If you want to spread the word about your product, service, brand or Web content, than Twitter can be a good place to start spreading the word.
One of the many ways that people use Twitter is for word-of-mouth marketing. If you want to spread the word about your product, service, brand or Web content, than Twitter can be a good place to start spreading the word. Twitter takes time to get used to, and it will also take time to learn how to use the service effectively. Here are Twitter tips to help you maximize your Twitter exposure and increase your retweets.
Quick Tip: Webopedia’s Twitter Dictionary will help you understand Twitter terminology and slang.
1. Find Your Quality (niche) Twitter Followers
Figuring out who to follow and how to encourage followers is not an easy task. When people first start using Twitter, most will follow anyone who might follow back for no reason other than to increase their number of Twitter followers. When you have a large number of Twitter followers it can be an ego boost, but unless those followers are quality followers, the big number won’t fuel your word-of-mouth marketing campaign or boost your Twitter exposure.
When we talk about quality or niche followers, it means having followers who have similar interests as you, and those who also tweet similar topics as you. In general, these followers are more likely to retweet (RT) your messages to their Twitter following. Since a quality following of people will be more inclined to RT your links, this will expose your tweets to a much larger audience.
Tips for finding finding your quality (niche) Twitterers
The best way to grow a quality following on twitter is to find a few good candidates, who tweet similar topics, and start following them and wait for return follows from this group of potential Twitterers. For example, if you ran a fashion Web shop, here are some ideas to find related niche people on Twitter.
- Look for “Connect with us on Twitter” links on some of your favorite resources (e.g. fashion news and reviews Web sites) and follow them.
- Search Twitter for keywords. Using our same example you might search for #fashion, #style, or #shopping. In the Twitter results you’ll see people who frequently discuss fashion and retweet other people’s fashion Tweets. Start following those users and wait for return follows (see below for a description on how to use hashtags).
- Twellow, theTwitter Yellow Pages, is a directory of public Twitter accounts with hundreds of categories and search features that you can use to help you find people who discuss similar topics.
2. Learn to Retweet (RT) and Write to be Retweeted
Retweeting is crucial to maximizing your exposure. Let’s pretend we have an e-commerce site that offers content about fashion plus an online “in-style” boutique for fashionable ladies accessories. If you have 500 Twitter followers, when you Tweet about new products or articles on your site, you are sending your message out to your followers.
If none of your followers are actually interested in fashion (e.g. they follow you only in the hopes you follow back to boost their Twitter follower number) then very few will retweet your messages because it isn’t really relevant to their own Twitter messages. On the other hand, if you have a dozen followers who tweet about fashion, there is a much greater chance they will retweet your tweet, thus exposing your message to their own followers (who also might be interested in fashion and continue retweeting your message).
Another way to have your messages retweeted more frequently is to be active in retweeting messages from your own followers, when it relates to the topic you generally tweet about. Your followers will appreciate the RT and be more inclined to RT some of your messages in return.
How to Retweet (RT) on Twitter
Retweeting a message on Twitter.com can be done one of two ways. You can simply copy the person’s message to your own Twitterfeed and add RT @Username in front. Retweeting is a trend that Twitter users started, and it has taken Twitter some time to get on board, but the service itself now offers a way to retweet messages. From your Twitter Home page you also have the option to click “Retweet” on a follower’s message.
Twitter’s own RT service is the easier of the two methods to use, but unfortunately it is lacking in options. When you click the “Retweet” text in a twitter message it sends out the exact same tweet and does not allow you to edit the tweet to include your own comments. Often, when people use the first method and RT @Username they will add their own comments.
Tips for retweeting and being retweeted
- Keep your tweets short. You need to leave enough character spaces for another person to add RT @Username (e.g. RT @AuroraGG) to your tweet without having to edit any text. For example, my own username, RT tag and single space after the username requires 12 out of the allowed 140 characters. For best retweeting results, my tweets should never exceed 128 characters. Do your math and make it easy for your followers to retweet your messages without needing to edit.
- Want a RT? Ask for it! If you have a great tweet or links to an excellent tips or resource that is on-topic for your followers, ask for a retweet you may be surprised at the result. Many of your followers will be more than happy to send out your message when you add a simple “Please RT!” at the end of your message. Only do this sparingly and save it for the really important messages you have. Using it too much will be a turn-off for your followers.
3. The Importance of using Twitter Hashtags
On Twitter, a hashtag or hash tag is a way of organizing your Tweets for Twitter search engines. To use a hash tag correctly simply prefix a message with a community driven hash tag to enable others to discover relevant posts. For example, a popular hash tag on Twitter is #followfriday where users network by providing the names of their favorite people to follow on Twitter.
For example on a Friday I might tweet something like this: My #FollowFriday picks for #ecommerce: @Outright @PowerReviews @eWayDirect @BoldSoftware They often tweet tips too.
Anyone who types #FollowFriday in the Twitter search box will see all tweets that contain “#FollowFriday”. I might also use #ecommerce, so if a person searches Twitter for #ecommerce my tweet will also show in the search results.
Using hashtags is important for finding those quality Twitter followers and for maximizing your retweets. When you search Twitter for keywords (e.g. #SEO, #ecommerce, #gadgets or any topic you tweet about), in the Twitter results you’ll see other Twitter users who also tweet those topics. You should start following those users and wait for return follows. These people will become your quality (or niche) followers.
Tips for using Twitter hashtags
- Search Twitter for a number of your related topics to see how popular that subject is. Choose several hashtags and leave space in your 140 character update to include one or two with each tweet. This helps expose your message to others who tweet about the same topic.
- What the Trend? is an online service that tracks Twitter trends and explains why the topic is trending. To get maximum exposure, you should consider using some of the top trending hashtags in your tweets is the content is relevant.
Based in Nova Scotia, Vangie Beal is has been writing about technology for more than a decade. She is a frequent contributor to EcommerceGuide and managing editor at Webopedia. You can tweet her online @AuroraGG.
This article was originally published on November 25, 2009