are not really there to connect with anybody. Especially little old me! Of course there's probably exceptions but I'd need to be convinced. Anyway, I only follow three famous people. One only talks (no follows), but he's worth listening to. The other two are genuinely funny, or at least they've hired someone interesting to 'tweet' for them. I'm not a groupie online or off. And I'm not impressed with numbers.

That brings up another thing. You'll see a lot of people pushing systems to get a lot of followers quickly. Well, guess what? Yep, not free. You have to pay for that priviledge. Your choice of course, but I decided to take my time finding and being found by people. That way I could take time to watch and learn.

After you've been there for awhile, you'll probably wonder how to listen to so many people. Everybody's talking and it's just like a roaring river of noise. There's a ton of tools (apps) available to choose from that can help organize your twitter time. There's tools to gain or lose followers, tools to sort them into groups, even a tool to schedule tweets (that's a tweeter-cheater, I think. JMHO.) To find the tools, you can google “twitter apps”.

Why Are You On Twitter?

That's a question you'll hear a lot on blog posts about twitter. You're asked what you plan to contribute. I'm on twitter for several reasons. I'm learning internet marketing, trying to meet some new friends online, looking for people that share my interests, and planning to drive traffic to my website, not always in that order.

"What's my strategy?" is another question you might read. I thought, "What, I need a strategy? Well, tough luck."

Right now, I'm taking my time, lurking and learning. I'm meeting people, watching to see how twitter really works. And I'm having fun!

About three or four times a day, I let myself log-in and see who else is on. Some people say the same thing over and over... talking at people. And some folks are having conversations with people. Huge difference.

You notice that I said “I let myself log on”. It's a time-sucker. Get on for 15 minutes and then, before you know it, 2 hours are gone. So I try to really watch the clock so I don't waste time. I do other things during the day, and hope that makes me more interesting to others.

Be Social...

Your page can and should be personalized by you. That means add a picture, fill out the biography, say where you are located. This makes you real. And none of this is hard to do. If I can figure it out, so can you!

I try to comment or have conversations with people when I have something to say. Yeah, I've been called taciturn but that's okay with me.

What are you gonna say? Answering the "what are you doing?" prompt is just the beginning. Actually, it's probably kind of boring if used too often as a prompt. Unless you're an incredibly interesting person that's always doing incredibly interesting things.

I saw a formula once that some guy was using to keep his tweets fresh. He mixed information, personal stuff, quotes, re-tweeting and marketing all day long. All the while trying to have conversations with others. That guy was probably very successful on twitter because he was “real” to people... a human and not a spam-bot.

Observe your followers and the people you follow, and see what I mean. If you start off a little slow, and take time to observe what's working, you'll be ahead in the long run.

Don't Over-promote Yourself.

If you're on twitter to promote your business... hold it right there! This is a touchy subject, and if you do it wrong, you'll find it can backfire.

Our 'brave new world' needs a new way of thinking about marketing. I've heard it called 'attraction marketing' by one "guru" I listen to. Or relationship marketing. It's building trust before pitching a message or product. Hard to describe, but you'll know right away if you see it done wrong.

All day long, you'll be followed by folks that only say one thing. Pitch, pitch, pitch. Blah, blah, blah. Maybe it works for them, I don't know. But when I'm followed by someone, I always click their name to see what they've been talking about before I follow back. And I stopped following people back that never have conversations with anybody else a few weeks ago.

Enjoy Twitter!

Oh, yeah... remember that everything you say is public- anybody can see it. So don't say anything you might regret. If you want to have a personal conversation with somebody you can send them a “person to person” DM, or direct message.

Don't forget to let people know that you're on twitter and would love to see them there. Hope to see you there too! To find me on twitter, I'm @SandraOrmandy.

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