Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What Do I Tweet About?

I have been asked this question several times over the last few weeks by many small business owners, and it's actually a great point. With all the apps and systems floating around when it comes to Twitter -- Tweetdeck, Seismic, Hootsuite (you know who you are ) - one can easily get lost in the management of Twitter and indeed forget all about the content, which even at 140 characters is supposed to be the point, right?

So, for those newish to Twitter who want to get started, or those more experienced who feel they are getting a bit "Lost in Tweetspace," here are a few pointers:

1. Observe. Take a step back before you post anything and do some twitter mini research on what folks in the twittersphere are tweeting about. Of course, you can check the trending topics that come up on your home page, but it's also helpful to check out your followers or even random posts, both in your areas of interest and topics that might be less familiar to you. Take note of who is having a lot of interaction with their followers, and why that might be. Is there anyone particularly funny? Dramatic? Wise and Witty? Are there those who always tweet quotes by others, or news and gossip stories, or the infamous and dreaded "what I had for breakfast tweet?" Make a note about what piques your interest and also what seems most effective in terms of the community.

2. Think Strategically. Just as with blogging or any article writing, there are a million topics one can entertain discussing, or tweeting. Just because you have a platform to express yourself on all of them doesn't mean you should. If you are trying to promote your business, consider your tweets as microblogs and use them to show your knowledge and expertise. Include links to articles that relate to your industry, statistics or trends that are relevant, and your opinion on an important area of discussion. You can also tweet links to videos, photos (twitpics), music, and other types of files. If you have an event coming up, or offer a product or service, it's fine to give yourself a "plug," but keep self-promotion balanced with being a resource, or you will lose your followers. Also, keep your niche in mind and try not to tweet about multiple subjects, or you will confuse your brand. Don't be afraid to be human once in a while. Your followers expect you to let go once every now and again.

3. Be Interactive. Twitter is not about doing a quick tweet and signing off for the day. When you log on, check out the discussion stream and see if there is something useful you can add to it. References twitter names so that those in your group know you recognize them. You can also retweet a particularly good post, as well as participate in follow Friday. Thank those who have posted helpful information. Need help with something? Try tweeting a question. Don't forget that you also need to build trust, which is done online by defining who you are and living up to what you have promised. If you say a link is coming the following week, make sure you post it. If you have a money back guarantee on a product, make sure everyone knows it.

4. List Random Thoughts. Most of us are unaware of how many thoughts pass through our minds during the course of a given day. Become more aware of your internal monologue and how your thoughts and ideas might translate to others. If they reveal something unique about your brand, personality, intellect, and values, they're probably worth tweeting about.

What are your ideas?

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