How do I use Twitter?

47 replies
Hi all, I just joined yesterday and am so busy reading all the posts on here and learning all I can. I have a website I am trying to drive traffic to and have been using Twitter as one source. I also use Plurk and was using Pownce before they went out in December. Anyway, with Twitter I am basically just posting my website link.... Is that all you do or is there more to it?

Thank you in advance.. I appreciate any assistance.
#twitter
  • Profile picture of the author Jeffrey Louis
    Twitter is like a social place online... where you tell what you are doing. Try to make friends and just have your URL on your profile. Talk about what your market is of course but do not "sell" on twitter if that makes sense.
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    • Profile picture of the author JamesFrancisIM
      Bad, bad, bad, bad, BAD!

      #1 rule of Twitter - do not sell or constantly spam a link to your website/blog.

      Think of it this way... You walk into a party, and start trying to sell people stuff. They're going to hate it, as all they want to do is MEET PEOPLE and have fun.

      So how does this link to Twitter?

      Well, your objective of Twitter is to make as many targeted followers as possible, aswell as enhancing your own learning by following people with similar interests to you.

      Targeted followers? Yes, the quality of your followers does matter. What's the point in having over 3,000 friends if none of them listen to you and are constantly spamming your update timeline? Basically, don't follow anyone unless they have similar interests to your niche.

      But to really make the most of Twitter, you MUST give value. I dont mean giving out $500 software every day, that's impossible (although that would be awesome). But instead, post links to helpful websites and informative blog posts (not necessarily your own), and generally HELP PEOPLE and make friends. After all, once your followers have been given a good impression of you, they'll learn to trust you and you'll join the category of people on Twitter who actually like to help people, and further down the line that follower may indeed be your first buyer.

      There's nothing wrong with posting a link to your website or your latest blog posts every once in a while, just state the benefit of how it will help your followers instead of blatently link spamming.

      In short: Don't use Twitter to market directly, people hate that. Just be nice, give value, and traffic will become freely flowing.

      Hope i've helped. Add me on Twitter at JamesFrancisIM (link under my picture on the left) if you need anything else

      - James.
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  • Profile picture of the author Karen Blundell
    well..be careful...I wouldn't just post your links because then you'll be pegged as a spammer. Post little snippets, maybe something interesting you are doing, or that you read, or saw, etc...

    comment on other Tweets, even if you don't know the person who's following you. You never know, that person could become your biggest buyer, or could end up helping you in some way.

    Twitter is a really great tool to drive traffic to your sites if used properly. Being successful on the Internet starts by building trust. I started out by giving away free stuff. I still give away free stuff because I really believe the more you give, the more you get.

    I wish you every success with your online business.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lavinco
    Did you watch the video that explains it all right from twitter's homepage?
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  • Profile picture of the author virtualmom
    Thank you for the help guys. I really appreciate it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dana_W
    Here's what I do, and I make my living almost entirely off Twitter these days: the majority of my posts are just conversational. Some of them link to my site and give away free, useful information - maybe 1 in 10. Some of them just give the info right on Twitter - like - "My clients find that they get the most traffic from PRWeb press releases, but free sites also are good for backlinks & traffic."

    I can get several hundred visitors to my website in a day by doing this - but I don't tweet links TOO often or Twitterers would get annoyed.

    The point is, use Twitter to show that you are an authority in your field. Show that you are an authority in your field by talking about what you do and giving away good information.
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    • Profile picture of the author Li Weng
      Originally Posted by Dana_W View Post

      Here's what I do, and I make my living almost entirely off Twitter these days: the majority of my posts are just conversational. Some of them link to my site and give away free, useful information - maybe 1 in 10. Some of them just give the info right on Twitter - like - "My clients find that they get the most traffic from PRWeb press releases, but free sites also are good for backlinks & traffic."

      I can get several hundred visitors to my website in a day by doing this - but I don't tweet links TOO often or Twitterers would get annoyed.

      The point is, use Twitter to show that you are an authority in your field. Show that you are an authority in your field by talking about what you do and giving away good information.
      Dana, it looks like you tweet a lot!

