Category Archives: Twitter Business

Exclusive Infographic: 64 Ways to Improve Your Twitter Marketing

Click the infographic below for an enlarged version you can print out and use as a checklist. Cross off items once you’ve done them.

Below the infographic we cover all eight sections in more detail to help you make the most of these great tips from Maria Peagler (@SM_OnlineClass), founder of SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com.

Tips 1-7: Your Profile

Simple, right? Then why do so many businesses skip one or more of these steps? Instead of saying “I know this stuff,” use this as a checklist, and look for any tips you might have missed. In particular, if you make any changes to your website(s), be sure they are reflected in your Twitter profile.

Most overlooked tip—#4: People don’t always fit appropriate keywords into their bios well.

The secret is to put some work into this. Use a list where appropriate to get more keywords in if you need to. Don’t use the ampersand “&” as it doesn’t always display properly. The Alt+16 character “►” can work well in delineating items in a list.

Tips 8-15: Listen

If you’re not using enterprise Twitter software with advanced tracking built in, start by using a Dashboard tool such as MarketMeSuite, HootSuite or TweetDeck and setting up columns for the things you want to track, particularly mentions of your username and business name. (For more tips, check out How To Be A Better Listener On Twitter.)

Top Tip—#13: Use BufferApp to schedule tweets for the times when people are most likely to see them. It’s ridiculously simple, and can double your clicks and retweets and increase your influence correspondingly—such as adding 10-15 points to your Klout score.

Tips 16-23: Integrate

Again, don’t say “I know this”—use this as a checklist. What have you overlooked?

Most Misunderstood Tip—#23: This can be a time-saver instead of an annoyance. You have two alternatives here: Use a Twitter app made for your mobile device, or use email alerts.

You can set up email alerts of tweets so that you are ONLY informed of messages from key people or on key topics—things you want to know about in real time. See “Respond More Efficiently To Key Contacts” at “The 3 T’s of Social Media Time Management” for more info on how to do this.

Tips 24-31: Innovate

Remember to connect with other businesses like yours, and learn from their example. Make a list of your favorite Twitter ideas over time as you discover them and get creative about thinking how you might use them.

Great Resource: Twitter’s “Case Studies” and  “Twitter Stories” sites. Two of my favorite stories are how one tweet saved a business, and how a business got incredible PR for the cost of a meal by listening to tweets about their business.

Tips 32-39: Hashtags

Often misunderstood and used poorly, hashtags can instead become your secret weapon. Remember tip #14, “Follow Twitter Chats?” They’re all identified by hashtag. To learn more about #hashtags, check out this list of tips.

Most Misunderstood—#38: #FollowFriday is one of the most efficient ways to build your Twitter reputation. (See “What is Follow Friday” if this is new to you.) However, you should use the alternate hashtag #FF instead, because it is shorter. Recommending others builds your reputation as a Twitter resource and influencer. But don’t just throw out usernames—say WHY you recommend the accounts you mention in your tweets, or you could be doing it wrong.

Tips 40-48: Retweets

First, remember to retweet others. This is the way to get retweeted yourself. Also, if you’ve never used the alternate RT method before (tip #41), start by reading the short Retweet Glossary, Syntax and Punctuation to get up to speed on this alternate method of retweeting

Most Misunderstood—#45: Sometimes called “Retweeting with comment” you have to set up your app or browser to make this work the way you want. If you are using Twitter.com, you’ll need a browser plugin such as BufferApp for Twitter.com to gain the option to retweet with comment. Otherwise, most apps have two options. Choose the “retweet with comment” option. Adding comments to retweets is a way to engage further with people. It’s as simple as adding “This is great: …” to your retweets.

Tips 49-56: Research

You don’t have to spend a lot of time at this, but you do have to do it! Mark out some time once a week (no less than once a month) to keep up to date. See The 3 T’s of Social Media Time Management if you’re having trouble carving out time.

Most Misunderstood—#54:  Some of your most engaged contacts will be your critics. So when a critic gets in touch, use the opportunity to network instead of just focusing on the criticism! See “The sneakiest secret of all” at the bottom of “How ANYONE can become incredibly popular on Twitter, or ANY social network” for more info on this.

