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How to use Twitter Effectively

By Belinda Whittaker at SocialBakers:
Are you getting what you want from Twitter? Whether you are a pure beginnerwith few tweets and an egg as your profile picture or someone who tweets daily,here are a few points that will help you get the most out of your Twitter.
Be Social!
While this may sounds obvious, too often individuals and businesses set up aTwitter account in order to create another direct marketing channel. They wantfollowers and they want their message to be spread through their followers butthey become discouraged when they can’t reach that goal. Remember that Twitteris about conversations, so if you enter the “Twitter-verse” only talkingabout yourself, your company, and what interested you – you will become“that guy” at the party that everyone starts to avoid.
Want to be the life of the party? Tweet things that are interesting andengaging of course, but be social with your followers. You can see yourfollowers’ tweets in your timeline and when you hover over a specific tweetyou will see the option to “retweet” the message. Another option is that youcan choose “reply” to the tweet, so you can speak to your follower directly.By taking interest in your followers, you create relationships and build socialmedia equity.
Follow Back
Reciprocity is a key element of Twitter culture. Keep notice of those who arefollowing you and follow them back. Twitter has made this more transparent, nowwhen you click on followers you will see next to each person the option tofollow them if you aren’t already. Debates have raged over the years aboutthis issue and I’ve heard all of the complaints – to many followers is toomuch noise, the feed moves too quickly, etc – however during those years bothgood business practice and Twitter-etiquette has shown that following backbrings more followers.
Each time that someone follows you, you have a chance to engage with themwhen you follow back by sending them a message thanking them for following youand letting them know that you’re interested in learning more about them. Alsoif you are worried about too much “noise” in your Twitter feed, then be sureto use the LISTS options to separate those you are following into differentgroups so you easily filter out the noise and highlight the conversations youwant to follow. Another great way to manage your list and conversations is byusing TweetDeck, a free application thatcan be used on your desktop as well as on your android or iphone.
Find New People to Follow
The easiest way to find new people to follow is by clicking on “Who toFollow.” Twitter will suggest followers based on who you follow, who theyfollow, and similar interests you share. While this is a great resource, youwill be limiting yourself if this is the only function you use. One of the bestways to find interesting followers, who may also be potential leads for you andyour business, is to monitor conversations around key words. Twitter hassignificantly improved their search function since the spring, so now you cansimply search on any key word to see who is using that key word in theirtweets.
Use Hashtags
If you’re not using Hashtagsthen you are missing out on the opportunity to spread your message to a muchwider audience. Hashtags act as a kind of standardized search function onTwitter so that people who are not following each other can still haveconversations around a certain topics. This is often used for general topicslike #socialmedia, specific events like #w2s for the Web 2.0 Summit in SanFrancisco this October, and even television shows and news programs like#theoffice or #bbc.
If you want find out what a hashtag is being used for, you can look it up onhashtag.org which is an excellent resourcethat will show you how popular the tag is and even which days of the week andtimes of the day it is most popular. One of my favorite new resources is Trendsmap, which shows a real-time mapping ofTwitter trends across the world. You can either look at a specific location tosee which hashtags are trending, or you can look up a specific hashtag and seein which parts of the world people are using it.
All in all this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Twitterresources. However by starting with these four suggestions, you’ll see yourfollows grow, your message spread, and your enjoyment of Twitter increase.Don’t forget to check out Socialbakers Twitterstatistics!

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