(The Hosting News) – Sites like linked.com in and myspace.com had been around for a while, but at the start of 2009, social media sites like Twitter and Facebook really started to turn heads. Consider this, the microblogging website, Twitter.com, has 190 million users monthly. These users are ‘tweeting’ about everything from #webhosting to #midterms and doing it every minute of the day.
So how do you get your share of the Twitter pie? Well, first you need to understand that Twitter is a conversation. You cannot just setup a Twitter account, follow 2000 users and start posting offers. No one will listen. A practical approach, with some helpful tools (which I’ll get to later) can go a long way in turning your social media efforts into a community supporting your organization as well as genuine targeted leads.
If you don’t already have twitter.com/yourcompany reserved, do it now; even if you have no plans on tweeting. Taking the 5 minutes to setup your account will not only preserve your account name, but also prevent another party from taking it and dragging that name through the social media mud. To really understand what Twitter is all about, find a handful of professionals and colleagues that are on Twitter that you want to ‘follow’ or listen to. Watch their posts and participate in the discussion. I guarantee, if you take 20 minutes a day to do this for a week, you’ll understand the power behind Twitter.
The more you tweet about things within your social sphere, the more people will follow you and listen to what you have to say. A great daily practice to get some Twitter action on a regular basis would be to retweet a few of your friends tweets, check and respond to a couple relevant discussions and share some unique news of your own. We’re going to take things a step further here though…
As mentioned before, Twitter is a micro blogging format – there is a limit of 140 characters. However, there are free services available, like TwitLonger.com, that allow you to post longer tweets. While you do sacrifice a link in your tweet to do it, it’s useful when you need more room to explain yourself.
To get more exposure and interaction, you need to know a little about Twitter syntax. The additional syntax shown below can help you understand your fellow tweeters and take your game to the next level:
“RT” indicates a retweet. When you retweet another user’s tweet, you are publishing their tweet to your followers. Retweets can be edited to include your comments.
“@username” indicates a message directed at a specific user or referencing a specific profile.
# keyword indicates a discussion. Adding #keyword to your tweet adds that tweet to the twitter-wide discussion on that topic – a useful tool to get broader distribution for your tweets.
There are hundreds of applications available to help your Tweeting efforts. Tweetdeck.com is a favorite of mine. TweetDeck is a desktop application that allows you to plug into and monitor multiple Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts (it also supports MySpace, Buzz and FourSquare).
There are applications (both web and desktop) for mapping the locations of fellow tweeters, monitoring the success of your twitter efforts, managing your followers, syndicating your tweets, publishing your tweets, backing up your twitter account, targeting your tweets and more. twittereye.com is a great place to find new twitter applications.