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Adventures in Social Media: The Twitter Hurdle

by Shirley Schutt

Twitterlogobird If you’ve been following my “Adventures in Social Media” series, you know that I’ve been a bit of a hermit in the past. To be  frank, I never understood the value of Twitter. What is the point of cramming your thoughts and mundane musings into 140 characters for all your followers and the world to see? However, when I decided to leverage online tools to officially kick off my freelance career, my opinion of twitter changed.  It quickly became a social media tool I started to take seriously particularly as it pertains to staying competitive in one’s marketplace.

To get a better grip on Twitter and grow followers, I’ve complied a list of tactics, strategies and practices for overcoming the Twitter hurdle.

What is your purpose?
My biggest issue with Twitter in the past, was that it looked like a bunch of people talking to themselves.  However, we now know that this is obviously not the case – well, for most people.  From a business perspective, Twitter can be an extremely effective branding tool, to generate leads and build relationships with potential clients. Defining your purpose allows you to be strategic about what information you share and who you follow.

What is your strategy?
Determining a strategy can be as simple as re-tweeting once a day or sharing a great link with your followers. If you are new to the twitter, start slow and determine your goals.  If your goal is to gain followers or influence, your strategy should be to engage with your audience, build relationships, follow your admirers, and share great information.

Developing a strategy allows you to focus on small goals and accomplishments.

Grab a great name
Create a name that is relevant to your brand or persona. My name on twitter is @OhShirl as it aligns with my blog, OhShirl’s Fantastical Adventure. If you can’t use your name, you will need to come up with a good enough handle that will let people gauge what your interests are or what you do.

Appearance matters
Align your twitter profile with that of your brand. Make sure your profile picture is up-to-date and relevant to your brand. You want people to be able to identify who you are as a brand.  The background image is an opportunity to showcase your personality.  So, choose a great image. Try to stay away from the default images as it rings unimaginative.  I’ve seen great collages used as background images and I’ve seen some not so great images.  For branding purposes, I chose the same background image as my portfolio page.

Build a following
Admittedly, this is my area of weakness for me and many on twitter. Granted, I just started really using twitter, I am currently at 53 followers thus far. Sad. I know. Luckily, there are A LOT of great information and tools out there to help you increase your followers the right way.

Popular methods to increase your followers

  • I follow,  then you (hopefully) follow me back – most common way to get followers.
  • Share great information – people like interesting articles that they can share with their followers
  • Tweet often – Difficult at first but overtime once your voice improves and you build a network, it should become easier to engage within the Twitter hemisphere.

So, what are your thoughts?  Feel free to share your insights via the comment section, or follow me on Twitter @OhShirl.

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