Sunday, March 20, 2011

It's NOT Just Twittering Your Time Away Part Two

Stay with me—this is doable!

Last Monday I gave you the basic course in TWITTER. To be totally honest this probably left most of you still in the dark, but willing to at least explore the possibilities. Now that we’re all on the same page, I want to share some of the benefits to becoming a regular Twitter user.

A Marketing Dream
Think of TWITTER like a short commercial spot during the Super Bowl—the place with the most viewers at one time. (See where I’m going here!) During those spots, some people are in the kitchen refilling their plate, others are chatting about the game, but a few are watching. Something in that particular commercial caught their attention. Those few spread the word and POOF a few become millions.

Twitter has this ability because it comes to us in short, 140 character bursts. These bursts are easy to share and reproduce. Remember our definition of RETWEET last week? Retweeting can cause a viral reaction—and that’s a good thing. Having a tweet that goes viral means your message is being seen by millions.

There are certain things that we can do to help others find our valuable TWEETS. Let’s go back to the Super Bowl analogy for a moment. During the game, some of us take watching these commercials a step further—we’re watching for certain ads—think of it as looking for keywords that pertain to our wants or needs. TWITTER is set up to accomplish the same thing, through the use of HASHTAGS # and the use of @.

  • HASHTAGS or # denote a subject. People can search TWITTER for certain subjects, like writing or publishers. So if I want a certain TWEET to reach other writers who don’t yet follow me I can insert #write somewhere within my TWEET. I started using HASHTAGS in my TWEETS and within TWO HOURS added 26 new followers.
A word of caution, don’t overuse the HASHTAG. If you use it too often within one post it will seem like a hard sell and you still only have 140 characters to get your message out.

As a TWITTER user, I search for these subjects and have them arranged in LISTS (more about LISTS in a moment). When I find one that’s interesting I can click on it to investigate further and then FOLLOW that person.
  • designates a person or a company. Just like I can search for a subject, I can search for a specific entity. I follow one geeky, technical blog called MASHABLE. I love their posts because I can understand them and apply them. Their TWEETS are even better, so I created a list that follows every mention of MASHABLE.

LISTS are a way of arranging information into usable knowledge. So how do you organize those lists? If you’ve spent some time on TWITTER you know your specific TWITTER page is just one long confusing column. I have the answer to that as well—TWEETDECKTWEETDECK, like TWITTER, is free.

TWEETDECK is an ancillary program that organizes your TWITTER feeds into manageable groups through the use of columns. AND—get ready for it—it also interfaces with Facebook and other social media outlets! So I have ONE (count it, one!) window open in the background, giving me real time tweets and wall posts. I can chime in (post or TWEET) anytime I please.

I hope this has continued to whet your appetite for all things TWITTER. Next week we’ll continue on with managing lists and customizing your TWITTER page.

Now it’s your turn. Have you gotten your feet wet with TWITTER? Let me know your concerns, questions and triumphs.


  1. Thanks for another great post on tweeting! Do you happen to have a list of writerly, book lover, etc. hashtags?

  2. Carla, great question! Yes, I follow quite a few hashtags, here are some of my favorites:
    #write, #amwriting, #publishing
    I also follow a great Christian publishing list - by Alton Gansky. You can follow him, @altongansky and sign up for his list on his homepage.
    Blessings, E