‘Tweet’ your way to success

01 Jul 09

Following Facebook, Bebo and MySpace, the next generation in online communication that everyone is  ‘tweeting’ about is Twitter. From British comedian Stephen Fry to major corporations, everyone is using  it, having quickly learned its value in promoting their businesses. If you are interested in doing the same, read on.

There’s an art to using that limited, 140-character space – the length of a text message – to grab your readers’  attention. Rather than merely employing a direct call to action, incorporating a link to your latest product or  service is morelikely to elicit further involvement.

Promotional giveaways and valueadded propositions are a great way to reward your ‘followers’ and attract  new customers. Each time a new follower comes on board, send them an appreciative reply, a link to your  website, and something that they will value: for example, a discounted service or a free trial of your product.

Keywords are integral to building a Twitter following. So that potential customers can fi nd you on Twitter (and you can fi nd them), devise a list of keywords that covers your business or service.

People looking for information use the Twitter search to find relevant posts. Regularly integrating your keywords into your tweets will build your online presence in your field and make it easier for you attract the  right interest. Building a following is how success is defi ned on Twitter. Create and maintain relationships by  continuing to add, as well as to follow, people who you believe would be interested in your business. Monitor  your following-to-followers ratio and aim to keep them balanced. If you follow 100 users, for example, and only one is following you, you may be viewed as a spammer.

The more Twitter followers you have, the more infl uence you gain and the more networking opportunities you  can create. The simplest way to add followers is to use the search engine to find posts by other users with  similar keywords. Find the most influential people in your field and follow them – if they in turn follow you, it’s likely some of their followers will also come along.

Keeping a close eye on what others are tweeting about in your field helps you to stay one step ahead of the  competition. Asking and answering questions not only grows your number of followers, but can establish you  as an ‘expert’. Providing people with useful and helpful information that’s also related to your core business  will build relationships which may translate into sales further down the track. It’s also worth keeping an eye on  people with over 300 followers to see how those who have mastered Twitter are making it work for them.

Finally, incorporate Twitter into your existing communications. Add your Twitter feed to your website as well  as your other social media profiles. Invite people to join you on Twitter by adding a link to your email  signature, or even mention it on your business card. Make it worthwhile for people to follow you; share what  your business is doing, but avoid the hard sell. Ask questions and post answers to establish a presence in your  particular field, and make sure you tweet regularly to keep up with current developments and new trends.

Chris Pescott, Managing Director of Perceptive, is an internationally recognised researcher, passionate  about helping companies harness the power of research. He recently tested the power of Twitter on his own  business, building a following of 100 users and increasing website traffi c by six percent in one week.  Outside Twitter, Chris has established a network of more than 100 clients in New Zealand, Australia and  Hong Kong.
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