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How many times have I heard “There’s no point in twitter”?

“Twitter is useless.” “I don’t care what you’ve had for lunch.”

Yes, I’ve heard all of the “how to twitter” excuses. But twitter can actually be an extremely useful business tool if used correctly. Thursday morning I’ll be featured talking social media on WFHG-SuperTalk with veteran newsman Steve Hawkins. Last week we covered LinkedIn in depth. This week Steve wanted to talk twitter. (Here’s that podcast if you’d like to listen.) Here are some of the tips I shared with Steve when we recorded the broadcast. Do you have others to add?

  1. Fill out your profile. Be sure to describe yourself, your work and/or your passions in your profile. When others view you and decide whether or not to follow you, that is the first place they will look. If there’s nothing there they may not follow you back. Furthermore, a profile helps determine if indeed there is someone you clearly do NOT want to have following you!  Then you can block them if necessary (I’ve only had to do this a hand full of times.)
  2. Use a nice photo or likeness of yourself. People relate to people as human beings and like to look at pictures of one another. It helps in relationship building as well as in building your personal brand.
  3. Follow people who have similar interests to yours: For me that’s professional marketing and public relations people and social media gurus. What are your interests?  Find the people who share them.
  4. Shhh, listen! As in all social media, listen first, then participate in the local conversation. It is possible to talk too much on twitter. I just recently removed someone from my local feed for “clogging up” my twitter airwaves.
  5. Share, share, share. Twitter is all about being helpful and friendly to others. It’s about relationship building. Share pertinent information and links. I have found that the good twitter karma always comes around.
  6. Never auto DM anyone! If you want to DM (direct message) someone be sure it is a genuine, heartfelt message. Please skip the canned spam!
  7. Use search.twitter.com to follow trends. This is a really handy search that keeps me up on “the news” often before the traditional media has caught on.
  8. #Use hashtags Hashtags are a great way to keep up with conferences, topics and trends or start a trend yourself. On Fridays you will see people using the hashtag #followfriday of #FF. They will post the twitter names of interesting people who they enjoy following so that you can  follow them. It’s one more part of the positive twitter karma.
  9. Find twitter chat groups of interest and participate. My two favorites are #soloPR Wednesdays at 1 pm Eastern and, when I can make it, #journchat Mondays at 8 pm Eastern. Check those or others out in your field of interest.
  10. Do not lock your updates. Locking is something done only by the greenest of twitter newbies
  11. Use twitter tools: There are all kinds of great tools available to help you manage your time and your tweets. Tweetdeck and Hootsuite are two of my favorites.
  12. Feel free to respond to someone directly with an @ message. Remember, though, everyone is listening! Twitter is a lot like cubicle walls; super thin and everything next door can and will be heard and shared by all. At least with twitter you don’t have to share colds and flu too! Hope this helps you. I’ll be tweeting you!


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MarketingMel speaks at Women's Expo

MarketingMel asks is twitter the new black?

Recently I gave a talk at the Kingsport Times News Women’s Expo at Meadowview called “Is twitter the new black?” I freely admit that title is not my own creation. Rather, I had seen it on a couple of blogs including that of The Times editor Jennifer Howze who says the following:

“Forget about ‘the new black.’ For many women I know, Twitter is the new e-mail. It’s more immediate, feels more like a personal conversation, and unlike your overflowing Outlook inbox you can control whose messages make it on to your screen.”

As someone who has been very active on twitter for over a year I quite agree! Email seems like a bit of a dinosaur in the face of a quick DM to catch someone’s attention. And as Howze says instead of a monologue to monologue conversation, twitter lets you be part of an online sharing of great links, photos, fabulous friends and more.

Recently I attended a local chamber breakfast when several people (tweeps) whom I had never met in person came up to me following the event. Each of them said, “There’s MarketingMel. Hey, MarketingMel! I follow you on twitter.”  Ah, the power of social media in action.

So, is twitter the new black? When it comes to personal branding, you might say it’s even better.

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