3 tools to help Twitter work for you
Using Twitter for business is a great way to widen your reach. You can chat and build relationships with people who would previously have been ‘untouchable’. For example, there are loads of CEOs and powerful people on Twitter. If you tried to make contact with them through regular channels you’d probably hit a brick wall in the shape of their impassable PAs.
But with Twitter you can follow anyone and they can follow you.
So what’s the best way to get started once you’ve set up your account?
Firstly, I would suggest not using the auto-follow feature. It’s important your Twitter stream is full of stuff that’s relevant to you and just because someone wants to follow you doesn’t mean you necessarily want to follow him or her. So when you get a new follower take a look at their profile and Twitter feed, if it looks interesting follow them back, if not don’t.
Secondly, you need to target who you follow and that means proactively going out there and finding the people you need in your Twitterverse.
How do you do that?
Tracking down people to follow
1. Know your audience
Think about who it is you want to see your tweets. Who are your customers and key influencers?
For example, if you run a catering company you may be looking for hotels, wedding planners, associations, party planners, clubs etc. So stage one would be to start Googling for potential followers.
Once you have a list of companies and their websites, check to see if they’re on Twitter, if they are, follow them.
Not everyone will follow you back, but some will.
Your Twitterverse is growing.
2. Using search tools
There are several tools out there that can help you find followers, but for this post I shall concentrate on 3.
The first is Twitter itself. Not the most refined way of finding followers, but you can search through suggestions of who to follow and browse categories (based on your current followers):
Next is Tweepz, all you have to do is enter a keyword into the search box and you’ll get a list of potential people to follow. Then all you need to do is drill down that list to find the most relevant people and companies and follow them.
Finally, the third tool is twtrland. Again, after entering a keyword into the search box a list of search results are returned. Then you can filter these results by type – celebrity, power user, casual and novice, location, gender and estimated age.
But unlike the other search tools, this one offers much more information. So on top of the usual bio and image, you’ll also get information on the number of tweets they send per day (average), content breakdown, retweets etc.
3. What do you do next?
Once you have your followers it’s time to start interacting with them.
Notice the use of the word ‘interaction’ there? That means no blatant sales pitches, no harping on about how great you are every 5 minutes and no incessant chatter about ‘we did this’ or ‘we did that’.
You have to ‘listen’ to what others are saying and start a conversation with them. If they ask a question, respond and help them if you can. Yes, you can also send out links to your own blogs because they may be useful and it will also help widen your readership, but it’s important to remember that Twitter is a two-way channel.
4. Be responsive
Twitter is a real time social platform that means when people interact with you they expect you to respond reasonably quickly.
Checking your Twitter stream once a week isn’t going to work. If you have a smartphone download the Twitter app so you can be notified of any interactions that come your way.
There’s nothing worse than tweeting someone and not hearing from them for several days, or worse never hearing from them.
If you’re going to use Twitter you have to be committed. Only through chatting, posting and responding will you see results. It is a great business tool if used right, so make sure you take the time to hone your Twitter skills and make it work for you.
Sally Ormond – Copywriter, blogger, tweeter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd