Twitter Basics

As you  know, Twitter is a social networking website where users post “tweets” (essentially a short message or ‘status update’) about what they are doing at a particular point in time.

A “tweet” can only be up to 140 characters in length, so the messages are very short – ie. It is micro-blogging, rather than full length blog posts.

A tweet can be a short message or a message to another user, and it can include words, numbers and even hyperlinks.

Twitter is used by all kinds of people – from private individuals who use it to keep track of their interests and follow people they know, through to celebrities who use it promote themselves and communicate with fans, and businesses of all sizes – from small local firms through to global multinational organisations.

When you think about it, it doesn’t really take a genius to work out why Twitter is good for businesses…

Any tool which gives us the ability to communicate with customers is extremely powerful – and what makes something like Twitter even more so is that it encourages conversations between companies and customers. These conversations are an excellent way of building relationships with customers and can help you to make more money and engage better with your clients.

So – Twitter is great for business and it’s great for us as internet marketers.

Through Tweets you can post links to your products and websites, keep people up to date with ‘what you’re up to’ (for example if you’re working on a new product) and it also allows people to see that you are human – which is very important!

It’s important however that you ‘go about’ Twitter in the correct way. Social networking provides a great business opportunity but it also provides the potential to damage your business and do harm to your reputation (we’ll talk a little more about that later on.)

In this report I’m going to outline the basics of getting up and running on Twitter and using it to market your online business.

So – let’s get started…

The first stage is obviously to sign up to Twitter and create an account.

Since this is so straightforward I won’t go into a huge amount of detail but there are some important things to note.

To get started go to http://www.twitter.com and click on the “sign up” button (or similar). Note that the Twitter homepage does change from time to time but it should be pretty obvious.

You will then be taken to a page similar to below:

The one thing to mention is that your username will become your Twitter address (http://www.twitter.com/username) and also your @username, so make sure that you choose something appropriate and easy for people to remember!

If the username you had in mind isn’t available try a variation on it, for example by adding an underscore between words or by adding a number 1 after the username.

Once you’ve signed up it’s time to move onto the next part…

Edit Your Profile

Click on “Profile” at the top and you will see it on the screen. Since you have just created a new account this shouldn’t have much on it yet apart from the details you created at sign-up.

Click on “edit your profile” and you will be taken to a screen like the one below:

Your profile picture. It is generally a good idea to upload your own profile picture rather than using the standard default Twitter pic. Doing so makes your profile seem more personable and memorable to other users. People just naturally like to put a face to a name. If it’s a company profile then you could upload your company logo for example instead.

Name. This should already be filled in from the information you gave when you signed up. If it’s blank then add your name.

Location. Again people like to know whereabouts you are so make sure you fill this in.

Web. Enter your primary website address here. This can be any website you choose – so it could be your blog or a link to a product you sell. Do make sure that you fill this in though because it can provide you with an excellent source of traffic.

Bio. This is your chance to sell yourself. Type out a few words describing who you are, what you do and why people should follow you. This must be less than 160 characters so you need to keep it short but sweet. An example would be:

UK based internet marketer, entrepreneur and techy. Lover of fine wine, good company and business opportunities.

Once you’ve filled everything out make sure you click “save” at the bottom.

If you so desire it is also possible to change the background of your profile. There are several pre-designed ones that Twitter provide or you could upload your own.

Uploading your own background image has the advantage that you can make it unique to yourself. Many people incorporate text or advertising into their background (so you could list your products or services or show your website address for example). Such a background can be seen being used on the profile in the image below: If you’re not familiar with Twitter there are some things to get your head around.

General Tweets

A tweet may be up to 140 characters in length. It can contain any character type, including hyperlinks.

@Username Tweets

By typing @ and then the person’s username (@username) followed by your message, you can send a tweet directly to another user. Your tweet will be visible to everyone (not just the person or people you are sending it at) but enables you to include them in the conversation.

Following

When you follow another user (you do this by clicking “follow” on their profile page) that user’s tweets will appear on your home screen.

Followers

These are the people that follow YOU. Your tweets will appear on their home screen.

The home screen

The tweets of the people you are following will appear here.

Your profile

Every tweet you make will appear on your profile.

Messages

It is also possible to send people a ‘private message’ which will be seen ONLY by the person you are sending it to. You will notice that inside your account you have a “messages” tab at the top which allows you to send and receive messages. Do note however that in order to be able to send a message to another user they must be following you themselves.

