Yesterday I blogged about the 3 steps to take to Get Started with Twitter: Create an Account, Download TweetDeck and Follow Keywords and People. Talking to different people I found out these three steps are the easy part – it’s the next step, of starting to Tweet that are more difficult and even scary: what do I tweet about? Who am I talking to? What if I say the wrong thing? What if no one replies? And what is there to tweet about anyway?
So here are 3 steps to take to start Tweeting:
1) Share Information – sending tweets with links to news and articles are a great way start tweeting: share knowledge with zero risk associated – you are sharing public news letting everyone know what’s on your mind and surfacing content for others. For me, the time to do it is first thing in the morning when I am reading online industry news with my coffee ands breakfast, send 2-3 links to Twitterverse as I am reading the articles, and again when I get back home in the evening. If you downloaded TweetDeck you will see it offers you the ability to ‘shorten’ URLs to 20 characters or less so they fit into the 140 character Tweet, so that you can fit in your own text there.
2) Recognize others’ content contribution – start following other people’s tweets and quote them, by ‘ReTweeting’ them. This will demonstrate your recognition of their contribution AND contribute to your pool of Tweets. So when you see a tweet that opens with ‘RT’ – that means the Tweet is being quoted, ReTweeted. If you see a Tweet that looks like this:
RT @Bob Anyone tried the new Kindle?
It means someone has quoted Bob’s question about the new Kindle to their group of followers. This demonstrates one of Twitters many uses to survey.
TweetDeck has a specific button for it shaped as an arrow, when you hover over someone’s photo. Click on it, and the entire tweet automatically appears, ready to be sent.
You can also add your own comment to the quote, adding value to it, e.g.:
RT @Bob Anyone tried the new Kindle? [Not yet, but heard it is awesome, wondering how it compares to iphone?]
3) Converse – reply to other people’s tweets. If someone links to a news article, a blog post, a video or any other type of content, and you find it interesting or have something to say about it , let them know by replying to their Tweet. It is important to actively demonstrate interest in the other, in the community, to be a part of it – very basic rule that is easy to forget. You don’t have to wait for someone to talk to you, to reply to others. A tweet sent out to the world is a personal invitation to converse with everyone.
Now all you need is persistency and patience. The important rule here to remember is that no one is your best friend or immediate loyal customer in day one. People need to see consistency of information sharing to start converse with one another. It’s the basic foundation of trust, which is at the heart of every good community.
So what not to tweet…?
Tweeting is an individual experience and in general has no rules of it’s own that applies everyone and every situation. The recommended guidelines to be applied and the most important rules to stick to are
1) One needs to be honest – do not lie, come out with declarations you cannot support later on
2) Respect ‘real life’ confidentiality agreements – whatever rules apply Mass Media, apply New Media and Social Media as well
3) Do not tweet anything you don’t want to see attached to your name in the Headlines.
And those ‘I am at my desk eating cheese sandwich’ tweets? some say one should count until ten before sending them out, other say that in a stream of valuable tweets they give some personal touch and background. Personally i think ‘ cheese sandwich’ tweets are OK as long as they come with a valuable piece of content next to it, e.g. ‘Having my cheese sandwich while reading Ambrogi’s latest blog post about social networking’ with a link to the post. And again, no rules, as long as YOU MAKE IT valuable to the reader, without violating other rules of privacy and confidentiality – the only way is up.
If you wan to hear more on this, join us for next week’s webinar on Twitter for Lawyers.
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