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Don’t be scared of being a twit!

Don’t be scared of being a twit!
January 6, 2012 suecarr

So you’ve pretty much got the hang of Linkedin and quite a few of us are proficient facebookers, albeit away from the corporate world. So why do so many of us find Twitter to be a tad too scary? Is it the 140-character limit? The fear of posting something that is more twitty then witty? Twitter is perfect for content-rich industries such as professional services and a quick brainstorm in the V Formation offices has thrown up this handful of unbeatable reasons for joining the Twitterati:

It’s based on trust. If people like what you write, they will follow you. If they don’t, they will disappear.
It lets you engage directly with current and potential buyers of your products and services.
You can reach huge audiences – 50 ‘retweets’ can put your content in front of thousands.
It’s cost – and time* – effective.
If your clients and influencers are in the tech, media, internet, fast growth and start-up spaces they WILL be on twitter.
It’s the best news feed! From the Apprentice results through to the Euro Crisis Summit, Twitter gives you a quick and intimate picture of what’s happening.
Twitter can help you drive traffic to your blog and your website – and you can measure it through analytics.
*Keep focused and don’t let yourself be lured down alleyways of interesting (but perhaps irrelevant) content.

Getting going

It’s quick and easy to set up a Twitter account. Simply go to www.twitter.com and follow the sign-up process. Take five minutes to create a proper profile – would you engage with someone if you didn’t know whom he or she was or what they represented?

And then start to seek out the people you want to follow. You can use the ‘Who to Follow’ tab and see Twitter’s suggestions or type in your own search terms for people or companies you are trying to find.

You may be surprised to see just how many of your clients are already active Twitterers. Don’t be disheartened if your follower numbers take a while to build; if you moved to a new town you wouldn’t expect to be acquainted with everyone by the end of the first week…

Now it is time to find your voice. 140 characters do not allow for perfect prose or perfect advice. Keep your tweets (messages) short and tidy and don’t agonise over them! We give our clients (and ourselves) a few key rules for Twitter activity – and these are relevant for Linkedin too:

Be polite – thank people for retweets, follows, and mentions.
Be generous – share and retweet interesting content from others.
Be useful – seek out content that will interest you and your followers and tweet a link to recent and relevant articles.
Be honest – how many new clients wins this week? Honestly?!
Be appropriate – or perhaps this should read ‘Don’t tweet when inebriated…’
Be respectful – don’t hard sell or over-promote. Twitter is not about shouting at people until they give in; it is a communication platform.
Be findable – Use the # symbol so you can be found in content searches more easily – eg: ‘just found this great article on #leadership development from @xyz’
Be selective – it makes perfect sense to link your Twitter and Linkedin pages, but please don’t indiscriminately feed your tweets through to Linkedin. Twitter is a vehicle for quick and regular updates and your Linkedin connections may not appreciate their updates page being cluttered up by Twitter activity. Better to actively direct any relevant tweets to your Linkedin profile by including ‘#in’ in your tweet.
And do make sure you have a decent social media policy in place – we can point you in the direction of some sensible lawyers should you need one.

Find out more
For a friendly chat about how you can harness the power of Twitter, contact Hilary or Sue. You can follow the V Formation team on Twitter: Hilary Campton, Sue Carr, Diane Wood