When I first was presented with the concept of Twitter, I SO did not get it. It seemed stupid and superficial, and I could not figure out how to converse with people. When I began my first blog last May, I was encouraged to be on twitter to help promote my blog and gain readership. It was still difficult, but I gave it a shot.
It took time to gain some ground, and I finally began to see some results. I now have over 2000 followers and follow about as many. People wonder how you can actually “follow” that many people realistically. It is difficult to do so well, but it can be done.
One person who helped me greatly is Scott Stratten, known as @unmarketing on twitter. He has an awesome perspective on using twitter to engage with people. I had the pleasure of meeting him and hearing him speak in January this year.
How I can follow this many people?
It is impossible to do this just using Twitter’s website. Most active Tweeters use one of two online tools, either Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. I use Tweetdeck, but they both have many of the same options, one of the best is using columns and lists. Create lists of your followers, dividing your followers by catagories or niche, or how you met them, or by hashtag.
Create columns to follow your lists. It helps you to organize your conversations. You can also do searches in columns for certain words.
How in the world do you find this many people to follow?
Start with people and pages that you follow on Facebook. Also, look at blogs you currently read and follow them. Once you have a few people that you follow and you actually follow them because you have something in common or you like what they have to say, then look at their list of people they follow and who follows them (you do this on their twitter profile page). You can find others who you would like to connect with by doing this.
There are lots of automated tools out there to help you autofollow and auto Direct Message people, do not use those, especially until you know what you are doing!
Once you are following a few people, read their tweets. Make comments about their tweets. Retweeting is a huge compliment, if they tweet something you like, then retweet it to your followers.
The biggest thing to remember is that twitter is about engaging with people. Even if you are going to use it as an avenue to market yourself, your product or your blog, you have to first connect and engage with people. You should be talking genuinely about lots of different things, with an occasional link to your posts or product. Share helpful info you find from other people.
What is a HASHTAG anyway?
### these are hashtags, or what many of us called a pound sign. They are used in 2 distinct ways on twitter. The first is to help make a topic searchable. It marks words like a topic tag might. For instance, several of my blogposts, when I post the link on twitter I will add one of these hashtags- #selfcare. #parenting #life.
Also, many blogging communities have created their own hashtags to use such as Bookieboo from Mamavation. Her site encourages women to take care of themsleves and their families by helping them lose weight. Her tweets and the tweets of followers talking about this topic will put the #mamavation to help it be picked up by all who are following that hashtag.
Hashtags are also used for conferences or events, to follow all the tweets going on about the event, as well as actually informative tweets about what is being presented.
Tweetchats and twitter parties (see below) use a #hashtag to help designate the tweets for their event.
Hashtags are also used less informally as a way to add emphasis or sarcasm to a tweet. For instance, I could randomly tweet “I love brownies. #thatisall”
Searching for hashtags in your niche or topics you want to follow can be helpful. You can even set up a column in your Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to follow along.
A word about twitter chats and twitter parties
These are great ways to meet more like-minded people! Both are organized sessions where people gather on Twitter to discuss a certain topic at a certain time. An twitter party is usually company sponsored and you can win prizes by participating and answering questions. A twitter chat is organized around a topic and the host usually ask questions about the topic and anyone can answer and add their input.
I love twitter parties and twitter chats! One of the best ways to follow along (as it can get VERY CRAZY!) is to use a website called Tweetchat (tweetchat.com) You enter the hashtag for the chat or party and you only see tweets for that hasthag AND it automatically adds the hashtag to your tweets.
Want to find some twitter chats or parties you might be interested in?
One of my online friends Amy Bair, holds awesome Twitter parties several times a week for different companies. You can check out her calendar here. I have won several things, met some great people, and learned about a lot of different companies I may not have otherwise known about! With Twitter parties, you want to be sure to RSVP as it is usually an entry to win!
There are many other Twitter parties held as well, Amy’s are just the one’s I am most familiar with!
I also participate in several tweetchats on a weekly basis.
To participate in any of these chats, just login to Tweetchat a few minutes before the designated time, enter the hashtag in the searchbox, introduce yourself, and prepare for some fun! You can lurk at first, if you just want to check it out!
#leadfromwithin is an awesome chat led by Lolly Daskal for those interested in leading and developing people. It is held on Tuesday evening at 8 pm EST.
#speakchat is led by Michelle Price @prosperitygal and is great for those is the speaking field or who want to learn about speaking for groups. It is held on Mondayevenings at 9 pm EST. Details here #Speakchat.
#homechat is one of my favorites and it is ran by 2 friends of mine Angela England and Heather Solos. They talk about all sorts of topics related to caring for your home. This chat is on Tuesday evenings at 9 pm EST.
I have found so many more followers that I can call FRIEND via Tweetchats!
I have to say that Twitter has added so much to my life during a year that was tough for me. I have been able to connect with others who have dealt with stress, anxiety and mental health challenges. I have been able to receive and give support to others.
Twitter has become my water cooler time! Since I work from home, a few of my twitter friends are one I chat with everyday. I keep up with what’s going on in their lives, and they with mine!
In preparing for this post, I found some other great posts that you may be interested in reading!
And, if you are already experienced with Twitter, and want to know everything you could ever possibly know about marketing with twitter, check out this post on CopyBlogger! The Ultimate Guide to Twitter Marketing