The How and Why of Twitter

Why Twitter? This post is in three parts:

  1. Why should you do it? (And why am I advocating it here, since many of you are interested in this blog for speaking/personal communications.)
  2. Beginning and Intermediate Twitter. (That’s me.)
  3. Advanced Twitter. (I’m not there, but will point you to who is, and ways to get there.)

So if you are already using Twitter, skip to points 2 and 3. But if not, here’s why…

 1. Why Twitter in the first place. Who cares about “What are you doing now…” chats anyway?

  • I’ve been testing Twitter (I think I’ll call it “T” for brevity) for the last five weeks for the ROI on time. It is worth it. And forget about the “What are you doing?” question – the Twitter folks should can that phrase. It’s for kids chatting – not relationships and business.
  • T is about giving value and getting value, and thus building valuable relationships.
  • Through T I’ve connected with several key influencers that are important to my business, and many new friends who aren’t. I’ve seen $10,000 raised in 48 hours just on T, and have already raised over $1,000 myself for The Salvation Army (my favorite cause.)
  • I’ve learned a lot by the references to blogs and other people I wouldn’t have known – useful business info and interesting general info.
  • T (and other social media) is a big part of today’s communication
    marketplace, and leads to the most powerful communication of all –
    face-to-face.
  • Because of T I tried to work out spending an extra 4 hours for dinner to meet with a new T friend (it didn’t work out though, but surprised at the interest generated by T for the face-to-face connection.)
  • Because of T I connected with and filmed Nancy Duarte and had an interesting post.
  • Gained exposure on several radio/podcasts/blogs that wouldn’t have happened.
  • Strengthened or renewed connections with friends and family.
  • I’ve been entertained. (And my wife has been very patient during the T learning curve.)

2. Beginning and Intermediate Twitter.

  • For the last 5 weeks I’ve been intensely Twittering. I have about 500 followers (friends or associates is a better word) and follow about 450. I’m not trying to build up thousands right away like many, but to find people of like minded interest and value. If you build it, they will come. Here’s what I’ve found…
  • TweetDeck is an indispensable tool. It’s a good interface generally, but it is essential to ‘Group’ your Friends. After a few hundred friends you can’t effectively follow all their tweets, so don’t try. Go into your Tweet Stream now and then, but group your best friends. I use A, B and C, with A being family and must see, B being interesting and valuable, and C being “Oh, that’s a good Tweet, let’s see if there are more where that came from.”
  • T has no rules. Too many take advantage of this freedom and just blather too much. They create Tweet Clutter. So be valuable within the freedom of no rules.
  • Give information. Reference a blog post, or an interesting article, or an Alltop link. Be valuable. I try to have half my tweets as reference of value, and the rest a combination of comments (replies), ReTweets and maybe a quote or proverb. Now and then I’ll throw in something interesting I’m doing, but maybe nobody is much interested so I don’t do that too often. But within your value you do want to show personality.
  • I’m amazed at the number of T “Stars” who just blather – or spend too much time talking to their inner circle, or just keep telling us “What they are doing now.” Who cares?
  • But you may not want to “unfollow” someone you know or respect just because they blather. All you have to do is to not put them in a group you regularly check. They can blather, but you don’t have to listen.
  • Another great tool is FriendOrFollow – where you can find out quickly, and alphabetically, (this is very time consuming in the Twitter application), who is or is not following you.
  • Use Favorites to favorite a Tweet to save it and refer or retweet it later.
  • I do look at people who follow me, and follow most if they look interesting, have a website, and have pretty equal follows and followers. And I look for new interesting people to follow through links from the people on my A and B lists.
  • Other good tools that you can look at are Twitpic, Twitwall, SocialToo, TwitStats, and if you want to know how you are doing TwitterCounter. And there are many more you will find once you get started.
  • If you have an iPhone, (Correction 12/9 Twittelator Pro CAN ReTweet – I just needed to read the instructions (here). So Twittelator Pro goes to the top. I had said) “Tweetie is the best application ($2.99 at the App Store.) Twittelator Pro is good, but you can’t automatically ReTweet. Tweetsville is great except it crashes to much for me, and Twitterfon is OK.”

3. Advanced Twitter

Blogs, and Twitter, take time. So I’ll stop now. But I hope you proceed to the next level in both.

And I’m at @BertDecker! I’d like to follow you…