Tips 57-64: Chats

Be sure to check out the spreadsheet of all Twitter chats to find some right for you. If you’re not familiar with #TwitterChat, start at 5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Next Twitter Chat to get up to speed.

Most Underutilized—#64:  Network with the people that lead Twitter chats. These people can become your greatest resource on Twitter. Always Twitter-savyy, often business savvy, be sure to help them where you can, and get their help when apppropriate.

Back To You:

Have any questions about a particular tip? What tips do you have? Leave a comment in the box below and we’ll be in touch!

 

Why Automating Twitter Is Like Driving faster in the Dark

People ask me how they “can make money fast on Twitter.” They see a lot of big promises out there. Here’s what I tell them:

When you see a tweet that says “Automate Twitter for fast success and real money” remember these definitions:

  1. Automate = Give some other spammer your hard-earned money for something that you will lose money on and can get your account suspended.
  2. Fast Success = Get lots of other spammers to follow your fake account.
  3. Real Money = Pennies a month.
  4. Twitter = You’ll never find out what Twitter really is. Twitter can change your life, change your business, but YOU‘ll just end up quitting because “Twitter doesn’t work.”

It’s fine to use helpful tools. But not tools that write your tweets for you. Or automatically follow and unfollow people that you never see. That’s why I say trying to speed up Twitter success by getting spammers to follow you is like driving faster…in the dark.

If you know how to do business, Twitter can be a big help. But giving spammers your money to learn how to build fake Twitter accounts isn’t the way to go. Connecting with real people on Twitter is the way to go.

If you’re looking to earn money by doing business over the internet, learn how websites sell products. Study how to use landing pages and newsletters for marketing. Study the 4 P’s of Internet Success (Prepare, Presence, Profit, Partnerships), not how to waste time building a fake Twitter account and then quitting Twitter because “it doesn’t work.”

I actually saw a Tweet once that said “Automate Twitter to find other like-minded folks.” Really? Become a robot and find other robots?

Should you get a tweet when you give something away?

In the past, websites would force you to provide an email address and sign up for a newsletter before receiving content such as an ebook, whitepaper or access to a protected website.

Now, there are several services that instead force users to send a tweet or facebook status update before receiving content.

Should you use one of these services?

Advantages

  1. Compared to signing up for a newsletter, users cannot then immediately unsubscribe, receiving your content for free with no obligation on their part.
  2. It can seem faster for the user, no waiting for an email and clicking a link, no typing in their email address.
  3. You can get more traffic to your website and to your offer from the updates users send.
  4. By implementing one of these systems, you give yourself the option to offer users a choice of sending an update or providing an email address. You can test which meets your goals best.

Disadvantages

  1. Users cannot see your content before tweeting or sending an update about it, in effect being forced to give a blind recommendation.
  2. You build no further relationship with the person consuming your content, unless you have an additional system that tracks the tweets or Facebook status updates sent, and makes a record of the user sending them.
  3. Users can provide an inactive or little-followed account that the tweet or update goes out from, such that no one may see it.
  4. You are using a third-party system which may end or break at an inconvenient time for you.

Example Services

Know of any similar services? Leave a comment and I’ll add to this list:

  1. Cloud:Flood: Facebook or Twitter
  2. Pay with a Tweet: The first social payment system
  3. Tweet And Get it: WordPress plugin
  4. Tweet per view: Video-only service

Other options

  1. You can do both, for example offering your key content in exchange for a subscription, and then offering upgraded or additional content or benefits in exchange for sending a tweet or Facebook update.
  2. You can ask for both an email address and social media username, and then send a thank you to the social media account hinting that you would appreciate a tweet if they find the content valuable.
  3. You can instead have a contest, where everyone who sends a tweet is entered to win something in addition to the initial content.
  4. You can always encourage users to provide a thank-you update after receiving your content, either on the download page, in the content, or both. You can provide a link in the content that creates a tweet to sent, for example. (Here’s a sample tool that creates a tweet to send.)
What ideas do you have? How have you used social media connections when offering content to users?

Social media has already proven itself for business—start NOW.

