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Using Twitter Effectively

After my big rant about Social Media this week, I found it funny that the question in line for this week's Expert Briefs was…

“What's your #1 tip for using Twitter effectively in your online business?”

Like I said in my post “Problems of Social Media for Small Business“, social media is a great tool, but it must be handled carefully.

If you're not careful, Twitter can easily become a time drain. Despite the fact that you're  BUSY all day, you may not be productive as you think when it comes to increasing profits for your business. So, if you're marketing with Twitter, I want you to do it without getting caught up in the Time Vortex that surrounds the Twitterverse. 🙂

I asked several of my friends to share their best tips for using Twitter Effectively in their online businesses. I hope it gives you some ideas.


Bob Jenkins of BobtheTeacher.com says:

The #1 challenge in using Twitter is not getting sucked into the time-warp of social media. You login just to check for replies and direct messages, and 3 hours later you haven't accomplished anything else that day!

So my top tip for Twittering effectively for business is to use TweetDeck – the free software that helps you manage tweets and followers very efficiently.

After installing the software from TweetDeck.com, you'll want to set up “columns” that are most appropriate for you. Personally, my first column is Mentions, then Direct Messages. Next I have my mastermind team in a special list, another column for my top customers in a list. I have a search for the keywords that I'm focused on at that moment. In the next column is the list for people I just met or will meet soon at a live event.

I usually don't even have an All Friends tab anymore. I may miss some random genius, but using Tweet Deck this way really gives me the ability to stay focused on just the people and topics that are at the top of my radar each week.

Follow Bob @BobtheTeacher


Tawnya Sutherland of VAnetworking.com says:

I (@VAnetworking) can't always be on Twitter 24/7 even though my followers would like me to be so they'd get more Virtual Assistant tips and outsourcing resources around the clock. To compensate for my absence, I use Hootsuite to automate 2-4 tweets per day to my followers sporadically spaced throughout 24 hours at times I know I won't be online.

Typically these tweets will include an outsourcing or VA tip, 1-2 tweets sharing a relevant free resource for my peeps and then 2 tweets about products I sell or I am promoting. I also automate all RSS feeds on my blog posts to tweet out too.

That leaves me with the rest of the day to enjoy Twitter for what it is, a social network for me to tweet about whatever I'm doing at the moment. I've found automating the business side leaves me only left with the fun part to do…networking and getting to know my peeps! I don't have to worry about business and can get more personal on Twitter which lets my followers get to know ME better so they can form a trusting connection with me.


And, here's my 2 cents.

 

Nicole Dean of .. here! .. says:

It's hard to pick just ONE tip. I have so many ideas. In fact, I have an entire lesson at OutsourceWeekly.com about this very topic.

ok. Best tip. I would have to agree with Tawnya and say to automate as many parts of Twitter that you can – without, of course, losing the personal touch of Twitter.

1. Automate Followers/Friends.

For instance, I've been using a tool that automatically follows the people who follow me, as long as they meet certain criteria. It also helps me to find people to follow who are my target customer. I don't spend any time approving new friends, nor have I in months. This allows me to manage my followers/friends without having to do any work beyond entering the original settings in the program. But, more importantly, before I got this tool, when I was manually approving friends – I'd get distracted. Now, it's handled behind the scenes and I'm oblivious to the work being done.

2. Auto-Tweet your Blog Posts.

To take the automation a step further, I also automatically send my blog posts to my Twitter stream, which pulls them into my Facebook stream through Twitter. This allows me to update my Twitter feed with my blog updates without having to remember to do it myself. Sure it would only take a few seconds to do it manually, but why do something a computer can do just as well?

Example of an Auto-Tweet from my Blog:

New : Expert Briefs: How to Make Working from Home More Fun http://www.nicoleonthenet.com/5164/how-to-make-working-from-home-more-fun/

3. Auto-Tweet through Aweber.

I do the same with a few of my mailing lists, too. I publish my Aweber broadcasts to Twitter the same time it goes to the members of my list.

Example of an Auto-Tweet through Aweber:

EasyPLR: New PLR Articles and Reports. http://aweber.com/b/mHZC

4. Spend time wisely when you are on Twitter.

I don't use any fancy tools for managing the “noise” of Twitter or for communicating effectively with my friends. I spend my time mostly on my “Replies” page, and reply to those who're talking about me. They, obviously, are my #1 priority. If those people care enough about me that they're talking TO me and ABOUT me – that's my best time investment. Second to that, I pop around a bit to see what some of my favorite people are doing.

I normally don't spend more than about 1-5 minutes at a time on Twitter. I drop by several times during the day, see what's new, and hop back out. But, I don't allow Twitter to interrupt my Action List for the day, nor to distract me from the things that directly make me money. The only exception is if I'm sitting somewhere waiting for a doc appt or waiting for the kids while they're in guitar lessons and I have my cell phone (and no good book to read or audio to listen to). In that case, I might poke around a bit more.

Throw your “How to Use Twitter More Effectively” ideas at me. I want them!

Warmly,
Nicole Dean – (@NicoleDean)

I adore comments! Please share your thoughts.

  • Karla Telega
    Reply

    Thanks for the great suggestions. I’m new to Twitter and only following 40 people – already I’m spending far too much time. Bob’s lists sound like a great place to start.

  • Rhonda
    Reply

    I’m certainly no expert at Twitter, but enjoy the fact that it requires very little time to interact and connect with others online.

    Since there are people constantly following and unfollowing, I like to keep a good ratio on my own Twitter account. I use http://www.justunfollow.com to quickly unfollow those who are no longer following me.

  • Mark
    Reply

    Hey Nicole:
    Thanks you for the information. This twitter and facebook stuff is all new to me. I’m trying to learn and thanks for your HELP!

  • Susanne Myers
    Reply

    Great tips. My strategy is very similar to yours Nicole. I love some of the autotweet features, but make sure I also tweet plenty of interesting stuff myself in between. One thing I enjoy is sharing links to interesting articles and blog posts as I come across them. Not only is it good content for my followers, it’s also resulted in a few people contacting me to chat more after I tweeted their link.

    One of my favorite ways to build followers is to fill out the little twitter form when posting blog comments on yours and other blogs. Is it a plugin?

  • Heidi McCarthy
    Reply

    Great tips, Nicole. Thanks! I am one of the people who jumped into Twitter and didn’t really understand it. Overwhelm soon became the word of the day. I see that by trial and error I’m doing a few things ‘right’, but there is much more here that will help. Thanks!

  • Andre Arnett
    Reply

    I think that it is good to let people know that Twitter is an excellent tool to stay in touch and to share but it can be very time consuming and oh so addictive. I try to limit my time to about 10-15 minutes twice a day. But if I get caught up…

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