      How long do we spend on Twitter every day?
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      • Profile picture of the author Dana_W
        Originally Posted by Li Weng View Post

        Dana, it looks like you tweet a lot!

        How long do we spend on Twitter every day?
        Enough that I should probably seek an intervention...

        but seriously, I get almost all of my press release clients from there! So it pays off.

        And when I tweeted about PRWeb on there, PRWeb asked me to be on their consumer advisory council, which gives a lot of credibility.
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  • Profile picture of the author virtualmom
    Thank you Dana, I went back and made some changes.
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  • Profile picture of the author John S. Rhodes
    I Tweet a lot and have quite a few followers (nearly 2K).

    My trick is simple: Provide value. Lot's and lot's of value.

    I also like to ask for help with Digg and StumbleUpon from
    time to time. Works magic. Traffic flows...

    ~ John
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  • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
    The philosophy of "don't promote" on twitter or "don't post links to ____" is not a smart one.

    If I am going to post something on twitter its going to be because I think its newsworthy...

    90% of the time it is going to be a link related to something I am doing... and that might be a youtube video, a link to my newest product, or something I found interesting.

    People subscribe to my profile to "follow" me should know that besides work... I spend my other time with my family and kids and it just aint that interesting to strangers that I am going to post about it.

    Anyone who thinks its taboo to post a link to your blog or to some product you are releasing or even to some product you like or even an affiliate link to some product needs to get their head checked.

    I just sent $550 to an affiliate who tweeted about one of my products... and yes he used an affiliate link.

    Twitter is not that hard to figure out...

    Tweet what you want to tweet. Let the subscribers decide whether they want to follow you or not.

    It ain't no different than a blog or an email list... if they like what you post they'll pay attention regardless of what its about even if you do send them a link.
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    • Profile picture of the author Li Weng
      Originally Posted by Josh Anderson View Post

      The philosophy of "don't promote" on twitter or "don't post links to ____" is not a smart one.

      If I am going to post something on twitter its going to be because I think its newsworthy...

      90% of the time it is going to be a link related to something I am doing... and that might be a youtube video, a link to my newest product, or something I found interesting.

      People subscribe to my profile to "follow" me should know that besides work... I spend my other time with my family and kids and it just aint that interesting to strangers that I am going to post about it.

      Anyone who thinks its taboo to post a link to your blog or to some product you are releasing or even to some product you like or even an affiliate link to some product needs to get their head checked.

      I just sent $550 to an affiliate who tweeted about one of my products... and yes he used an affiliate link.

      Twitter is not that hard to figure out...

      Tweet what you want to tweet. Let the subscribers decide whether they want to follow you or not.

      It ain't no different than a blog or an email list... if they like what you post they'll pay attention regardless of what its about even if you do send them a link.

      I agree with you Josh that you should be promoting
      and setting an expectation in your followers that you
      will be promoting every now and then.

      But I disagree that social sites like twitter
      are the same as your list.

      Essentially, social sites are "social" in nature, and as a
      result, you need to communicate to your 'friends' or
      'followers' in a different way to how you speak to your
      list or blog commentators.

      Because unlike your subscribers, most people don't sign
      up to these social sites with the expectation to be sold to.
      They want to interact with humans, not businesses nor
      people who exhibit 100% commercial intention.

      I'm on myspace and when some network marketers
      start sending me very impersonal, commercial promotions
      messages, I get put off too and I ignore them.

      The thing is, it's okay to promote, but you can't be impersonal.
      It pays off to show interest in your followers not just as a potential
      customers, but also as a person.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shadi
    Originally Posted by virtualmom View Post

    Hi all, I just joined yesterday and am so busy reading all the posts on here and learning all I can. I have a website I am trying to drive traffic to and have been using Twitter as one source. I also use Plurk and was using Pownce before they went out in December. Anyway, with Twitter I am basically just posting my website link.... Is that all you do or is there more to it?

    Thank you in advance.. I appreciate any assistance.
    well actually no, twitter are through heavy account audits today due to the auto adder softwares and stuff, so just live it on on there and make it sound normal.. look for people with similiar interests, follow them follow you then post some catchy links, but dont make it seem like desperation
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  • Profile picture of the author KristenArnold
    Using Twitter to connect with like minded people will help you get the most out of it but there are so many different strategies you really need to have at least an understanding of how you want to use it.

