By Meredith Liepelt
According to Mashable.com, a leading authority on social media, there are currently over 12 million users on Twitter. Another resource called istrategylabs.com reports that 46% of Twitter users are college grads, and another 17% have post graduate degrees. Furthermore, 47% are between age 18 and 34, and another 31% are between 35 and 49. Males and females are evenly ranked, with women accounting for 53% of users and men 47%. If your target market falls within these demographics, actively participating on Twitter is probably worth your while.
Twitter is simply a micro blogging service. What does that mean? It means that you write short updates (140 characters maximum) called "tweets" and send them out to your followers. And it is a marketer's dream come true — it's an easy way to stay in front of your target market and showcase your authority for free.
The myth around Twitter is that Twitter users (called tweeple or tweeps) tweet about useless information such as what kind of coffee they had with breakfast. Yes, some of that exists and it is actually important as you'll see below, but once you understand the power of connecting on Twitter, you may become a Twitter convert, just like me.
So, if you're on Twitter or considering starting, the question becomes, "what do I tweet about that will make this a useful tool for me?" Here are some categories you can consider for your tweets. There are others but these will get you started:
This is a big one. You are on Twitter to showcase your expertise, so industry tips act as your credibility builders. Here's how to do it: Create a list of high value tips (remember - no more than 140 characters long) and send one or two out every day. If you don't want to have to manually do this yourself every day, consider a free tool called TweetLater.com to set up your tweets in advance. If your tweets are really good, others will send them out to their lists as well. This is called a "re-tweet," and it's a super way to quickly build your list of targeted followers.
Here is one of my recent tweets that had a great response:
Connect Others: Be willing to connect others even if it has nothing to do with your business. What goes around, comes around.
About Your Business
Use this category sparingly. In other words, if you use Twitter as a place to advertise your products and services too much, people will stop following you. This is not what Twitter is about. It is really about raising awareness of you and your business and impacting others. Use the 80/20 rule here. For every eight tweets about things other than your business, you can post two things about your business.
Here is an example:
Hey Columbus: I'll be on Fox tomorrow at 7:45 where you can see me interviewed about my new book, Flourish!
When someone re-tweets you, they are giving you the highest compliment you can get on Twitter! It means that the person who re-tweeted you thinks that what you said is worth sharing with their own list of followers. This is like having someone ask you to a meeting so they can introduce you their entire list of contacts. When you get a re-tweet, send them a short tweet thanking them! Re-tweet others who are tweeting things that you agree with or want your followers to read.
If you are not familiar with Twitter, the example below probably won't make a lot of sense because of all of the abbreviations, but they are necessary given that you only have 140 characters. Abbreviations are outside the scope of this article, but just know that it's really not as scary as it looks!
RT @getgreatcopy: New blog post: The Sixth Habit of Highly Effective Communicators http://bit.ly/ 175XGS Gr8 stuff Jan, as usual.
Tweeps seem to love quotes. If you are also a fan of quotes, compile a list and send one or two out every day. Again, you can use TweetLater.com to set these up in advance so you don't have to manually enter them every day. Simply set up these tweets for a month and then watch your re-tweets happen!
Here's an example of one that I recently posted:
"The pursuit of pleasure must be the goal of every rational person." Voltaire
Invite tweeps to your free events. No-cost events like teleseminars are great to tweet about because people love to share high-value, low-cost information with their lists. When you provide something without a cost - a workshop, teleseminar or report, your tweets about it are likely to get re-tweeted, which provides you with greater exposure to your target market.
Here's an example of one of my recent posts:
How 2 write your book in a weekend - free telesemimar w/ @donnakozik. http://bit.ly/127GtU
Include some personal things that are going on with your life. What you choose to include is entirely up to you; however, be sure to be relatable. You don't have to share your deepest inner thoughts or too much detail about your family, but sharing something about what you did over the weekend makes you more relatatable. Remember, Twitter is about connecting with people. Other people on Twitter want to connect with people - not stale businesses. People often connect on a personal level over food, pets or hobbies. This is why these seemingly unimportant tweets are actually very fruitful. These are pretty safe personal topics. General things about kids are another hot topic under this category. Just be aware that anything you say is out there for the world to read.
Here's an example I tweeted recently:
Interesting pop culture moment: Told a story to my sister, who lives in Vietnam & realized she doesn't know who Sara Jessica Parker is!
As you can see, Twitter is simply an online forum for connecting with others in 140 characters or less. Big and small brands are using Twitter to connect and impact their target markets and locate joint ventures. Can you, too?
About the Author
Meredith Liepelt, President of Rich Life Marketing, offers a free report called "101 Ways to Attract Ideal Clients, Build Your List and Raise Your Profile," which can be downloaded immediately at www.RichLifeMarketing.com.