June 20, 2009

How To Use Twitter

Here’s the best bit. When you join Twitter you will get your own unique URL to promote anywhere and everywhere you like. It will consist of the main Twitter website address followed by a forward slash and then your username.

When people visit this web address they will see your profile and your latest tweets listed in the order that you posted them. You can put a short bio and the URL of your website on this page so make doubly sure you fill them in! Every single person that visits your profile page is a potential visitor for your website too, so make things easy for them.

Now obviously you can use this URL anywhere you like—if you are telling people about your presence on Twitter you can use a clickable link to embed your Twitter URL into the word ‘Twitter’. All someone has to do then is click on the word and they’ll be taken straight to your profile page.

But the website also provides you with an opportunity to create your very own badge for use on other sites, and this has the advantage of being more visually appealing. You’ll find the appropriate page for getting your customized badges at

Getting your own unique badge
This is easy and it’s well worth doing because it really helps to draw attention to your Twitter profile. A badge is basically a widget, and you can choose one to blend in with your Blogger based blog, your MySpace account, your Facebook account or your TypePad blog.

Alternatively if you don’t have any of those click on the ‘Other’ option and you’ll get three other options to choose from. You can have a Flash style widget that either contains you and your friends tweets, or just yours—although either method allows people to click on your Twitter ID and join up so they can follow you.

You can also choose an HTML or JavaScript option if you are able to do a bit of simple copying and pasting and you can put JavaScript wherever you want to put your widget. Again every single entry can be clicked on to allow people to find and follow you on Twitter itself. These widgets not only highlight your contributions to your Twitter page, they also make it easy for people to follow you—which is what leads to a bigger audience for everything you do and write, both on Twitter and elsewhere.

Promoting your Twitter profile is only one side of the story though. Not only do you want to promote it, you also want people to keep in touch with it. Now if you take a look at your profile page once you’ve joined the site, you’ll notice that you have a little stats box on the right hand side. Among other things, this will show you how many updates (otherwise known as our tweets) you have posted, how many people you are following and more importantly, how many people are following you. It is in your best interests to make that last number as big as possible, since the more people you have following your tweets the better the impact is likely to be on your business as a whole.

Getting people to follow you
This is a bit like leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for people to follow. First off, they won’t follow you if they don’t know you’re there, so get those badges and widgets sorted out and get some clickable links announcing the fact that you’re now on Twitter for everyone to find and post them on your blog and website.

Another cool tactic is to announce you’re a Twitterer at the bottom of all the emails you send out to anyone—even your bank manager. Hey you never know; he might be a Twitterer too.

The more people who know about your tweets, the better the chances are of some of them deciding to follow you. Most people won’t just follow someone who tweets about anything and everything though, so make sure you bear in mind your reason for being on Twitter in the first place.

You want to promote yourself and your business, right? Okay, so although Twitter—in common with a lot of other sites like this—doesn’t like you promoting your wares heavily through your tweets, it doesn’t mind you sticking to the subject your business and interests are all about. For example let’s say you have a website which sells pet accessories. You wouldn’t promote items directly from your tweets; instead you could share a few bizarre facts and figures about animals through your tweets. It should be something interesting that will entice people to read more of your updates and maybe even sign on as a follower.
Don’t forget that it’s really not necessary to sell directly via your Twitter updates anyway, since your profile page will include your website address for everyone to click on and visit. Twitter is pretty easy to get the hang of, so even newcomers will see your website address and are very likely to click through for a look see if they read and enjoy your updates.

Follow other people
Another great way to get people to follow you is to start following them first!
The trick to doing this successfully though is to make sure you follow the right people. If your updates are concentrated around unusual and fascinating facts about animals to help attract people who will also be interested in your website, you should start following other people who have a similar interest in animals. But how on earth do you find them?

Twitter Blocks
These are worth looking at purely for the amazing image you get—but they have a far more intriguing purpose as well.Twitter Blocks give you a virtual map of who you are connected to on Twitter. So let’s say for example you start following someone. If you go onto the Twitter Blocks part of the site you’ll see the option to look at your own Twitter block.
This will show a link from you to the person you are following . . . and then another link (or more) to their neighbors. While they won’t all be interested in following you, you can certainly follow them and as soon as they realize they have a new follower they’ll be sure to sit up and take notice of you. It’s the Twitterer’s way of standing up, waving and saying “Hi!”

Using the search feature
If there is one sure way to find like minded people on Twitter (without the joy of seeing all those hovering blocks) it’s via the search feature. This trawls through the information people give on their profile page and returns any profiles featuring the word or words you have asked it to search for. Incidentally a search for the word ‘animals’ returned over a thousand results, so even if only a fraction of those are interested in you and your animal accessories business, you’re off to a great start.So there we go—we’ve made a great start. But there’s plenty more to learn and take advantage of yet.