    Are you looking to network and find jv opportunities? Are you trying to find customers? Are you trying to "spy" on your niche leaders and get the fly on the wall view of what they are doing?

    Networking, being authentic you, providing useful content while still showing your personal side are very important on Twitter. I always tell people that are just starting out go to summize.com (search twitter) and enter a few keywords in your niche or popular names and follow people in that area and see how they are using it, connect with them by replying and starting a conversation or adding to something. I'm not saying start by following 300 people but using the summize it will help find those likeminded people, then you can see who they are following and are following them.

    Hope that helps get a running start!
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    • Profile picture of the author lgibbon
      Banned
      I think twitter is going the way of myspace and getting over abused.
      I've had a huge increase in followers lately, obviously a bot adder
      because I hardly use it.
      I clicked on one new followers link just now and got the message:
      "Sorry, the account you were headed to has been suspended due to strange activity"
      Looks like they have got wise to it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dana_W
    I get those bots all the time - incredibly frigging annoying. There's this one that uses the same picture of a scantily clad chick and links to the same clickbank product, but dozens of them have tried to follow me.

    Re: posting nothing but links - all I can tell you is that I see people on Twitter complain about that, and it will cause many people to unfollow you. Twitter is a SOCIAL networking site - most people go there to enter into conversations with others. I would never say NEVER post a link - in my opinion, though, doing it more often than every one in five tweets is going to start annoying people, unless you already are a famous or semi-famous IMer and can get away with anything.
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  • Profile picture of the author doberman
    Morning Champion ,Twitter is an Awesome way to let everyone know what you are up too . I highly recommend it and you can embedd it on all your pages
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    • Profile picture of the author Heather Bestel
      Hi Virtual Mom

      I'm quite new to IM and Twitter but following Dana's advice, I've got a following of almost 1,000 already. It wasn't hard at all and I just twitter about stuff I'm doing or I have conversations with other twitterers.

      I've made some interesting 'friends' already. And I've gained a lot more traffic to my site. Good luck.

      Best wishes

      Heather
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      from, Psychotherapist/Hypnotherapist & Blogger at
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  • Profile picture of the author Sumit Menon
    Here's a tip... The more you talk the more traffic you get. I mean, if you just keep tweeting and don't take part in communications no one would visit your links. That's what I've found.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dana_W
      Originally Posted by Sumit_Menon View Post

      Here's a tip... The more you talk the more traffic you get. I mean, if you just keep tweeting and don't take part in communications no one would visit your links. That's what I've found.
      Hooray! All my babbling on Twitter has a purpose!

      But in general it's very true. Out of sight, out of mind. Join conversations, offer advice, congratulate people, offer sympathy, etc. - works wonders.
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  • Profile picture of the author kittyluver
    I love twitter to see more like-minded people. But driving people to your site is not all advisable as it would be SPAM.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dana_W
      Originally Posted by kittyluver View Post

      I love twitter to see more like-minded people. But driving people to your site is not all advisable as it would be SPAM.
      I've got to completely disagree with that. There's a right way and a wrong way to do it. TONS of people on Twitter tweet links to their site - and if they are tweeting a link to free, useful information it is not going to be seen as spam. I do it all the time, and I read other people's blog posts that I have discovered through Twitter all the time.

      When it CAN be perceived as spam - when people tweet links to a sales page, or when they ONLY tweet links to their site and never enter the conversation.

      But I drive hundreds of visitors in a day to my site using Twitter, and I've been thanked for my info again and again - I've never had anyone complain about it.
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      • Profile picture of the author Hesaidblissfully
        Originally Posted by Dana_W View Post

        I've got to completely disagree with that. There's a right way and a wrong way to do it. TONS of people on Twitter tweet links to their site - and if they are tweeting a link to free, useful information it is not going to be seen as spam. I do it all the time, and I read other people's blog posts that I have discovered through Twitter all the time.

        When it CAN be perceived as spam - when people tweet links to a sales page, or when they ONLY tweet links to their site and never enter the conversation.

