By Deb Ng
When Anne and I discussed trading guest posts, I volunteered to write about social media. It’s my specialty and my passion. I also know Anne sometimes struggles with how to best use social media and felt my chosen topic might be of use. I’m only going to talk about one particular social media tool today, though. Twitter.
Though I use different aspects of social media for different purposes, Twitter has caused both my writing and blogging careers to explode – and it can do the same for you. It’s more than a place to share what you’re having for dinner or tweet out links to your posts.
Twitter is more than a virtual water cooler. It’s a place to meet clients, mingle with other freelancers, and promote your stuff. To some, it looks like a bunch of noise. To me it looks like millions of people sharing each day. Here are some things that happened to me since I first logged onto Twitter in 2007:
- My blog traffic grew exponentially
- I landed several clients who were Twitter friends or friends of Twitter friends
- I shared tips and ideas with other freelancers
- I’m collaborating on projects with Twitter friends
- I made many valuable connections
Sure, Twitter can be a lot of noise if you want to view it that way. It’s one thing to watch other people Tweet about random topics. It’s another to engage your community. Ask questions, comment and retweet in response to your friends and, yes, share links to your blog posts or articles. Once the conversation starts flowing, so will the opportunities. All of a sudden, it won’t seem so noisy anymore.
So How Do I Do It?
The short answer is to “just do it,” but there’s a little more to Twitter than that. Without friends and followers you’re not going to be talking to anyone but yourself. First, use the search tool to find your friends and favorite freelancers. If you want to continue to grow your community, see who is following your friends, you might find some interesting people there, as well. Finally, search topics that interest you. For example, I don’t only follow freelancers, I also follower bloggers, foodies, wine lovers, book lovers, and social media people. Many of those same people will follow you in return.
Now that you have a follower base, you can start Tweeting. Say hello. Tweet out a link to an interesting article or ask a thought- provoking question. Again, engage. It’s considered spammy if you only Tweet out links, but don’t let it stop you from sharing stuff now and then. Some social media experts say to have a 10:1 ratio. That is, ten conversational Tweets for every link, but I don’t feel there are hard and fast rules. Do what feels right. Your community will let you know if you’re too spammy.
Twitter is conversational marketing. You’re chatting with people every day, but guess what else you’re doing? You’re building trust. Here’s an example you’ll see me use often:
Say a potential client is looking for a freelance writer. Do you think he’d rather take out a Craigslist ad and browse 200 applications from unqualified strangers, or do you think he’d rather reach out to the writer he’s been chatting with on Twitter and he trusts thanks to their conversational relationship?
People remember your Tweets. They remember your blog posts, they remember your struggles and they remember that you’re the “go-to” person in your niche. Everyone you meet on Twitter is a potential client, collaborator or someone who will promote what you do…and vice versa. If you share the Twitter Karma it will find you in return.
Simple and Free
I could write volumes discussing Twitter, social media and how to benefit from the individual tools. You won’t find a cheaper method of marketing, and it’s so easy to use. Every time you use Twitter you’re building your online presence and adding some buzz around your brand.
What’s not to love?
Image from http://divageekdesigns.com/tag/website/