Ignoring social media is a ‘strategic error of the most basic nature‘ ” –Chief of US Naval Operations

SMART: Most businesses wait to adopt new practices or technologies until they have proven themselves. Waiting for this reason is often smart.

DUMB: The problem is that most businesses are a step behind at knowing when something has proven itself. By the time many businesses find beneficial new uses for a technology, most businesses still don’t know what it’s good for. Not knowing in this case is dumb.

Get past the confusion and misperception that it’s only a way of doing new things once a technology begins to replace the way old things are done. Of course, it’s great if you can adopt once new benefits become clear best practices, but that takes time, education and some trial and error. It’s inefficient at first, though the gains can be considerable.

But while you can afford to miss out on gains, when it reaches the point you will incur losses if you don’t adopt (late stage 3, see below), you need to take action. Social media is in early stage 3 now. You have only a little time to avoid incurring losses by not learning its benefits.

Most businesses cannot do without some sales and marketing functions. If that’s true for you, it’s likely that your business will be hurt if you don’t begin learning relevant social media best practices for your business in 2011.

When should you adopt a disruptive technology like Social Media?

To find how to use it to improve things you already do, you need to filter out the noise about things you don’t want to do, and from people who simply misunderstand it.

So pay as much attention to the lifecycle of a technology as to how well you understand it. You don’t have to understand something to learn that it is improving on some business practices for a wide segment of your industry.

Once a lot of people have been saying for over a year that the technology has proven itself, people that say “I don’t understand it” are no longer relevant. Once the benefits of the technology are known and widely tested over months and years, ignore the people who don’t understand it.

Realize that soon your business will be affected adversely by not learning it. That’s right—you can rarely keep using the old ways and maintain the same business. Your customers will go to your competitors. I’m not talking about missing out on new benefits—I’m talking about losing your business.

Disruptive technologies follow an easy-to-identify timeline

You MUST adopt before stage four or you will risk your business. At first, disruptive technologies:

  1. AREN’T CLEAR. It’s hard to tell what use they are for most businesses. They create niche uses.
    Commonly known as: “Leading/bleeding edge” practices
    Social media misperception: “Who cares what I had for lunch?”
  2. OFFER NEW BENEFITS: Then, over time, they begin doing new things few businesses care much about, but which get a lot of attention.
    Commonly known as: Something for “early adopters”
    Social media misperception: “What we have is already working, I don’t have time for something new.”
  3. PROVE THEMSELVES: After more time, they begin doing some things for some businesses better than how those businesses already do them.
    Commonly known as: Methods that become a standard alternative or addition to some business practices.
    Social media misperception: “Since customers are looking for us on social media, we’ll reserve a username.”
  4. THE NEW STANDARD: Eventually, they replace the way a segment of things were done in the past, as well as adding new things to what businesses do.
    Commonly known as: The way things are done now, the new best practice
    Social media misperception: “Just because everyone is talking about it doesn’t mean it will work for us.”

Classic Example: How hydraulics replaced older technologies

Hydraulic technology (think giant excavating machines) couldn’t match the power or reach of cable-operated technology for a long time. It was a technology in search of a market, eventually finding use digging small ditches (like burying a cable in your yard) on the back of small and home tractors. As the technology advanced over decades, it eventually become both cheaper and much safer than cable technology: It became the way everything was done.

But it needed to create its own markets (small ditch digging) before it could become the technology all businesses used (excavators and related equipment of all sizes).

Social media followed the same path, with many businesses finding NEW benefits from using it, and with it now adding to or replacing many existing ways of doing things. It’s not just a way to do something new anymore, it’s now the way to do a lot of what you already do, only better.

Eventually, you must change

By the time a technology reaches stage 4, it is usually too late to adopt it. Your industry has already moved on without you. Your next step is to go out of business. Social media is currently at early stage 3, with some businesses using it in stage 4. It has proven itself, and is growing into the new standard in some areas. If you wait much longer to adopt social media best practices, you may have trouble maintaining your business much longer!

While this sounds extreme, this is exactly what happens. The majority of businesses always wait too long to adopt. Yes, you should wait! You must wait. Don’t jump in. New ways of doing things must prove themselves before it is wise for most businesses to adopt them.