        But I drive hundreds of visitors in a day to my site using Twitter, and I've been thanked for my info again and again - I've never had anyone complain about it.
        I've only been using Twitter for a few days, but I think one of the distinctions is people's perception of the value you offer to them. If you've built up a relationship with people where they see you as someone offering value, then they'll generally check out your links. Most of the gurus were able to benefit from day 1 because they already had an audience who liked their stuff.

        But, if you're someone relatively unknown, there's no motivation for them to follow your links, since they know nothing about you. The only way you could really convince them is by writing 140 characters of really compelling copy (or hoping that they're bored and have nothing better to do).

        So if you're new, I'd just focus on building a relationship and credibility first, then you can gradually start including links to your own stuff. What I see from most of the more well-known people I'm following is a mixture of random personal "what I'm up to" stuff, links to interesting stuff found online, replies to other Twitterers and links to their own stuff.

        As an aside, I read recently that someone masqurading as Seth (Purple Cow) Godin on Twitter had amassed a bunch of followers (who thought it was the real Seth) and was using the Twitter account to disseminate links to Seth's blog posts. Even though there was nothing malicious in this, some of the "fake Seth"s followers still got upset that all he was doing was promoting his own blog and not interacting with followers at all. So apparently even big names still benefit from keeping the 2-way communication going.
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  • Profile picture of the author DougBarger
    One thing that should be noted is that according to the twitter tos,

    posting of links is NOT considered spam, only the sending of unsolicited email is as per the true definition.

    Personally, I space out most of my links, but my links are always
    something that adds value anyway that people appreciate and thank me for later, but even if all I posted was links to salespages, it still would NOT be considered spam so don't be intimidated by anyone who tries to get you to think otherwise.

    Just posting the facts for those who appreciate them.
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  • Profile picture of the author djpatto
    Banned
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    • Profile picture of the author nmv
      Here's one way NOT to use Twitter (when trying to add subscribers/followers)...

      I recently had a well known marketer email me with the subject, "Your New Year's gift." I opened the email, only to find that the gift was his "Follow me on Twitter" referral link... Talk about a letdown...lol!

      If you just put "Follow me on Twitter" at the bottom of your emails of various subjects, you'll likely to get better results (even out of curiousity, as some people still haven't heard of Twitter). And if you do write an email specifically about Twitter with your link, be sure to tell people about its benefits, letting them know you've found a useful service. But don't present it as a "free gift" .
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  • Profile picture of the author Derek_Franklin
    Could a Twitter guru explain to me how you follow 1000's of people?

    I follow just a handful, and it consumes just enough of my time.

    Is following 'everybody' really useful, or is it just a means to get others to follow you?

    Thanks!

    Derek
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    • Profile picture of the author Dana_W
      Originally Posted by Derek_Franklin View Post

      Could a Twitter guru explain to me how you follow 1000's of people?

      I follow just a handful, and it consumes just enough of my time.

      Is following 'everybody' really useful, or is it just a means to get others to follow you?

      Thanks!

      Derek
      It all depends on how you want to use Twitter. I follow thousands of people but I don't expect to literally interact with every single one of them. I go on Twitter a few times a day, I post, I talk about what I'm doing with my business or what my plans are for the day, I comment on other people's tweets, I respond to people's replies...

      And the reason I want to have a lot of followers is because, frankly, every follower is a potential customer. I just treat my followers the way I would treat any customer - I show them that I know my field, I give them free useful information, and I let them decide if they need my services.
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  • Profile picture of the author Derek_Franklin
    Hey Dana,

    Thanks for the response.

    Not to sound snarky (it IS Sunday morning), but when you choose to follow 1000's of people, you're essentially throwing the usefulness of Twitter for YOU, out the window?

    The reason I say this is, how can YOU discover quality posts from others if you have to sort through 1000's of posts a day? I don't see how it's possible.

    I know this may sound harsh, but I don't know how else to put it: Following everybody that follows you is just a way of 'gaming' the system to get you more followers?

    And, if you choose this approach (of following everybody), you do it with the intention of simply get 'your message' out, and less about hearing what others have to say?

    Like I said, I know this sounds harsh perhaps, but I'm trying to understand.

