Insight, advice, news and chit chat

I run a design and marketing agency and a big part of what I do is teaching clients how to use social media. One of my favourites is Twitter, and it’s often the one people just don’t “get”.

But there is a reason why it’s my favourite. It’s the most open – has the most potential. People who are active on Twitter want interaction with other Twitter users. Unlike email – we like it when someone tweets to us.

However, there are some funny things about Twitter which take a bit of getting used to. Whenever I train people on Twitter I encourage an open mind – the first few days/weeks or months will be about learning the different types of tweets and the lingo – @replies and RTs and hashtags.

Ideally, if you are using Twitter for business you want to start meeting the type of people who with support and help you to grow your business in whatever way you are hoping to.

It’s not necessarily about sales but really if you find and get to know the right people you will meet the people who will buy your product or service.

So, I have put together a list of ways you can be a “little” bit strategic and targeted. I am not saying sales – oh no – this is basically about being targeted with who you follow and interact with.

Before you start following people – ask:

  1. Would they be the type of person who would recommend my business?
  2. Are they using Twitter actively? That means regularly, with the full variety of different types of tweets.

If you have the “what to tweet” and “how to tweet” bit sorted – then check our these little tips on how to find people to follow.

  1. Follow the people who follow the brands you think they would like. For example I had one client who’s main client was men in their 30s to 40s and who worked in media, PR, property and law. This was a varied brief – but Twitter is quick and free so we went onto the Shortlist Magazine twitter followers and followed all the people who seemed to be using Twitter properly. Now she has a whole load of followers who fit into her target demographic, and she regularly talks to them on Twitter.
  2. Follow back people who mention or RT you. – If they are your followers and have made a point to retweet one of your tweets then show your gratitude!
  3. Surf those hashtags. If you know that the people you want following you or who you want to talk to are interested in certain topics or events, search for specific hashtags, and see what you come up with. You will get an isolated view of Twitter people who have that common interest. From there, you will likely see other hashtags about similar/related topics,and from those you will be able to check out.
  4. Search for Twitter management tools. There are lots of tools out there that help you manage your followers, unfollow inactive users, review follower stats, etc – so you can learn from the data. I really like Manage Flitter (for managing followers) and Tweriod (for finding out when most of your followers are online)
  5. Check Twitter lists and follow the people who someone else has listed
  6. Notice when people who you follow already talk to other people, and follow the people they talk to a lot – and @reply them both – sometimes together – in this way you are jumping in on their conversation and talking to them both – it’s like you are joining a conversation between two people at a party – and on Twitter – it’s allowed! The point of Twitter is to talk to each other.
  7. Look at Follow Friday or the hashtag #FF on Fridays – this is when people recommend others to follow – on a Friday – if someone who you follow and you like recommends someone – follow them and then send them both an “@reply” say that you are following them based non their recommendation. The new person who you are following will be happy with the person who #FF’d them – because it worked! And the original follower will be happy – because you took their recommendation. Double happiness!
  8. RT compliments (if you agree). Retweet anyone who has complimented someone else and you also know when you agree with the compliment, this again spreads the Twitter joy and makes the people who you have chosen to follow appreciate you just a little bit more!
  9. Use the RT button wisely. The easy to click Retweet button repeats the tweet to your followers – but using it means you don’t have your picure or Twitter name prominent anymore, you in essence give that up to the person you are RTing. If you use this, do it for RTing the tweets where people are being nice about you. Otherwise, when sharing tweets about interesting links/other people, use the RT and then the space type of retweet.

Hopefully these tips will help you to build your own little Twitter community of folks you can get to know better on Twitter!

I am not a Twitter snob – really – but there are some people who have been using Twitter and think that it’s just a matter of tweeting random musings and links to their own website – or feeding from their Facebook status updates! That’s definitely not the idea.

Those people haven’t gotten the point of Twitter yet. Really there is no point following someone if they don’t know how to use Twitter properly – unless you know them in real life and are planning to gently help them along the way. That’s why I never follow “eggs” (see point 7 below)

Here are the 7 things to look out for

  1. Have they filled out their bio? You get 160 characters to do so – and it’s often the first impression. If someone doesn’t fill this out then they aren’t giving you much information about themselves as a framework.
  2. Look for @replies on their page. If they haven’t got any all the way down their Twitter stream – eg they havent talked to anyone on Twitter for days – perhaps they don’t know how to use this all important feature of Twitter – to talk to other people!
  3. How long has it been since their last Tweet? And how often are they Tweeting? If they only tweet once every few days – well – we all know Twitter isnt an “occasional habit”!
  4. Look for how they tweet links – do they shorten their urls? Twitter does cut off the links on long URLs but using a shortener is neater. My favourite is – which has the added bonus of useful stats so you can see which of your shared links got more or fewer clicks, at different times of the say.
  5. Are they RTing? Do they use both types of RT – the old fashioned way (best for sharing other peoples link shares) and the new “Twitter Retweet” button way (best for sharing the nice things people say about you on Twitter)? RTing shows that they are watching other people’s tweets and sharing them!
  6. Do they use hashtags? Does it seem like they know what they are for? Hashtags shouldn’t be overused on every word, but to add meaning or a topic to a tweet.
  7. What Twitter “avatar” or profile picture do they have? A close up of their face is best – but you may find they have a full length shot – this isn’t great as it only shows up as a thumbnail. So if they have a full length shot then they need to redo their Twitter avatar. And if they are an EGG (ie the default picture) – well – don’t bother! Or if you know them and they are nice you can do them a favour and say “don’t be an egg!”

You can of course point them to this blog if you want to – as a way of giving them a little bit of guidance! If there is anything else which makes you decide NOT to follow someone – or if there are any points above that strike a chord – please comment below!