Twittersphere – The Journey

We are on a social networking frenzy in 2010, learning about LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and any other platform that comes within our midst.

As a lot of business owners have not as yet jumped on the Twitter bandwagon or know if its relevant to them or their business – I’d like to share what I’ve learned about Twitter so far.

Firstly the basics – Twitter is an online communication platform where you exchange thoughts/ideas/questions/ramblings/compliments/quotes/articles/photos etc etc all within 140 characters (Even less than a standard sms!).

Signing up takes a whole 5 minutes to set up your bio, username, so on and so forth. You can also play around with the Twitter home page in terms of customised design (via lots of different programs available within and out of the Twitter program)

Next – your ready to Tweet!

About what I hear you ask? Do I talk about what I had for breakfast/lunch and dinner? Do I sell my business products and services in every tweet I make? And who on earth cares?

As with offline marketing strategies, I’ve found that you must earn people’s respect in order to be heard. Sending out useful content about your industry is one of the quickest way to do this.  One of the most popular tweets is to post a tweet directing your followers to your latest blog post. This is beneficial in two ways. Firstly it shows off your knowledge and secondly introduces those readers to your main website and its content.

Or another populat tweet stream is to direct your followers to other people’s blogs/pictures/articles relevant to your industry which they may find of interest.

Ok, so you know what to tweet, but who is going to listen? We all obviously start with no followers (Twitter terminology).  My suggestion would be to start by following your competitors.  And even more importantly – follow your competitors’ followers. Their followers are obviously already interested in hearing their tweets so why wouldn’t they be interested in you as well?

Another handy tip is to search through www.twellow.com –  The Yellow Pages for Twitter. They have a great database by category and location.  Find your prospects and competitors there! (Don’t forget to add yourself to the directory whilst your there!)

The above should hopefully see your follower count rise. Why do you want your follower count to rise? The more people who follow you – the more people hear your tweets and hence get to know you and your business.

As a side note – a lot of people have 2 Twitter accounts – one for them personally and one for their business. If you need this sort of structure that’s fine. I’ve personally used the 1 account. I don’t share too many personal habits but I do let my followers get to know me (a person outside of tax) a little better. Afterall, I am my business, my brand.

Next up – how do you manage all these Tweets? You can constantly log on/off Twitter online but you’d only have energy and time to only see the first couple of tweets. To cater for this problem – may I recommend TweetDeck. TweetDeck is a free program you can download. It allows you to categorise your followers as well as integrates with your other networking platforms – Facebook and LinkedIn.

What do I mean by categorise? TweetDeck operates via columns. Each column can be set up for different tasks. For example, one column can be to follow everyone that your following. Another column can be for the Mentions other people/businesses/strangers make about you (or rather your Twitter code name). Very important as you want to communicate with your customers and prospects and see what is being said about your business! Another column can be for all the Direct Messages (or DM’s) you have been sent or are sending out. Other columns can be set up to follow particular followers of yours. For example a column to follow just your competitors or just your prospects.

Another tip is to set up columns chasing particular words relevant to your business. For example, I have a column following the words  ‘Sydney accountant’. Hence any time anyone in Twitterland, whether they follow me or not, uses the words ‘Sydney Accountant’ in their tweet – I will know. And 50% of the time it usually is someone seeking a Sydney Accountant or has a question for a Sydney Accountant.  Hence a possible prospect or another follower.

A final tip – make sure that your market is actually on Twitter. For example – if you are seeking tradesmen – I can tell you now – they’re not there!

What I’ve found Twitter useful for:

1/ Immediate awareness of industry updates

2/ Abundance of technical content useful for my own business or that of my clients

3/ New business alliances

4/ Increased visitors to my main website

Twitter may not be for you or your business. Considering how many people and businesses are starting to use Twitter as part of their daily marketing schedules – can you afford not to try it?

See you around Twitterland. (Don’t forget to follow us – @FletcherTax)

Any other hints and tips you’ve picked up along your Twitter  journey? Please let me know via the comments section below. It is afterall a never ending learning journey for all of us!

Twitter Lingo:

DM – Direct Message – a one to one private message. Note you cannot send a DM if the recipient isn’t following you!

@ – the ‘To’ field in Twitterland. For example to send a tweet to us -you would need to type @FletcherTax

RT – ReTweet – To forward a particular tweet from someone to your own followers

FF – Follow Friday –  To recommend people to follow a particular Twitterer

# – Hashtags – use sparingly. Once a particular event/group or topic is formed, it usually has a particular hashtag attached to it. Hence anyone searching for this particular hashtag can find more people interested in this particular event/group or topic.

Tweetup – a get together with other Twitterers in real life.