Tom Scavo, long-time marketer, interviews for a job. The interview goes well, until the 30-year-old interviewer asks him if he had ever used Twitter as part of a marketing campaign. Scavo has no clue what Twitter is. His wife — also a marketer — later explains […]

OrbitTom Scavo, long-time marketer, interviews for a job. The interview goes well, until the 30-year-old interviewer asks him if he had ever used Twitter as part of a marketing campaign. Scavo has no clue what Twitter is. His wife — also a marketer — later explains it to him in under 140 characters, “It’s a social networking tool where you send instant updates to anyone who signs up for them.” While this is the stuff of fiction from “Desperate Housewives,” if Hollywood is taking notice, you know that Twitter has truly made it as a marketing and networking tool, and you really need to know how to use it.

Maybe you’re sitting there looking at Twitter’s “What are you doing?” prompt and struggling to come up with something brilliant to say. Instead of feeling like you’re storming down a basketball court for a slam dunk, you feel all eyes on you as you stand on the free throw line.

The secret is not to worry too much about it. Becoming a Twitter pro doesn’t mean you need to check Twitter all day long, always have it open, or always tweet brilliant quips. Just check into Twitter once or twice a day with these tasks in mind.

  • Ask for help: People love to help. Someone ran a “help” clinic on Wednesdays where people emailed questions for posting on Twitter with answers to follow. More people wanted to help than ask questions, so the program didn’t last long. Yes, asking for help counts as marketing. I asked the Twitter community for help with an article. That 140-character question turned into Why People Don’t Follow Back on Twitter (thank you, Twitter community).
  • Help others: This works for all parts of our lives, not just Twitter. The more we help without expectation of a return on the favor, the more people respect our expertise.
  • Search Twitter: If, for example, you install and implement a blog app, use Twitter’s search tool using the name of the blog app to see if people have questions or need help with fixing a blog problem.
  • Join Twitter chats: OK, so this one takes more than a few minutes, but it’s worth it! Many of these organized chats happen on a weekly basis and connect you with professionals interested in a similar topic. Learn how to join a Twitter chat and see the list of current chats.
  • Share news: Heard breaking news? Many people first hear about something big or a trend through Twitter. You can start or spread the news. Just take care not to make it about you or your business too often, as many people consider this spamming.
  • Retweet (RT): People love it when others RT them. It makes a person feel good knowing someone out there found his or her tweet worth sharing. So RT wisely, and you’ll have new colleagues. A word of warning, though: Don’t make all of your tweets retweets, otherwise people might not follow you back.
  • Post fascinating facts: Find a great statistic? Share! I discovered a great statistic on Twitter that made a great opening in one of my articles.
  • Take it easy on the quotes: Twitterers do enjoy good quotes, but not when that’s all you do.
  • Point to resources: Read an inspiring story? Disagree strongly with an article? Link to ‘em along with a short comment of your own.
  • Compliment others: #followfriday (#ff) encourages others to check out Twitterers they like. But instead of making a long list of names, give a brief reason why the person’s worth a look. Don’t limit it to Fridays; give kudos to those who deserve it.
  • Be you! Twitterers are a smart lot. They can tell when a celebrity is fake or real. It’s easier to figure out when someone sounds phony.

Change up the game and Twitter will become your buddy in networking, as it has become mine. Aliza’s 10 Golden Rules of Social Media also gives some great tips that you can apply to Twitter. Find us on Twitter @webworkerdaily.

What three-pointers have you scored with Twitter?

Photo credit: barunpatro

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  1. Thanks for these tips, these are very enlightening. I guess, this would apply to blogging also :).

  2. Hi Meryl:

    My firm is in a true niche: thermal engineering for electronics. So when we were thinking of whether or not we should use social networking tools we thought, “we are in such a B2B niche, it can’t matter”. But we did anyway. Lo and behold we have been surprised!

    we’ve been surprised by how many in our little niche are on Twitter. For one of our monthly thermal engineering webinars we did our usual email campaign but also included a tweet about it. Incredibly our attendance bumped 20%.

    I would agree with your post. Businesses should just jump in and take the plunge with social networking and not to worry about being “perfectly polished”. We are still learning alot about social networking in B2B, but, we think, even for niches like ours, it’s got true value.


  3. Meryl Evans Tuesday, June 9, 2009

    @enveloped, sure many of these can apply to blogging and other social networks.

    @John, thanks for sharing your story. B2Bs have been slow to adopt social networking (those of you already doing it — you’re rare!). Most of my clients are B2B and they are just not hot on social networking even though I’ve shared success stories.

    I even have a client whose clients don’t even have web sites. So I suppose every industry is different.

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