There was a good article for Twitter newbies in this weekend’s Business Section of the Vancouver Sun called “Twitter Away, someone’s listening”. The article covers all the basics of Twittering: Tweets, Replies, Direct Messages, Links, Retweets and is a great read for anyone new to Twitter wondering how to get going.
What the article doesn’t cover in detail is why you would want to Twitter in the first place. This is a major consideration especially from a business perspective. Its true that Twitter is growing at a phenomenal rate: over 700% last year, and has over 4.5 million active users but these aren’t reason enough.
There are many business advantages to Twitter such as to learn, advertise and increase brand exposure but Twitter can be quite a distraction and if you don’t know why you are there or what you’re strategy is you can end up whittling away a lot of time with little to show for it in the end.
It is important (especially for business people) to have a Twitter strategy, to schedule Twitter time and to use Twitter as a marketing, PR or communications tools.
A good Twitter strategy should include who you follow – be selective and always check out the bio and links of people who are following you: don’t automatically follow people back. And don’t assume that just because someone is has thousands of people following them that their Tweets will be of interest (a few of these people really do put the “me” in social media). Take a look look at a couple of pages of their Tweets to make sure they add value in your area of expertise or target market.
The Sun is great for newcomers to Twitter or to those who have heard about it and are wondering what its all about and if you fit in these categories, I encourage you all to take a look but before you get too far, take time to work out how you are going to use this social networking tool productively.