In order to be successful on Twitter you need to have followers and lots of them!

It’s pretty obvious that without followers nobody is going to see your tweets.

So – how do you get followers?

Well we’ll get onto that in a moment but first I want to define between two types of followers:

The first type of followers are people who are following you because you are following them. Many reports teach you to follow lots of people in the hope that they will follow you back. This is an excellent strategy but only in the short term. It’s a great way to get started (I’ll show you how to do it below) but over the long term what you really want are the second type of followers – people who follow you because they want to follow you!

I hope you can see the difference between the two there. The first type may be operating in your niche market but they may not be directly interested in your tweets. What you really need are people who actively read your tweets and click on your links – and those people usually fall into the second category.

Getting your first 100 or so followers

If you’ve just created a new Twitter account then you’re sitting there now with ZERO followers.

First of all, make a list of anyone you know of who is big in your niche.

Your job now is to find them on Twitter.

Once you are on their profile look at who is following THEM, and then follow them.

Why would we want to do this?

Well if you think about it, the fact that they are following one of our competitors shows that they must have some sort of interest in the niche. If someone is following Mike Filsaime then you can be pretty sure they are interested in internet marketing! If someone is following Alan Titchmarsh (a well known gardener in the UK) then you can be pretty sure they are interesting in gardening!

By following these people you will find that a certain percentage of them follow you back.

Your job now, then, is to follow 200 or 300 people using the method I have just outlined above.

Do this over a couple of days and you will find that fairly quickly you start to generate some followers. Continue doing this until you get your first 100 followers, then your next 100 followers.

There are many other ways to get followers. Here are just some ideas to try:

If you have an email list, send an email to your subscribers telling them about your Twitter account.

Post a message about your Twitter account on any other social networking sites you belong to – for example Facebook, Linkedin, MySpace, etc.

Put a link to your Twitter profile onto your websites and blogs.

Put a link in your signature on forums, email messages, etc.

And most importantly of all…….

Post interesting and relevant Tweets! If you make your tweets genuinely interesting to your target audience you will find that people start following you without you really needing to do anything! These are also the best type of followers because as we have previously mentioned they are the most likely to engage with your tweets and check out your links.

The most important things on Twitter is making Tweets. After all, they are what Twitter is all about!

But before we look at how to make Tweets in the right way, let’s look at some of the most common mistakes people make…

Twitter Mistakes

As well as benefiting your business and providing you with another way to market, Twitter also has the potential to do harm to your business.

Everyday I see people making mistakes on Twitter which could cost them business. Here are some common mistakes which you would do well to avoid:

Tweeting too often

The simple truth is that people who are following you are interested in you – but they’re not THAT interested in you!

I see some people Tweeting every few minutes – in many cases it’s all automated and just links to websites.

If people think you are appearing on their homepage too much – and it’s not relevant to them – they will unfollow you!

Don’t make the mistake of tweeting too often.

Not tweeting enough

The other extreme of course is people who don’t tweet enough.

I’m sure you will agree that it’s kind of hard to show much interest in someone who last tweeted 6 months ago.

Make it your goal to tweet a couple of times a day. Some days you will of course tweet more and other days you will tweet less. The exact numbers don’t really matter but it’s important to ensure that you tweet on a regular basis.

Always selling

Another one of the most common mistakes which I see people making on a regular basis on Twitter is always selling stuff, always promoting their websites etc.

Let’s face it – you wouldn’t switch on a TV and watch a channel which only shows adverts all day long – so don’t do exactly that on Twitter.

People follow you because they are interested in you. They want to know about you and gain useful information about the niche you are in.

Of course it’s ok to sell sometimes (let’s face it, there’s little point in using Twitter for business if you NEVER promote anything) but don’t make the mistake of doing it all the time.

Twitter is a social networking website. That means it’s all about interacting with other people and sharing information.

Yet if that’s the case, why do I see Twitter users every day who never talk to anyone else, never send other users messages and never reply to their own messages? They just sit there, talk about themselves and promote their own websites and products all day long.

This is bad!

If you want to see the best results from Twitter which you possibly can then you need to communicate with other people. Respond to their tweets, re-tweet stuff and ask questions – just talk to people. If you see one of your Twitter contacts asking a question or making a statement about something, chip in with a response. Doing this builds relationships with other users and it’s amazing how much more responsive this makes your own followers to your tweets.

