Twitter has been with us for a while now – about a century in Internet years. While it has changed and grown and evolved into a staple of the media landscape, many marketers have grown to effectively tap Twitter in a handful of useful ways as well.
I know, blogging about Twitter? How 2007 of me. (Just for fun have a look back at an eBook I wrote on Twitter in 2009 – Twitter for Business – lots of services no longer exist but the content is still mostly relevant.)
Like most Internet tools and social networks things change and there are always new and better ways to use them meet your objectives. Now, mind you I didn’t say right and wrong ways because, frankly, there is no right or wrong way, only the way that serves your unique objectives.
For my view some Twitter best practices look like this.
The first thing you must do in order to use Twitter effectively is to clearly state and understand why you’re using it at all. For me, it’s a tool to amplify my own content, filter and aggregate other people’s content and network for links and conversations. I always share content I’ve written, content and ideas I’m wrestling with and eight to ten pieces of content from others that I think is useful.
There are two primary reasons I share on Twitter. 1) – my hope is that people that follow me on Twitter appreciate that I find good marketing related content for them and save them the work of rooting it out themselves 2) – my other hope is that some of the people who’s content I share will at least consider whether my content is worth sharing. Networking in this manner is simply one form of the new link building. However, it’s still networking and will fail if the only goal is reciprocation. Think value and links will come.
Go out today and put your customers, competitors, partners and media sources on Twitter lists so it’s easy to keep up on what they are doing, asking, sharing and requiring on Twitter.
Employ 3rd party tools
At the very least get a Hootsuite account so you can follow your lists easily. Also get a Buffer account to make sharing content buffered out through the day a snap. Use an RSS reader like ReederApp to make it easier to scan for shareable content. Head on over to Topsy and keep tabs on popular content others are sharing on Twitter.
For this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I also sat down and chatted with Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella about some of his most recent findings on the finer points of Twitter use.
Zarrella spends more time than anyone I know trying to get at what creates followers and engagement in social networks in a scientific way. His book The Science of Marketing delves into things like when and what to tweet.
He’s created an interesting little tool called ReTweetLab that lets you analyze any Twitter account and discover what works best, when and how to tweet and what calls to action generate the highest engagement.
Dan’s work across all networks is shared in his latest book – The Science of Marketing.