Recently, however, I have begun to use it more strategically and have found that even with my limited reach into the Twittersphere, it is a very effective social marketing tool. I can send out a Tweet and within minutes I've seen the traffic increase on my web site (wesbleed.com).
With that in mind, here are seven tips for getting the more from Twitter and helping your followers:
2. Use the search function to find new users who share your niche or area of interest. This gives you more targeted Tweets, more likely to provide the content you want and need.
3. Focus more on giving than promoting yourself or your topic. Have something to contribute, not a hard sell. I have heard a ratio of 10 Tweets of content for every one Tweet of self-promotion is a good balance. Others may argue it's 20 to one, but you get the idea.
4. Use third party program like ping.fm to automatically follow those who follow you. This saves you the time of deciding whether to follow someone and it ensures that you keep a fairly even balance of followers to those your are following. The balance shows you are more socially engaged, helping you gain new followers.
5. Tweet over time, don't send out a series of Tweets within seconds of each other. This amounts to Twitter Clutter. Far more effective are timely messages sent out over a period of several hours. Hint: use a third-party program such as Hootsuite to schedule your Tweets hours or days in advance.
6. Tweet real information or tips, not your daily regimen. Twitter may have started as a "status" of what you're doing at the moment, but the real value is in seeing what other people are posting on their blogs or the links they've run across that contain solid information or insight. Stick with legitimate content and you will gain a reputation as someone worth following.
7. Re-tweet messages you've seen and feel others would benefit from reading. Your followers may not have seen the very same Tweet and would appreciate the information. You're also doing the original author a favor by giving them more exposure.
There are many other tools that Twitter or third party sites offer, but this should help get you going. What tips would you add to this list? I'd love to get your feedback.
Wes is a Chicago journalist, speaker and communications consultant. Book Wes today to speak at your next event.