by Mike Fleming
I believe one of the main reasons for Twitter's existence is to enable intelligent and valuable conversations among people that share the same likes and interests. Hence, my search for those interested in marketing. Also, limiting the search to those within a two-hour driving radius meant that if I developed an online relationship with some of these people (that's what is supposed to happen, right?), then it would be much easier to have an offline relationship, as well, if we ever wanted to meet face-to-face. Finally, I figured that if I found some relationships that could be mutually beneficial in the business sense, it's also easier to do business with people you can meet face-to-face. And that's how I started my search about a month ago. So, how is it going?
It's hard to find people to follow.
Well, as you would expect, I'm having no trouble finding people talking about marketing within my chosen radius. But, as you and I would not likely expect, I'm having a heck of time finding people that actually use Twitter in a non-annoying way. And I'm only searching for marketing people! Aren't they supposed to know how to do this?! I guess my expectations were too high.
Out of approximately 50 marketing-related Twitter users that I followed, so far I've only observed about five of them using Twitter in a decent, non-annoying way.
Only 10%. That's it. What's crazy about this "non-annoyance" rate is that my criteria hasn't been all that strict. I know it's the beginning and I need to give people a chance. So, my criteria right now is...just don't be annoying. You don't have to light up my world with the greatest information of all time. Just don't do the following...
- Make your stream look like a real-time Google alert for everything that's marketing-related.
- Have a tweet-to-reply ratio of 100:1 (This should be closer to the opposite).
- Tweet about yourself every day (how have other relationships worked out when you were selfish?).
- Tweet the same tweet multiple times a day, once a day for multiple days or any combination thereof.
- Fail to re-tweet anything (like no one else has anything good to say or share).
- Not reply to a conversation I start with you when I put time and effort into a thoughtful response.
Now, this certainly isn't a comprehensive guide to using Twitter, and I'm not saying I'm a model Twitter user. In fact, I really just started to be serious about it. So, I'm sure there's some etiquette yet to learn.
Let conversations lead you to people.
My experience thus far has taught me that it's more effective to look for conversations you want to join instead of people to follow. Then, you'll find people in those conversations that will emerge as candidates for mutually beneficial relationships. So, if you're just starting out, I would suggest going that route at this point.
Think about your followers' perspective.
Twitter is about conversation. Think about if you did some of the things you do on Twitter in real conversation. Don't be that friend that tells you the same story a couple of days after he told you the first time. That's almost unbearable. Don't be the friend that talks about himself all the time and never seems to be interested in others. This is not how you win friends and influence people. Don't be the friends that don't return calls because they've been "so busy." I've used that one, too, and we both know it's just not true.
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