    Thanks a million!

    Derek
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  • Profile picture of the author Dana_W
    It doesn't sound harsh at all. There are some sacrifices to be made when following thousands of people. I lose the sense of intimacy that I had when first started and was following a lot less people.

    But I look at it like this. Recently I went to a small local "tweetup" with Carrie Wilkerson, also known as The Barefoot Executive, and three other people. I learned a TON, it was a small intimate dinner, we could all talk, ask each other questions, and learn from each other.

    A few months ago I went to BlogOrlando. There were hundreds of people there. Obviously I did not meet and interact with every person there. Not even close. BUT - I learned a lot from the people that I was able to interact with, got several orders for my writing services, and had a great time networking and socializing.

    Whether I'm following dozens or thousands, and followed by dozens or thousands, I can only ever interact with a certain number of people. But if I have a lot of followers, and follow a lot of people, I have access to a much larger community and a lot more people out there can see my message.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheRealDomainer
    1. You use twitter by simply going to twitter and signing up with twitter.
    2. You use twitter to get traffic to your sites and blog
    3. You use twitter to follow people and make people to follow you
    You twit with twitter
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  • Profile picture of the author Derek_Franklin
    Hey Dana,

    So I guess, like you said, you have to make a choice:

    Either use Twitter as a way to discover new things, new people, and have *quality* conversations with a select group of people.

    Or,

    As a traffic tool to get your message out to as many people as possible.

    You can't have both, right? Because I was hoping you could.

    Thanks!

    Derek
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    • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
      Originally Posted by Derek_Franklin View Post

      Hey Dana,

      So I guess, like you said, you have to make a choice:

      Either use Twitter as a way to discover new things, new people, and have *quality* conversations with a select group of people.

      Or,

      As a traffic tool to get your message out to as many people as possible.

      You can't have both, right? Because I was hoping you could.

      Thanks!

      Derek
      There's more than one way to skin a cat, Derek.

      If you use a desktop Twitter app like TweetDeck, you can segment those you follow into Groups that you can set up however you like.

      This lets you segment your incoming Twitter stream into a few subsections that are easier to follow along and join in.

      The other thing I suggest is that people not get too hung up on just the real-time incoming tweets -- you can easily visit anyone's profile to get their entire list of previous updates. That makes it easy to "catch up" on ongoing conversations that you encounter midstream.

      Hope this helps,

      Brian
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  • Profile picture of the author Dana_W
    Well, no, I think that I do have quality conversations with the people that I talk to - I just can't have quality conversations with every single person following me, because there aren't enough hours in the day. I'm saying that no matter HOW many people follow me or how many people I follow - I Tweet, and I respond to just about everyone who talks to me....but a benefit of following so many people is - when I say somehting, there are a lot more people out there to hear it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Derek_Franklin
    Hey Dana,

    I guess what I meant by quality conversations is that if you have 10 close friends on Twitter, it's going to hard to find their conversations and follow-up with them due to all the 'noise'.

    If this IS possible, how do you find those 10 in the ocean of 1000's?

    I'm not necessarily talking about the random person that posts something interesting that you might respond to.

    Along the same lines, what's your method of simply honing in on a few quality Twitterers amongst the voice of 1000's?

    Thanks again. I do appreciate your time.

    Derek
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  • Profile picture of the author Dana_W
    That is an EXCELLENT suggestion, Brian, I really do need to start using Tweetdeck.

    Derek, to an extent it's just luck - I look at the Tweetstream, I respond to Tweets I find interesting and make a note of who Tweeted them. I actually favorite the tweets by clicking on the little star so I can keep checking on what that person said in the future - there are so many tweets being posted in my tweetstream that I would totally lose track of people if I didn't.
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  • Profile picture of the author Derek_Franklin
    Hey Brian,

    That IS an excellent resource.

    I was regretting the thought of dumping the personal benefits of using Twitter for the sake of building traffic.

    Thank you!

    Derek
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    • Profile picture of the author Justin Jordan
      Originally Posted by Derek_Franklin View Post

      Hey Brian,

      That IS an excellent resource.