What should a business do?

Don’t try to do everything. Find something that benefits your business. I suggest using getting connected on Twitter to consultants who can help you determine best practices for how you do business now. Use Twitter as a personal learning network (pln). You can connect with people who can give you ideas on how to run your business better that have nothing to do with social media.

I’ll begin with some advice from Francine Hardaway about how small business can best leverage social media

“Don’t spend too much time monitoring for mentions of your brand, which is probably unknown, but look for generic things people are talking about in your industry segment or niche: lousy landscapers who leave the gate open and let the dog out, people who want fences that don’t block their views.  Dry cleaning that isn’t poisonous. Web sites that have e-commerce carts. Customers at coffee shops in the afternoons. Facebook pages that have hundreds or thousands of fans and likes.

“Try to learn from those other businesses. The best use of social media isn’t really marketing, it’s learning. Social media allows you access to competitors, customers, and best practices. That’s never been possible before.

“After you have gotten comfortable learning from what other people and businesses do and say in social media, see if it works in your business for customer service. After all, in your monitoring, if you come across a dissatisfied customer of yours, you can help her because you are already ‘out there’  listening and you hear the complaint.”

Try some of these 5 Key Strategies For Implementing Social Media For Small Business:

  1. Develop educational webinars and/or podcasts which address specific small business needs in the process of introducing company products or services.
  2. Encourage, and carefully tend, online reviews of company products or services.
  3. Establish a presence on one or more major social networking sites and use this as a hub for corporate social media initiatives.
  4. Participate in more focused online discussions where it is easy to find and respond to questions specifically related to company products or services – such answering questions on Q&A sites like LinkedIn Answers or Business.com Answers, or in online business forums – rather than trying to work a promotional mention into discussions on 3rd party web sites and blogs.
  5. Further investigate how your target audience is using Twitter for business today and begin developing a Twitter strategy.
  1. Commit to Social Media.
  2. Share your knowledge and experience
  3. Create valuable content for your community
  4. Share Everything.
  5. Tear down the Walls between you and customers.
  6. Have fun connecting. Use humor.
  7. Be yourself. Your personality will shine through on Social Media.

Don’t be fooled—Social Media has already proven itself

A business needs to ignore a new technology unless it has many new uses most businesses can benefit it, or it begins replacing existing best practices. Social media has already done both.  It’s at early stage 3, but because some businesses have managed to use it for almost all of what they do, it’s clearly moving into stage 4. And if you wait until stage 4, you might not have a business anymore.

Stage 2: Missing potential gains

For example, as many businesses began gaining customers by using social media in new ways, most business were still thinking Twitter was just for sharing what you had for lunch. It’s okay to miss out on this level, because the technology hasn’t quite proved itself yet. It takes effort to learn and gain new kinds of benefits.

Stage 3: Missing improvements in what you already do

By the time some established businesses were replacing old business practices with better ways of doing things through social media (identifying customer service issues, improving website search results, gaining a new segment of customers that use social media extensively, etc.), most businesses were saying “I don’t have time to learn something new. What I’m doing is working fine.”

This is when you should start adopting. Old ways of doing things are being replaced by better ways of doing the same things.

Stage 4: Old ways of doing things are replaced with better ways

At this late stage, the technology, by replacing standard business practices, has proven itself and become the new standard for many practices. But many businesses don’t recognize when this has happened. This is a dangerous time to lag behind. Your industry has already changed—you just don’t know it yet. You may lose your business entirely.

More Resources

  1. See 10 Guidelines to do doing well on Twitter for some simple ideas on how to get started.\
  2. Twitter is a $10,000 check you’re leaving uncashed.”

 

What are the benefits of Twitter for business?

I had a client ask me for a brief explanation of this recently. This was my response:

Twitter has more beneficial use cases than Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs combined. This is one reason people are confused by Twitter. Millions of people are using it in dozens of different ways, all simultaneously. To implement the most valuable use cases for Twitter require the most training and planning. One reason Twitter is so flexible is that it can support so many other existing technologies and business strategies.

Where’s the profit?

