Thursday, February 26, 2009

preliminary notes on Twitter Strategy and Methodology

You can have fun interacting with others online via micro-blogging / status updating. You gradually assemble an audience of Followers on Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, or some other short message service social network.

It's easier than email, and in some cases, a far more effective communication tool. There are many users, including myself, who pay more attention to their Twitter page than they do to their phone messages and email inboxes. Twitter is being used as the hot line, the direct route to fast, though brief, responses.

But why are you on Twitter?

What's your purpose or goal?

Reasons for being on Twitter:

* Make friends

* Share expertise

* Help others with non-self serving advice

* Discuss topics with others

* Share links to useful or interesting websites and online tools

* Distribute product information/benefits/testimonials

* Interact with others in your field

* Promote links to your blog posts (Twitter acts as an RSS type feed to your Followers)

* Engage in corporate PR

* Provide customer service (@richardatDELL and @comcastcares)

* Conduct customer research

* Drive traffic to ecommerce websites

* Seek the expertise of others

* Ask questions

* Tell jokes

* Encourage and persuade

* Inspire and educate

* Seek emotional support

* Let off steam by ranting

You may do all the above, or just a few. Some of these reasons for using Twitter may be beneath your dignity, or not in keeping with your personal style. Each Twitter user has their own style, content, and motivations.

When a Twitter user's profile is mostly @ s, replies to others, it looks like they're really into interacting. They're using Twitter as a chat room tool. It's probably messages about their life, their lunch, and their loved ones. It's not better or worse than other styles of Twittering, it's just one of the common styles.

In many ways, the Twittersphere is similar to the Blogosphere. Personal matters are discussed and global concepts are debated. Some users are irrelevant and not interesting. Some users are profound and thought provoking. Most are charmingly mundane and occasionally brilliant.

Professional users (consultants, businesses, marketers, pundits, authors, thought leaders) tend to blend several composition styles, communication strategies, and content types. Reports on airline delays, new gadgets, and tech conferences are the filler that professionals tend to provide, making us suffer right along with them.

It's always nice to announce you're about to do something (delete a blog), and be scolded by another Twitter user that your intended act is mistaken (spammers will use your old blog name).

Google favors Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce and other microblog tools. Why? Because Twitter content is fresh and frequent. Watch the SEO magic you get from Twittering links to your blog or website. Watch how you can increase rankings for keywords. It's very powerful for optimizing traffic to your websites, but you'll annoy fellow Twitter members if you're excessively self-promotional.

If your Twitter strategy includes promoting and sharing your expertise, keep a notebook handy.

Jot down thoughts as you watch the cable TV news or listen to radio programs like NPR. Copy names of books, films, products, personalities, or events you want to research or make remarks about. If these items can be, or are, related to your field, you can demonstrate that you're up on all the latest trends in your industry.

Put the Twitter update widget in your sidebar. This window into your Twitter messaging will then act as "hot new tips and insights", promoting your tweets right there on your flagship blog. Every time someone visits your blog, your latest material, your Twitter tweets, are there for all to see.

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