      I was regretting the thought of dumping the personal benefits of using Twitter for the sake of building traffic.

      Thank you!

      Derek
      You can also have more than one account, using multiple email accounts, so having one for business and one for friends is certainly do-able.
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      • Profile picture of the author Carolyn Carey
        I agree with Dana in how to
        use Twitter -

        Just be yourself, provide good
        value, and let people know
        what you're up to.

        You'd be surprised at what
        people respond to, and on
        what level you can connect
        with them even on the
        smallest of things.

        I personally have one account
        for the majority of my followers
        where I let the posts "flow through"
        and respond to those that stand
        out.

        I also have one account for a
        few "intimate" friends and those
        whom I want to follow very closely.
        where it's easier to read all the posts
        and respond accordingly.

        It saves me a lot of time doing
        it this way and I can use Twitter
        for exactly what I need at the time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marciet
    This has been so helpful! I just signed up with twitter, came over here and found this thread.

    It's great when all those who are so knowledgable are willing to explain to those of us who may take just a bit longer to get.

    Marcie
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  • Profile picture of the author OmarNegron
    Twitter can be very addicting. The thing is a lot of people do use it the wrong way....unfortunatley.

    It sucks sometimes that the people I look up the most never answer me back....big no no .

    check out this quick video I made about twitter.

    Hope it helps ya!

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  • Profile picture of the author daddyg
    This is a really great thread...thanks for the TweetDeck App, I'll check that out.

    Twitter is really just another marketing channel. The same principles of email marketing and blog marketing apply...be helpful and provide value without spamming or hitting followers over the head with the hard sell. Oh and learn to write compelling tweets I guess!
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    Graham Cox (a.k.a Daddyg)

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  • Profile picture of the author Richard Martin
    Twitter has a side benefit in that you are able to develop 1-to-1 relationships with truly exceptional people that you would normally never have even learned about, or had a chance to meet, via that site.

    Note of caution...Please be careful with your Twitter password these days. I am getting a flood of phishing Direct Messages these days from folks that appear to have had their account hijacked, and turned into spam machines. Change your password often!

    Also, Dana's WSO about Twitter is a great one...I have over 1700 followers now thanks to what I learned from her!
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    • Profile picture of the author DIYDomain
      I'm also new on Twitter, so big THANKYOU to Dana for some really useful information. LoudMac's suggestion of TweetDeck is very useful and what a great idea this is, Carolyn Carey :

      I also have one account for a
      few "intimate" friends and those
      whom I want to follow very closely.
      where it's easier to read all the posts
      and respond accordingly.
      My biggest obstacle with Twitter was to get started! You can't start if you have no friends. But once you have one, it snowballs from there, people find me now instead of me looking for friends!
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  • Profile picture of the author DIYDomain
    It doesn't sound harsh at all. There are some sacrifices to be made when following thousands of people. I lose the sense of intimacy that I had when first started and was following a lot less people.
    Good observation. I have discovered Twitter even has it's own "society" with moral dilemmas. Sometimes you get asked highly personal questions about your business and it is awkward to answer without offending (you can't say mind your own business).
    LOL ;-)

    There seems to be a fine balance of ethics, polite social obligations (as in normal society) and business. It even has a few "snobs" ;-)... LOL. That I discovered using Twitter Karma!

    Andrew Baron - Twitter Karma


    Apparently some people will follow you, then "drop" you later, because it's "cool" to have more followers than you are following? (I'm still giggling about this one).

    Twitter Karma is a great tool to maintain balance between "mutual friends" and the "snobs".
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  • Profile picture of the author naphets66
    It doesn't take too long to get followers on Twitter. Just tweet anything interesting you have found, thought or done. Followers sort of snowball.

    The best way to start is too use Twitter search and follow anyone who tweets things that you are interested in or that has something to do with your business. Some will follow you back. Check out who they follow and follow them. And listen. You will get the hang of it by watching others.

    And just do it. It's kind of strange at first. Instant feedback on your thoughts. Even more instant than a forum.
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  • Profile picture of the author PassiveCashGal
    I do the exact same thing that Brian says with Tweetdeck! I love it that I can group my friends/followers in certain groups and respond accordingly!
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