In 2008, companies woke up to the power of Facebook as a way of engaging customers, building brand, and selling their products or services.  Today, the hottest new marketing tool is Twitter: a social network that consists entirely of people exchanging 140-character messages with their friends, family and colleagues.

Just like black-and-white photography can reveal depths you’ll never see in colour, the short length of a Twitter message encourages new levels of creativity and effectiveness in marketing.

Don’t believe me?  Here are my top tips on getting started with Twitter…and each is 140 characters or less.


    Getting started

  1. Twitter is half mini-blog, half conversation. Read what others are writing and respond…or retweet (“RT”) inspiring/useful comments.
  2. Dive in by creating a personal account and following at least 50 people (you need at least that many to get a decent volume of content.)
  3. Don’t rely on Twitter’s web interface. TweetDeck (a free app) transforms the Twitter experience by making it easy to follow conversations.
  4. Watch, listen and learn before you post. See what kinds of updates feel appropriate for you…or like too much disclosure.
  5. Finding conversations

  6. Read or contribute to a specific conversation by following a “hashtag” — related messages grouped by including the #topicname.
  7. Find people to follow via MrTweet. It suggests people to follow based on who you’re already following.
  8. Find hot conversations and hashtag topics on Twitscoop. It’s a great place to start finding people to follow.
  9. Find other interesting women on Twitter by searching on the #womentofollow (or #women2follow) hashtag.
  10. Watch and learn

  11. (or serach from tweetdeck) helps you find who is writing about you, your industry or your customers.
  12. Follow other businesses to see how they are using Twitter. Learn from your competitors, and from forward-thinking companies in other fields.
  13. Follow your clients or potential clients. What problems are they working on? Offer to help, or develop services to address their needs.
  14. Building your presence

  15. Use multiple Twitter accounts for different purposes.   Use @yourcompanyname for business promotions, @yourpersonalname for networking.
  16. Do more than brag. Share insights and useful tidbits that create value or build your reputation.  Generous and helpful beats self-absorbed.
  17. Give people a reason to follow your company updates. Special promotions, contests and news updates (not too many!) provide tangible value.
  18. Get your customers to do your marketing for you! Run a contest people enter by sending a tweet about your product to @yourcompanyname
  19. Post updates when you write a new blog post, and include a shortened URL. You can set your blog to do this automatically.
  20. Loosen up. Let people get to know your personality and interests…but keep it interesting. Nobody cares what you’re eating for lunch.

Ready to unleash your 140-character brand? Dive in and start twittering. Meet me on #fwe and let’s see what we can cook up together!

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