For business, I believe the top uses, from highest profit to lowest profit are:

  1. Consulting, education and joint ventures specific to making your business more profitable (networking with others in your field).
  2. Finding prospects to sign up for your mailing list (converting them later to paying clients/customers).
  3. Building your brand and reputation.
  4. Promoting offers, products and services.

How do you get started?

However, I suggest using it in a different order than I listed above. First, you must have a web presence, ideally at minimum a blog and Facebook page for your business. You will be building an online community, and community needs places for people to engage in different ways. Then use Twitter in this order:

  1. Consulting, education and joint ventures specific to making your business more profitable (networking with others in your field).
  2. Building your brand and reputation.
  3. Promoting offers, products and services.
  4. Finding prospects to sign up for your mailing list (converting them later to paying clients/customers).

Why not start by getting lots of followers and selling things to them?

Mainly because this doesn’t work well, and there is another way that works very well. Here is the key: The higher the quality of your Twitter account, the better everything else you do will work.

What steps should you follow?

  1. So begin on Twitter by connecting with other high-quality, influential people (here’s how), and keep your initial use to finding people that you can help, and people you would like to connect with. Think of it this way: If people describe you offline as a “high quality person” it’s important that you appear as a high-quality person online as well.
  2. As you use Twitter in this way, you will learn easily, because you will be making friends who will help you use Twitter well. Also, they will naturally teach you how to build your brand and reputation by their example and tips.
  3. Once you have built the foundation of a quality reputation and connected with influencers in your niche, you can begin sharing more about what you do in your business. It will happen naturally. People will be asking you about your business, and engaging with you on your blog and Facebook page as well as on Twitter. You can now begin promoting offers, products and services. Work to provide specials only available to people online, and to find joint venture opportunities with the people you have connected with on Twitter. Start by helping them in whatever way you can with their offers, products and services. Many will then help you with yours.
  4. Finally, you will have built a high-quality presence on Twitter, and your followers will be growing organically. Now you can concentrate harder on how to build a high-quality Twitter following, and using Twitter as a tool for getting signups to your mailing list. You do this in a two-step process: (1) Sharing educational material in tweets while positioning yourself as an expert, and (2) Providing offers to people to signup for your list on all parts of your web presence and as part of all your educational materials.

I consulted with a Twitter user who build up a 60,000+ mailing list in ~18 months on Twitter by sharing educational videos that included at the end offers of more information for people who signed up for their mailing list. While I can’t divulge their username, they attributed over six figures of their annual sales in their second year on Twitter to prospects from Twitter who converted to paying clients.

 

 

Updated: Dealing with Negative Information About You or Your Business Online

How do you deal with the problem of negative information appearing about you online, especially when it is inaccurate? For dealing with Twitter abuse, see part 2 below. A wide variety of options ans sstrategies for business are covered in part 3 below.

UPDATE:  Tips specific for Twitter for businesses:

This comes from the great “How Twitter Amplifies a Customer Attack” at paulgillin.com. If an attack appears to be forming, look for the following:
  • Trending hash tags that include your company name (most Twitter clients display the top trending tags by default; Whatthetrend.com can give you more detail);
  • Keywords that indicate high levels of emotion or that refer to serious problems that are unique to your product category;
  • Complaints directed specifically at your company (denoted by messages that begin with your company’s Twitter handle)
  • Retweets of negative messages by people who are influential in your market

Standard crisis communications rules apply to your response, with some twists that are unique to Twitter:

  • Use a consistent Twitter account to avoid confusion. It’s fine to retweet via other accounts that you own or influence.
  • Address affected parties, not spectators.
  • If the problem affects just a few people, ask them to follow you, then send a direct message with an e-mail address or phone number to resolve the issue out of public view.
  • If you know nothing about the issue being discussed, send a tweet stating that you’re looking into the problem. Then tweet follow-up information as you receive it.
  • Show empathy, but stick to the facts. Don’t debate hecklers.
  • If the problem is systemic (such as an outage or recall), create a Web page or blog post with details about the situation. Post updates there and tweet them under your account(s).
  • If there are people with large followings involved, consider tweeting updates directly to them. It’s OK to ask for a retweet.
  • For a problem affecting multiple customers, consider creating a unique hash tag for updates.
  • When the problem is resolved, tweet that.

