I am no twitter expert, but I do love it and am committed to spreading the word to mom entrepreneurs and working mothers everywhere who could benefit from twitter’s powerful marketing capabilities.
I have been asked by some of my clients and colleagues to provide some tips on how to get started using twitter. Here are some basics:
1. It is critical that you include a picture of yourself when you set up your twitter profile. People want to know you, and if you don’t use a picture they’re likely to ignore you and your fabulous posts.
2. Create your twitter “handle” (mine is mombizcoach), but include your real name in your profile. So you might use your company name as your twitter handle, but you’d still put your real name (like Lara Galloway) in your profile.
3. Write a short, catchy bio that tells what you want people to know about you. Browse the bios of others to get the idea.
4. Include your website address!!! Do not omit this! It’s critical!
5. Start browsing around profiles of people. For instance, you can click on my profile, look at my followers, and then click to follow anybody that interests you. You must follow in order to be followed, so get rolling!
6. People will follow you for a variety of reasons. Whatever the reason, it’s fine. You don’t have to feel like you are going to converse with every person who follows you or who you follow. The great thing about twitter is that you are basically creating links between yourself and zillions of other venues (people) to market yourself. Don’t get obsessed by the numbers or the idea of being popular, but don’t just follow 5 people either. If you’re just getting started, I recommend you find 50-100 people to follow. Thanks to good twitter etiquette, many of them will follow you back, thus increasing your sphere of influence.
7. There are two basic forms of communique in twitter: Replies (always begin with the @ symbol) and DMs (Direct Messages). Replies are going to show up everywhere in your “timeline” (same thing as the news feed in facebook). Some people also call the timeline your “twitterstream” or “twitstream”… It’s the information that is being updated in real time while you and the people you follow post updates.
8. If you want to have a private chat with someone, click on their name or their profile and click “message”. This is like sending them an email. No one else will read it.
9. If someone makes a post you would like to respond to, I recommend replying to it so it stays in the public stream. For instance, I type a post: “Getting ready to listen to the Barefoot Executive’s upcoming teleseminar on building your list.” If you follow me, this will show up in your timeline. You could hit “Reply” and then the message you post will be seen by all your followers and will therefore help spread the word. When you hit reply, “@mombizcoach” will show up so everyone reading will know that you were directing your response to me.
10. “RT” stands for “Retweet”. Everything you post is called a “tweet.” To Retweet (or to RT) is to embrace the pay-it-forward attitude of twitter, and doing so is good twitter citizenry. If I make a post and it shows up in your timeline, you can help me out by spreading the word, or “RT’ing” my post. So if I post: “Join me for the Mom Biz Coach Audio Blog that starts in 10 minutes on BlogTalkRadio! Please RT!” You could see that, and then you would post: “RT @mombizcoach: Join me for the Mom Biz Coach Audio Blog that starts in 10 minutes on BlogTalkRadio! Please RT!”
11. The rule on twitter is give, give, give before you ever hope to get. That means share thoughts, comments, information of value and help others so that when you need help, or when you want to promote yourself, you have a group of followers who respect you and are willing to support you. If you only get on twitter and keep promoting yourself without engaging in conversations occasionally or without providing some good, valuable content, people will stop following you or block you altogether.
If you’re a working mom and wondering how this whole twitter thing works and whether it could help you grow your business, I’d be happy to answer any of your questions. Just leave a comment below. And hey! Be sure to follow me on twitter (www.twitter.com/mombizcoach)!