Twitter in Ten Minutes a Day!

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on September 26, 2010 in: Tips in 10, Twitter Tips & Tools

I am assuming that most of my readers know what Twitter is. If not, take a look at a recent article I wrote for Fox News on using Twitter for Business Outreach.

Some people will tell you that Twitter is all about engaging people, but let’s be honest: The end goal is to have people paying attention to you. Sure, some people use Twitter to chat with friends and family but that is not the only reason to use it. Typically you want to connect with others, network in a virtual fashion, tell your audience about your life or your business. The question is: Are they listening?

You can talk all day long. I remember seminars in college where a professor would talk for 3 hours but half of us were not listening. As a matter of fact, I began to take seminars early in the morning just so I could sleep through them (Sorry Dr. Higgins!). So, your audience has to pay attention to you. That is where the engagement comes in. If you engage with your audience they will pay attention. Again, using the college example, a roundtable discussion was far more engaging and proactive than any seminar in a dark room with 300 people in theater-like seating.

When I tell my clients or colleagues the importance of engagement, they say: “Okay, but I don’t have time to do all this chatting over on Twitter.” I will show you how to steadily gain an audience that is paying attention… while only taking ten minutes of your day.

Here are a three basic things you have to do to get started so that you can use my Twitter in Ten techniques.

1. Sign Up for Twitter and import your address book from services such as Gmail or Hotmail and see if any of your colleagues use Twitter.

2. Get a Twitter Client. That is a software that helps you Tweet. There are several and Twitter themselves link to the most reliable ones. I use TweetDeck on my PC, Blackberry’s Official Twitter App on my Blackberry (http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/8160), and Hootsuite (www.hootsuite) for my team. These programs will help you stay organized and use Twitter in a more effective fashion as you get used to it and get more comfortable with it.

3. Register yourself on Twellow.com (Twitter Yellow Pages)

Now you are ready to begin. Below are the steps you can take for Twitter in Ten Minutes:

1. Start finding people to ‘tweet’ with. (Hopefully you have already imported your address book from services like Gmail to see if any of your colleagues use Twitter.) Then find strangers! I like Twellow.com; it is like Yellow Pages by Twitter. Look for people in your industry; look for people in your general “atmosphere”. For example, I work in the Virtual Industry providing coaching, consulting, and third party virtual administration services. So I could go to Twellow, look under Management, then Consultants and there are over 22,000 people on Twitter in that category. Whoa! Don’t add all 22,000 but look at 10 profiles a day and if they seem interesting… follow them.

2. Check your Twitter account like you do your email.

a. Go to your Direct Messages Section and see if anyone has sent you direct messages (private tweets). Don’t be overwhelmed, there are a lot of autobots out there that “auto-message” you when you follow them. You can ignore those if you want. See if anyone messaged you directly and if it seems personal (i.e., they used your name or said something about your profile), message them back and say thanks for paying attention!

b. Go to your replies (@yourtwittername) and see who has messaged you (public tweets). Reply to them. If they say good morning, say good morning back! Make sure you reply; they are engaging you!

c. People retweeting you or talking about you. When people are talking to you they will say “@IAC_Heather Good Morning, how was your day yesterday?” When people are talking about you they would say something like “I really like @IAC_Heather’s tweets, she is so friendly.” When people are retweeting you they would say RT@IAC_Heather: whatever your original tweet was that they recopied. If someone is talking about you engage/participate in the conversation by responding to them or other members discussing you. When someone re-tweets something you say, thank them (This is a must and a requirement!)

3. Pay attention to 3 people. That is right, pick 3 people that you are “following” and pay attention to something they said and respond to them and comment on their tweet.

4. Pick 2-3 things that you find interesting and re-tweet them. This could be an article that someone posted, or a quote, or a joke. Retweet what they have said. Retweet by writing RT @their twitter name: their original tweet

5. Tweet 1 thing about yourself or your business or your day to the Twitter world. Examples would be: “I am up bright and early today and feeling great” or “I have a cold today, staying home from work” “or Going to work on Project X for my coaching practice today”.

6. Tweet 1 resource and feel free to have it be self promotion. A blog you posted, an article that was recently published about you, an article that you recently distributed, a press release or video you recently released. Tweet it with an appropriate title or description.

7. Make a few lists. Go to your list section (right hand side bar of your Twitter page when logged in) and create a new list and add people to it. For example, I have a celebrity list, I also have a tech and geek list, and a employees list, add relevant people to that list to better categorize your followers and people you are following – in addition it gives a little ‘list love’ (people like to be listed). Just add 2-4 people a day to a list.

8. Thank the people that have added you to their lists. Up in the top right corner you have FOLLOWING | FOLLOWERS | LISTED – if listed has a number, you are on a list – click on the number and thank the person that has listed you!

Then sign off! You should have done that in less than 10 minutes (of course people with high volume replies and direct messages may take longer, but once you get that large of a volume you don’t need to reply to every single last one. And if you are at that large of a volume, you may find that Twitter is worth more than 10 minutes a day!)

Disclaimer: I am not saying that you should only spend 10 minutes a day on Twitter. In fact, I strongly suggest that you incorporate Twitter into your daily work, just as you would your email or voicemail. However, the purpose of this is to help those that are either new to Twitter or finding it overwhelming or just don’t know what to do. If you get small doses at a time, you will be effective in the long run. Obviously spending more time on Twitter will produce more results.

Bonus Tip:

Don’t forget to use services like www.tinyurl.com or http://bit.ly/ (my preference) when tweeting your resources (because URL’s can be incredibly long). If you are using TweetDeck they provide that for you with the “shorten” button.

Install the WordPress Plug In “Twitter Tools” and don’t worry about ever having to do #6 again or you can replace #6 with another resource rather than a blog post. By installing Twitter Tools in WordPress, it will auto-tweet everytime you post a blog.

Super Special Bonus:

I’d recommend mentioning bit.ly instead of tinyurl.com. The biggest reason is statistics. If you add + to the end of a bit.ly URL (http://bit.ly/linkname+),  instead of redirecting you, it will show you how many clicks the link received, when, where they were from, where it was mentioned on Twitter, etc. If you sign up for a bit.ly account, you can track all your links but you can see stats for anyone’s links (not just yours) without an account. Twitter’s web interface switched from using tinyurl.com to bit.ly and many clients use them as the default now, too. “More advanced services like TweetLater.com and HootSuite help to manage active or multiple Twitter accounts.” — David Szpunar http://www.redeemersystems.com.

Heather Recommends:

I love working with coaches, freelancers, and entrepreneurs to help them become more successful. If you'd like to improve your business, find out how I can help.

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