Twitter is many things to many people.
To some, it’s a powerful networking tool and great way to stay informed. To others, it’s a disrupter of established business models in many sectors, particularly media and communications industries like marketing and public relations. And for others, Twitter is a colossal waste of time.
As I encounter the 10,000 Tweet milestone, I wanted to share a few of the things I’ve learned about Twitter over the past few years.
What is Twitter?
1. Twitter is one of the most social of the social networking technologies. I’ve met dozens of people on Twitter that I might not have ever encountered anywhere else.
2. Twitter is like being at an always-on, trade conference where you can eternally talk shop and chit-chat in the hallways with interesting folks between sessions.
3. Twitter is epitome of the Thank You economy where giving, helping and showing gratitude rules the day.
4. Twitter has completely changed news reporting and most folks in the media are catching on.
5. Twitter is completely changing marketing and public relations, however most of the traditional practitioners in this space haven’t figured out what to do about it yet.
6. Since Tweeting is largely conducted in public by individuals, Twitter is implicitly a personal branding activity. Ignore this fact at your peril.
7. Twitter is contributing to shortening our attention spans, but there are lots of other contributing factors.
8. Twitter matters to us because it helps us understand what we’re thinking.
What to Tweet?
9. Twitter is for sharing what you know — both professional or technical knowledge, as well as wisdom and life lessons.
10. Twitter is for sharing what you like — people you know, communities (real and virtual) in which you live, products and services you use.
11. Twitter is also for sharing how you feel and how you think.
12. Don’t be a hater. Express criticism on Twitter as constructively as possible.
13. Treat every Tweet as a social object.
How to Tweet?
14. Tweet links to great content.
15. Always be familiar with the content you’re linking to.
16. When sharing content links, pull out a quotation or sentiment from the material and use it in your Tweet.
There’s no rule that says you have to share links with their default titles in title case.
17. When Tweeting a link to content that you loved, reference the author “by” their Twitter handle. That way, they get to know you.
18. When Tweeting content you found elsewhere (say on LinkedIn or Facebook), reference the source “via” their Twitter handle.
19. Express gratitude when people reTweet your Tweets and look for ways to return the favour.
20. Respond and engage with people who reach out to you on Twitter, but take detailed private conversations to DM or email.
21. Retweet without alteration when someone says something that perfectly captures your sentiment, where your first thought upon reading the Tweet was “Yeah. What she said.”
22. Tweet as if you are your own director of public relations and marketing, responsible for building your personal brand.
When to Tweet?
23. Tweet frequently and consistently in order to build your signal among the noise.
24. Don’t worry about annoying some followers by over-Tweeting because they can stop following you at any time.
25. Don’t Tweet poor quality content for the sake of frequency.
26. Tweet throughout all hours of the day and on weekends.
27. Don’t be afraid to use scheduling apps to distribute your Tweets through the day.
28. Ensure all Tweets you are scheduling are authentic and human-generated. In other words, it’s ok to automate distribution, but use your brain to filter great content.
29. Be careful when scheduling Tweets in the future. Very careful.
30. Don’t obsess on Tweeting during certain times of the day over others just because some report shows 13% greater response on Tuesday afternoons.
31. When scheduling Tweets, consider Tweeting once in real time and then scheduling a similar Tweet several days in the future. This allows more of your followers to see your content.
Tools for Tweeting:
33. Use the Connect tab on Twitter.com to keep track of your interactions.
34. Build lists on Twitter.com to follow key groups of influencers.
35. Subscribe to other people’s lists to leverage their knowledge of influencers on topics you’re not as familiar with.
36. Schedule with Bufferapp.com.
37. Follow multiple feeds, lists and hashtags, as well as post-date individual Tweets, using Hootsuite.
38. Do some research in order to identify popular hashtags to use in your Tweets.
Why should you Tweet?
40. Tweet because you’re a networker and love to meet new people.
41. Tweet because you’re generous and like to share — ideas, knowledge, wisdom, concerns, fears, doubts, etc.
42. Tweet to discover something you didn’t know to look for.
Tweet because it’s actually pretty fun.
So, what have you learned from your experience with Twitter? I’d love to hear about a relationship that you found or one that was enhanced by your online engagement.