Twitter was born in 2006, and quickly swept up 200 million addicted tweeters, loads of celebrities, loads of fake celebrities, but more importantly loads and loads of real people, and real customers.
Twitter is the second pillar of your Social Media Strategy, and you have to be prepared to integrate it into your life, Twitter isn't something you assign 30 minutes at the end of your working day to, Twitter is for your mini-down-times, so when a document is PDFing, you're on the train, the toilet or just waiting around in cafe, it's something that you have to bring into your life, and make second nature to your communications.
The starting point for any user is to populate their account, and then find a few people to follow, generally the more people you follow, the more followers you'll scoop back up, but, you can end up with a pretty naff and spammy feed if you just chase the numbers like this. You want a follower base of genuinely interesting and connected people, because if someone likes your message and retweets it, you potentially have a huge audience.
The slow and correct way to build your followers is to make yourself valuable, to be interesting, ask questions and engage people. So instead of saying 'We've just posted a new blog about Chips', say 'I freaking love Chips, doesn't anybody here not love Chips?', Chips are pretty amazing, I can't recommend blogging about Chips highly enough.
Be aware that it will take time, I've been on the site for 2 years now, and posted over 2000 comments (ALL HILARIOUS), and I'm close to 600 followers, so don't expect over night success, unless you're really funny, or you keep pointing nude pictures of yourself (and you're hot).
There's 3 types of messages, General Updates, which are you comments, Retweets, which is where people take your comment and post it to their followers, and Direct Messages, which are private email messages and all of these are restricted to 140 characters, Twitter will Auto Shorten links saving you valuable character space.
A good practice to get into is to look for your product or company name by using TwitterSearch find what people are saying about you and respond, follow and retweet the ones you like, this kind of direct contact with your customers is what Twitter is all about, a good example of this was demonstrated in my recent VistaPrint debacle.
It's said that it takes about 2 weeks to get to grips with Twitter, it's really important that you download it for your smartphone and use this access to widen your social standing, every positive message you get out into the world about your company is going to raise your profile, no matter haw many followers you have. Twitter gives you a megaphone to tell everyone how great you are, just make sure you point it in the right direction, if you haven't already, get online now and give it a try.
QUICK TIP: If you put #in at the end of your Tweets, they'll post onto LinkedIn as well, can't hurt right?
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