1. How and When to Respond: A Guide

But let’s start with a great infographic, originally designed by Captain David Faggard, Chief of Emerging Technology for the U.S. Air Force, that provides a great guide for how and when to respond across all social media (also available as a PDF):

Source HT @AccordionGuy (via blog)
Officially, this is the Air Force Web Posting Response Assessment v.2
from the Air Force Public Affairs Agency, Emerging Technology Division
Phone: 703-696-1158 • Email: afbluetube at gmail.com

2. Abusive Tweets and Bullying

If the negative information is only in tweets, read Twitter’s suggestions here. You also may want to check these online resources with more information on bullying:

Note that you will usually need to seek a legal or law enforcement solution before getting Twitter involved directly.

3. What Businesses Can Do:

See also “Tips specific for Twitter” at the beginning of this post.

For information critical of your business, there is a lot you can do. I’ve broken your options down into six categories:

  1. Decide whether to respond at all
  2. Be in contact with creators of negative information.
  3. Create responses that are ethical and informative, consider creative PR responses.
  4. SEO for the SERPs, forums, blogs and other relevant touch points.
  5. Target influencers.

3.1. Decide whether to respond at all

3.2. Be in contact with creators of negative information.

  • Be proactive: assign someone to monitor information. Follow the example of Comcast’s Frank Eliason.
  • Open a dialogue with the producers of negative sites. Consider at first using a third party. Find out what motivates them before attempting to address issues. Sometimes you can bring their voice “into the fold,” other times address what is motivating them without needing to address the issues as you see them to bring about a positive change.
  • Ask the creators of negative information if they would consider moving the dialogue to a different forum. You can create a non-indexed (will not show up in search engines) forum on your site to address concerns, for example.
  • Respond to individuals who have complaints. Give them expanded service, or seek to bring their voice into a feedback forum, and off of a criticism forum.
  • Get a voice in the touch points (forums, blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc.) that negative results appear in—this needs to be someone’s job. Comment with clarity, patience and humor wherever the negative information appears. Link to positive responses to boost the ranking of those responses in the SERPs.

3.3. Create responses that are ethical and informative, consider creative PR responses.

  • Investigate the publicity aspects of having mixed results about your brand in the SERPs, building on the old adage “all publicity is good publicity.”
  • If appropriate to have a response of integrity, have on your site a press release, blog, whitepaper or special section with your response. Explore other touch points to put your response onto (forums, blogs, twitter, etc.).
  • If you are making changes in response to the criticisms, promote those changes directly as well as creatively. A creative response can expand virally and overwhelm negatives as other sites take up the connections.

3.4. SEO for the SERPs, forums, blogs and other relevant touch points.

  • If any of your sites rank well in the SERPs, you can use internal link structure shifts to boost the ranking of your responses both inside and outside that site.
  • If you have multiple sites or touch points, strategically increase the number of results appearing above the negative, where possible.
  • Google’s universal search strategy means that a blog or YouTube video with lesser ranking “juice” can show in the SERPs alongside a web site with higher “juice.” This means a smaller amount of SEO is required to rank, in some cases.
  • Network with your partners and with the partners of your those putting out negative for links to boost the ranking of your positive responses.
  • Utilize a PPC (pay per click ad) campaign. Beyond rebuilding your brand and getting your voice out there, this can help you find how people are finding the negative result, and use that data to improve your results in the SERPs, such as by using ad copy in meta description tags to increase the frequency of clicks on your positive information, vs. their negative information.
  • Create other touch points on the web (YouTube, Twitter, Blogs) to influence. Use internal site linking power and assistance from partners to boost the ranking of those touch points.
  • Use viral marketing to increase the number of positive results in the SERPs.
  • If negative sites are using copyrighted content inappropriately, file a DMCA request to have their site removed.
  • Create similar content that is more appropriate and SEO it to rank higher than the negative content.

3.5. Target influencers.

  • The more people you have engaged with before negatives appear, the better chance you have to tell your side of the story.
  • Use Twitter/Facebook/comment in key blogs to head off negatives with key influencers.
  • Study the strategies at “Use Twitter to get influential people to help you.”

