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If you’re concerned about the amount of time that social media takes, here’s a basic way to introduce your business to Twitter. When you first start with Twitter – your first goal should be listening, rather than tweeting. Its like my Dad said to me (over and over again): “No one ever learned anything by talking.” Isn’t that such a “Dad” thing to say? My Dad would love the fact that for successful Twittering, listening comes first.
Its important to note that these are time saving tips and not a substitute for a strategy; this is an intro to Twitter, really. These tips will help you use find tools that will save you time, giving you a chance feel your way around Twitter, before you launch a campaign or create a strategy.
Chances are. if once you get involved in the Twitter community, you’ll start to see its potential. At that point, you’ll be ready to develop a strategy for adding Twitter to your communications arsenal.
Twellow: Essentially, this is the yellow pages of Twitter. Find people you are interested in following (or who you want to follow you) and follow them. Since its good “karma” to follow those who follow you, most people will follow back – some even automate this. Spend 5-10 minutes a day finding new people to follow.
Twitter Lists: While this tool takes awhile to set up, its worth it in the long run. Twitter lists allow you to categorize the people you follow in a way that makes sense to you. It also gives YOUR followers a concise way to follow people who might be important to them. You can make your lists public or private. Making them public is good Twitter karma as those who care, track the number of lists they are on. Spend 3 minutes a day adding the people you follow to your lists.
Google Alerts: Find your key words (I bet you know some of them), but you can use the Google Wonder Wheel to help you find others. Set up some Google Alerts on those key words so you can stay abreast of the trends, in blogs, news and social media. This is particularly helpful if you don’t currently have a blog. Its the best way to find content created by others, besides Twitter of course. Spend at least 10 minutes a day reading, finding info relevant to your business.
Hootesuite, Tweetdeck: Tools like this allow you to aggregate your Twitter feed in categories like keywords or groups of people who you particularly want to follow. For example, I always set up a key word feed for both my client and their primary competitor. That way I can watch (listen) to what others are saying about both companies. I also find key influencers relevant to the industry and follow them under a list. Spend at least 10 minutes a day reading what others say. Spend 5 minutes a day responding, retweeting, and sending/scheduling your own tweets.
Whatthetrend.com keeping your eye on trending topics on Twitter (love the alliteration) is a great way to stay in tune with what’s hot – this very second. Jump on regularly, and see if any of the trending topics are relevant to you or your business. If they are, its a great opportunity to follow the trend (remember those keyword searches in Hootesuite or Tweetdeck) and the people talking about it, you might find new followers by engaging people who using the #hashtag or by using the #hashtag, you may get more followers. Either way, keep in mind that you want YOUR stream to be consistent to what your followers expect of you. If you typically tweet about oranges, and one day you start tweeting about zebras, your follower base is going to be confused. Don’t jump on the bandwagon just to jump. Stay relevenant. Cruise through whatthetrend.com 1 minute a day.
Caveat: don’t do this, and only this, and complain that Twitter isn’t working for you. These are tools and a schedule to get you into the community of Twitter. This isn’t an plan designed for action. If you are looking to drive sales or provide customer service or support/develop a specific campaign, this concept will not work for you. in fact, if you are looking to change your business, this is a great article from Mashable that can help you determine if you should hire in-house, an agency or a consultant.