It’s easy to get lost in the sea of Tweets. Twitter initially started as a prototype, and is now a phenomenon. It’s the new way of initiating contact, a new way to disseminate news, a new way to share information, and a radically new way to do business. Saturation is the new problem small businesses, individual blog owners, and marketers face on Twitter.
How do you stand out in the crowd? Here are some tips on how to be the brave, irresistible Twitter user:
Seek out people; get their attention; and initiate contact.
If all I had to do was to Tweet and Retweet, I could automate my Twitter streams completely. I don’t do it because there are some things social media tools can’t do. Stepping out of your comfort zone, reaching out to others on Twitter, and making conversation is one of those things you can’t automate. Automate and/or semi-automate what you can. Go after people who you think will be valuable in your network and initiate contact.
Don’t ask for anything. Don’t even expect them to reply. Just go out and initiate contact. Find something they did that’s particular awesome. Did they write or published a blog post you like? Are you generally in awe of them and took the liberty to connect? Did someone publish a book or did you want to connect with the author of a book you just read?
Think about it. It’s a continuous stream of opportunities to connect on Twitter. Just because you get initiation rolling, you open a whole new stream of opportunities on Twitter.
Share Opinions, show your personality, and get bold
Meek people don’t have great Twitter accounts, in case you haven’t noticed. Those that get noticed are always the opinionated ones who blog, talk, share, opine, and let it all out. If you feel about something in a way, share it. Don’t worry about negative responses (it’s a good thing to get these because you then know that others are noticing you).
Justify your opinions and back them up using facts and knowledge, but don’t hide your opinions in text editors. Bring them out. Let the world know.
Talk about others, Make mentions
I know this worked for me very well because I am a nutcase, really. I find people on Twitter, check out their tweets, blogs, and other pieces of content, and then mention them in random tweets. Sometimes, it’s the other way around. I find awesome pieces of content, locate authors, find their Twitter handle, and mention them on Twitter.
A few examples:
• Did you find an awesome answer to a question on Quora? Find the person on Twitter and let the world know about the answer.
• When you read a great blog post, Retweet it “manually” with your own inputs.
• Make general mentions about people, companies, brands, or blogs on Twitter. Something like: “Did you know that @andynathan and @chrisguillebeau blogged continuously for 5 years?
If Management by Asking Questions has been a great way to manage people in teams, Tweeting by Asking Questions is a great way to create a vibrant network of Twitter followers. Resist the temptation to “Google” what you want to know. Instead, use the “Search” feature on Twitter, find someone who knows what you want to know, and ask questions.
Go for direct Initiation again, and they would love the fact that you took the time to ask. Alternatively, you can post a general question on your twitter stream (but the chances of this question being answered on general broadcast is much less and ineffective comparatively).
You can go one step ahead too. How about tweeting someone telling them why they thought X about Y? Why not ask for justification on an opinion they published on their blog? As long as you make sense, anything goes. Be careful though.
• @Example: You talk about promoting on Twitter. Why do you think it works when Twitter users are resistant to direct pitches?
• @Example: Could you suggest a few #socialmedia #tools for me?
Listen and Make offers
Is there anything you can give away for free? Be it products or services, chances are that you can do (services) or give something (products) for free. All economic transactions begin with an offer. On Twitter, making direct pitches is the last thing you should do.
Once in a while, however, you’ll see questions or problems that other twitter users face. If solving this problem is related to what your business does, why not make an offer? If it can be done for free, it’s even better.
A few examples:
• Hey @whoever. I noticed you asked for optimizing your website for mobile devices. I’d love to do it for you. Don’t pay if you don’t like my work. Please DM Me.
• @guestpostwanted – I would love to write a guest post for you. I’ll send you an email with possible topic angles or approaches.
• @someblogger – Your blog has potential. I’d like to write blog posts for you. Would you like 2 free blog posts to check out my services?
When you make offers, once in a while, you put Twitter to work for you directly. Don’t make it a habit through. Don’t ever pitch too much. Let your offers come in as an obvious response to someone’s problems.
How are you doing on Twitter?
Ashwin Satyanarayana is a content strategist, a technology aficionado, social media expert, and an Internet marketing consultant. He owns Fetchprofits — an online branding and consulting company which helps small businesses make their online presence work for them.