Tips for getting started on using Twitter for Business:
The first thing to remember is that no-one, repeat, NO-ONE, ever joined a social network to be sold to.
If you try that you’ll be ignored.
The way to use Twitter for business is exactly the same as face to face networking but without the physical boundaries: be interested, be interesting, be helpful, be polite, be funny (if it comes naturally), have opinions, have fun, mix social chat with business chat, give referrals, thank people who’ve helped you, listen more than you talk.
1. Make your profile public: You want to connect with people so keep your account open.
2. Choose a Twitter name that is your entire name or at least your first name and last initial or a variation of your name. Be sure your real name is somewhere on your public profile. People want to know YOU before they’ll be interested in your business. Using a business name and /or logo is a big barrier.
3. Fill in your location with your real location: This means, for example, Cambridge UK, not an iphone location, not *everywhere*, not UK, not *the universe*, not *under your sofa*. This will connect you with others in your area with whom you can network in real life. Twitter is a worldwide network and connecting with people in a different time zone brings its own challenges.
4. Work on your bio so that it says something about your business activities, using a keyword that will show up in searches but also displays your personality. You’ve got 160 characters to make the equivalent of a first impression when you walk into a room full of strangers.
5. Choose an avatar photo that is attractive and shows your eyes: There is a huge amount of research that shows the psychological impact of eye contact and a genuine smile, even in a photo.
6. Choose your link URL wisely: If you have a website or blog link to that or to your Linkedin or Facebook Business Page.
7. Start following others slowly: Find relevant people in your business or with related interests and follow just a very few at a time. There is no science to this but try not to follow lots more people than those who follow you.
8. Don’t just follow anyone: Following people just because they follow you is not a requirement in Twitter. Following back should be reserved for people you are genuinely interested in learning from and about.
9. Pay attention to others’ tweets: You will learn a lot by just “listening.” When the time is right (you see something you want to comment on or you want to thank someone for sharing something send them an “@” message. These tweets are the beginnings of real conversations with people who may one day become part of your professional network.
10. Retweet judiciously: When you read something that really means something to you or you think some of your followers might appreciate retweet (RT) it. Add a comment to explain why you like it.
My additional tips:
Start using Hootsuite or Tweetdeck as they make using Twitter much easier.
Never automate anything except blog posts and don’t swamp people by posting them too often.
Don’t use bots or apps or auto-Direct Messaging to thank people for following or interacting with you. A thank you from a robot is like Don Draper’s wife getting a present sent by his secretary.
Don’t outsource your Twitter activity – its about making relationships not banging out cheap marketing messages.
Don’t DM (Direct Message) anyone unless its something really private and personal. Especially don’t automate DMs to new followers.
If you’re mentioned in a list don’t RT it to the whole list – it’s annoying and makes you look needy.