By far and away the best piece of advice I can give on Twitter is to post great information.

What are your followers interested in? What information do they want to know? What are their questions? What motivates them? Why are they following you?

I always say to people – “give your followers a reason to continue following you!”

This might be by posting links to information and products you think they will be interested in. It could be by posting anecdotal stories about things which are happening to you – or answering people’s questions about the niche, giving advice, talking to people.

Make sure your Tweets aren’t just a series of promotions. Yes you can promote – but you also need to point people in the direction of free content, show off your knowledge and show off your passion.

Let’s say your primary niche is internet marketers. Your followers are people who want to learn about internet marketing – people who want to build an online business or make more money online.

They are following you because they want to learn from you and they are looking at you as an authority source.

Examples of Tweets you might make are on the following pages…

^ This is good because it makes you seem personable. You are asking your followers how they are – and you are revealing a little bit about what you’re up to. People love to know a little about your personal life!

9am: Just read a very interesting blog post by @username about how to increase your subscriber numbers. LINK TO BLOG POST

^ This is a good post to make because you are sharing useful information with others. By including the blog authors Twitter account in the tweet it also let’s the other person know that you have just promoted their blog for them. People really appreciate this because essentially you are promoting their business for them – and over time you will find that people start doing the same thing back to you.

10am: Does anyone have any shopping cart software they could recommend?

^ Encouraging other people to chip in with their own ideas/opinions/recommendations etc is a great idea because it makes your followers feel involved. If someone tweets you to answer your question you can then thank them for doing so and that starts to build up a relationship with them.

11am: @username You could try xyz. Always worked for me

^ People ask questions all the time on Twitter, so when you see someone asking something and you can help them make sure you do so!

12am: @username That’s a great idea – thanks for the share.

^ If you see one of your followers sharing some great information, thank them for doing so. You could even chip in with your own idea and add a little something to what they were saying.

1pm: RT @username Their original Tweet here

^ A re-tweet is when you see something you found useful/interesting and you want it to appear on your own profile for your followers to see. By re-tweeting something you are not only sharing good information with your followers but you are also building a relationship with the person who made the original tweet. They will see that you have re-tweeted their tweet and they will usually thank you for it because effectively it is free advertising for them.

2pm: My new product, Twitter Basics For Internet Marketers, has just gone live! Check it out at LINK HERE

^ All that other stuff is great but you ARE going to want to promote stuff from time to time – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong in doing so providing that you aren’t doing it ALL the time. Just make sure that what you are promoting will actually be interesting to your followers.

I regularly use a service called http://www.bit.ly

Don’t think about the slightly strange name because it’s an excellent service! What it does is basically shortens your hyperlinks. So

http://www.yourlongwebsite.com/page/page2/page3/otherrandomn ames.html becomes something like http://bit.ly/yourshortwebsite

This is great because it gives you more space to add words to your tweet (remember that there is a limit of 140 characters) – but even better than that bit.ly gives you the ability to track how many people actually clicked on your link, who they are, where they came from etc.

As internet marketers this is obviously very useful to us.

Another cool feature is that you can add multiple Twitter accounts to your bit.ly account, so you can post the same Tweet to multiple accounts at the same time. This can a big time saver and helps you to stay organised.

Twitter is a great way of marketing online but ONLY if you use it in the correct way.

Take the time at the beginning to set up your profile in full and get it looking as good as you possibly can.

When you’re ready to get some followers, use the ‘follow them’ and they will follow you back’ method we talked about earlier to generate your first few hundred subscribers.

Remember also to promote your Twitter account in other places too. Include a link to it on any other places you can think of – other social networking sites, forums that you participate in, blogs etc.

From there it’s simply a case of tweeting good information. Doing so will make your followers responsive AND you’ll find that you start generating new followers without actively going out there and looking for them yourself.

Tweet good information. Talk to people (that is absolutely crucial) and concentrate on building relationships with your followers. You can sell too but make sure you don’t do it all the time.

Timing is key too. Try to tweet regularly but not so often that it takes over your life and annoys the hell out of your followers!

If you take on board the advice given in this report you should be well on your way to generating extra profits and boosting your business through Twitter.

. So happy tweeting

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