During the recent Social Media Workshop presented to small businesses in Finger Lakes Wine Country, one of the interactive segments involved having attendees who had brought their laptops set up a new Twitter account and profile. I wanted to share a few quick tips on getting started and getting the most out of your Twitter interactions based on my experiences.
Carefully craft your bio
Use key words within your bio that will lead others with like interests or within your industry to find you during a Twitter search. Oftentimes, this bio will be the key factor in whether or not a Twitter user will opt in to follow your tweets. For example, my bio reads “Melissa Dobson PR & Marketing- Wine publicist by day, foodie in-training by night. Lover of the NY locavore/locapour movement & all things social media.” And definitely include your website or blog link.
One of the great ways to get started or to enhance your experience on Twitter is by taking some time to look around. Search for a few of your colleagues or thought leaders in your industry and click through the profiles of those people that they’re following. Follow those that are of interest and sometimes those people will follow you back. They’ll be privy to your updates and streams of thought and vice versa. Another nice feature of Twitter is that for those that follow you back, you have the ability to direct message or dm them which works as a private message sent to the person similar to a private instant message. Just be careful to double check before you hit update to be sure that you have a “d ” in front of the recipient’s username in order to be sure that your message remains private. There’s an envelope icon on each person’s avatar that you can click for a direct message.
You can also use the “Find People” feature that allows you to search and invite people to follow you who you have been in touch with on email platforms such as Gmail and Yahoo mail.
Twhirl and Tweetdeck
I realize that all of the updates and the fast pace of Twitter can be overwhelming at first. I’m a fan of using desktop platforms to manage Twitter.
Twhirl is a desktop application that pops up on your desktop and will also provide a notification sound when someone either tweets you or includes you in a tweet. You can customize the features to your liking.
Tweetdeck is another desktop application that allow you to set up customized columns to browse tweets by category, direct messages to you and replies to you from within the last 48 hours.
Each of these takes a few minutes to set up, but I find them to be very helpful in managing Twitter activity. Check them out and I think you’ll enjoy Twitter more than you thought you would. Join in a conversation that you’re interested in, click retweet to pass along another user’s tweet when you find something relevant and interesting. I just set up an appointment to meet with a local winery based on my interactions with the winery’s twitter user. Social media can definitely benefit you and help you to stand out from the many other wineries in your region if you engage regularly and authentically.