I’ll admit it: I was a Twitter holdout for a long time. I didn’t see the point of chatting about my life in 140 characters. Why not just write a blog post? Well, there are many advantages to Twitter that I didn’t see before. If you use Twitter as a meaningful social network, you can further your cause, strengthen your network, and learn about similar people/causes. Here are a few of my insights and “how-to’s” for a pretty ample foundation of followers and therefore successful communication.
First, let me start with the one basic rule of Twitter: follow other people. You can be choosy–if you don’t want to see someone’s new pet name on your feed, then don’t follow them. Most people will follow you back, and so this is a crucial step towards building your follower base.
Secondly, here are 6 strategies to incorporate into your tweets that will keep you and your followers interested:
1. Talk to other people. That means using the @USERNAME format. This way, you can enter into a dialogue with your followers, learn about their cause, and form a relationship.
2. Retweet other people’s tweets. Sometimes others say it better than you can. Retweets also expose your followers to different tweeters that they might be interested in.
3. Don’t be afraid to solicit for yourself or a cause you believe in. For example, if you or a friend is in a competition and needs votes, put out a Twitter blast! People follow to support, not to ignore.
4. Throw in a few quotes now and then.
5. Be personal sometimes. I use Twitter to further my cause as an activist, not to update the world on my oral hygiene. However, to make my tweets real and tangible, I sometimes post updates on my life and likes. It’s an ice-breaker.
6. Lastly, use links! Share what you’ve found online. Bring in different perspectives. It’s savvy.
Now take or leave my advice. All I can say is that when I look at a person’s followers, I look for an interesting list of tweets. Variety spices things up and keeps me interested. But within all these “do’s” and “don’ts,” remember to stay true to your cause. People will follow you for a reason (probably based on your bio), so make sure that’s what you tweet about.
Twitter has helped me in my activism. When my group, the Climate Action Club, was competing for $5000, we needed votes to win. I tweeted constantly. I gave people the link so they could vote, and I asked some of my followers to retweet for me. I also met the head of the Maine Merchants Association through Twitter, which helped me spread the work of the CAC throughout Maine.
So Twitter it up, my friends. It’s fun, it’s easy (unlike a 500 word blog post), and it’s useful. Get your work out there, tweet about your cause, and expand your horizons on yet another awesome social network.