When I first perused Twitter, I thought: “cute, but how can 140 characters of text help my business?” Then, I began to see news stories and blog postings galore praising the platform and crediting it with countless successes. Finally, I started to pay attention.
Twitter is super simple to use. It takes about 10 seconds to learn to use it: 1) get a free account (or several) at twitter.com and, 2) say something in 140 characters or less. That’s it. Well, sort of.
Other people in Twitter land are searching for words, phrases or subjects that interest them. If one of your “tweets” (a posting) pops up and your previous tweets look interesting and engaging, they might choose to “follow you.” That just means they’ll get all your future tweets without having to search for them. Still confused? You’re not alone.
I once tried to explain Twitter to my British mother-in-law who replied: “in my day, a twit was an idiot, so I suppose a twitter is more of an idiot.” Actually, there are plenty of idiots on Twitter posting tweets about their favorite coffee joint or their opinion of the latest episode of Lost. But wait a minute… that is exactly the kind of thing people are searching for and you can make it work for you!
Twitter currently has a slightly younger and more techno-savvy demographic than Facebook. Most users are in their upper 20’s to mid 30’s. Most have multiple wireless gizmos and most have more than one Twitter account. Frequent tweeters prefer using a “Twitter client” such as Tweet Deck or Hoot Suite, both of which help manage it all much better.
To snag the attention of the average peep, you have to speak their language and speak about things that interest them. So, don’t be boring! Tweet as a person or persona such as TheCrazyCruiser, not as an impersonal company. Have fun and avoid advertising! That doesn’t mean don’t sell. Examples:Bad tweet: “Packages for the Big Island of Hawaii are now on sale through August 31.” Good tweet: “Last night’s beach scene in Lost? I take people there. Want to know more? Click here.” Bad tweet: “Whale watching tours are now included in all our Maui Extravaganza packages.” Good tweet: “Giant sea creatures shock stunned tourists and leave them in awe! Click here for more.” Bad tweet: “Headed back to the hotel for a nap.” Good tweet: “About to nap in luxury in the closest hotel to paradise. Here’s a pic”
Stop thinking of Twitter as a place to make a sale, and start thinking of it as a place to build an image, attract others, and make them want to know more. Just be careful or you’ll lose followers as fast as you get them:
- Don’t over-tweet!
If your tweets are monopolizing my screen I can’t see what my friends are up to and I’ll drop you like a hot potato.
- Don’t advertise
Build an image, engage people, entice them to click through to your website.
- Never span tweets
If you can’t make it fit in 140 characters, you’ve said too much.
Twitter is like a big online backyard barbeque or party. There are countless conversations going on and everyone is grabbing bits and pieces as they wander about. But, when a really engaging storyteller is on a roll, everyone stops to listen.
Become the storyteller. Be the life of the party. Before you know it, everyone else is talking about you and passing your stories along to others. In Twitter speak that’s called a “re-tweet.” It’s not only the ultimate compliment, but it’s how Twitter superstars get so many followers so fast.
Followers = prospects. Just remember, prospects still want the same fun and games that motivated them to follow you in the first place. The moment you start mass-blasting ads at them you’ll lose them and may never get them back.
So, happy tweeting peeps! May your re-tweets bring more peeps to party!
Nolan Burris is an author, former travel agent, failed musician and self-professed techno-geek. He’s also a popular international speaker both inside and outside of the travel industry. He is the founder and chief Visioneer of Future Proof Travel Solutions (futureprooftravel.com) based in Vancouver, Canada. Nolan’s believes that if can change the way business works, you’ll change the world. His goal is to spread the message of integrity and ethics in a techno-driven world.