If you want to learn more, here’s a great article on reputation management and another on company crisis management.

One simple step to making money or being popular on Twitter

Don’t assume this is like similar advice you’ve seen until you’ve seen my secret to making this work! But here’s the one step:

1. Search for people who need help and help them.

Easy, right? However, there is a real secret to making this work that I’ve shared at the end of this post.

How can this make me money?

Search for people who are looking for recommendations of things to buy and give them a recommendation via an affiliate link (where you earn a commission if they buy). Or if you have a business, search for people who are looking for the goods or services you provide and help them.

I originally wrote this advice to a client just for how to find people to help, but I learned later they were using it almost exclusively to find people to sell things to, so I decided to modify this post so I could include this warning: If you send lots of tweets to people trying to sell stuff, you can be suspended as a spammer.

Don”t overdo it. Don’t just throw links out there with a sales pitch. Be conversational, ask questions and be helpful. Don’t repeat the same tweet over and over to different people. Most important, realize that people DON’T want to hear a sales pitch as a result of something they tweeted. (You might also like “7 Insanely Useful Ways to Search Twitter for Marketing“.)

How can this make me popular?

Answer questions that people are asking. Particularly, find people asking about things that you are most knowledgeable about. But on Twitter, it’s always good to find people with Twitter questions that you can answer and answer them! Everyone with some Twitter experience knows something worth sharing. I even have a page on this blog specifically devoted to people tweeting us questions about Twitter.

The secret

The better the search you do, the better the result, and I’ve discovered that even among internet geeks, very few people know how to do a really good search, so I’m going to share a few advanced searches. And, get this: by using Google, you can do searches that actually cost money if you try to do them elsewhere. Google pays to see all tweets, then lets you use their awesome search capability to dig through them.

I can sometimes find a new question as often every two minutes by doing searches such as what I’ll demonstrate for you. That’s hundreds a day! Yes, not every tweet is going to be a question worth answering, but this is still an awesome tool.
Start by experimenting with this Twitter search.

Building your own search

  1. Notice in the middle of the left-hand column there are two choices under “Anywhere:”  Nearby, and Custom location. These are particularly great for local businesses, of course, but sometimes there are events happening in particular areas that you may want to connect with people about. Experiment, as not every kind of location entry will produce a result.
  2. Change the word “Twitter” to whatever you want to search about. Here’s an example search for “t-shirts” instead.
  3. Remove terms you don’t want to see. For example, here is the t-shirt search with the terms “printing” and “printer” removed.
  4. Search only for people using variations of “anyone recommend.” This will tend to show many fewer questions, but they will tend to be more what you are looking for. Here’s an example.

NOTE: Type your own search terms into Google (copy from the query above) when ready to use these searches. Starting from the links I provide can sometimes make Google search act wonky as you move forward or backward in time. Best to type (or copy/paste) the terms into Google yourself.

Alternatives

The most typical kind of search simply includes a question mark “?” and a keyword, such as this Twitter search for restaurant questions. Experimenting with question mark searches can bring up many more questions, but also many more irrelevant ones. But if you don’t mind doing the work of sorting through them, this will bring you even more results.

Summary

When I was new to Twitter, I spent a lot of time doing search like this to find people with Twitter questions I could help. Now I get so many inbound questions I don’t have much time to search for people with questions anymore. But I still do from time to time. Everyone should! It’s very easy, and takes only a small amount of time.

For businesses, I tested this one day by responding to everyone who was looking for a product recommendation over a 12 hour period. My wife and I researched each question and found a product on Amazon.com we could link to. It was a lot of work, but I do several question-answering tests of various kinds throughout the year anyway.

The result? We made two sales. Since I’m not on Twitter myself to make money, this is not something I want to do with my time, but as a proof of concept, it worked. We made money. But, a warning: work very, very hard at being friendly and conversational instead of using a sales approach. Remember the warning about not being a spammer! I said things such as

  • “Have you ever tried [link]?”
  • “Something I saw that might interest you might be be [link]”
  • “Did you find anything yet? Did you look at [link]?”
  • “Something I use is [link]” (only when this was true)
  • Etc.