Twitter may seem like just another way to waste time on the Internet to many people in the Spokane area, but in reality the popular microblogging site is a powerful resource that can help people grow their businesses and increase traffic to their blogs.
For those who have been wanting to start using Twitter to promote their home businesses or other things they are doing, the coming new year would be a great time to finally start their own free Twitter feeds.
Many people in the Spokane area have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. Speaking from personal experience, it seems like a lot of people in our community are aware of the benefits of having a Twitter account, but they either think being on Facebook is sufficient for most of their day-to-day needs or for some reason they feel a little intimidated by the idea of writing tweets.
In reality, the hardest thing about writing tweets is getting used to Twitter’s 140 character limit. Most people are more interesting than they think they are, so it isn’t difficult to come up with updates about what they are doing. Especially if they are using Twitter partly for advertising purposes. Often, links to things people are doing on the Internet or online content they found interesting such as Examiner articles are enough to start attracting some followers.
Michelle V. Rafter of SecondAct.com did a great job of explaining why people who are still reluctant to try using Twitter should give it a chance in an article she wrote in June of 2011.
According to Rafter, “[In the frist six months of 2011], the number of U.S. adults on Twitter jumped to 13 percent from eight percent, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center. Among people 30 to 49 years old, the increase is even higher, doubling to 14 percent since November.
“The 5-year-old social media site, which lets people share brief messages of up to 140 characters within a network of followers, is a good place to search for a job, read the news or browse for information online. Businesses tweet to advertise deals and handle customer service. Twitter played a role in recent uprisings in Egypt and the Middle East. … when Shaquille O’Neal announced his NBA retirement, the first to hear were his 3.8 million Twitter followers.”
As social media expert Dave Fleet pointed out in a blog entry, there are a lot of useful web sites and applications such as Tweetdeck or Twhirl that can help people customize their Twitter experience and organize tweets from different followers in handy ways. But most people will probably be fine just sticking with the basic version of the site. Even if they start trending and have a few hundred followers, it is still pretty easy to network with other users.
The big thing is to not seem like a spammer or a fake account. People who only post tweets two or three times and then stop for some reason don’t seem trustworthy because there are so many fake accounts out there sending people porn, spam, viruses and other malicious content. But posting too much about someone’s own business ventures can be bad too, because some Twitter users find that annoying. It is a tricky balance sometimes.
Rafter offered some good advice about how to seem like a reliable real human being on Twitter.
“If the only thing you use Twitter for is promoting yourself or your company, you could lose followers, and some people might brand you as a spammer. Instead, social media experts recommend following the rule of thirds: Devote a third of your tweets to things you’re doing, a third to sharing what people or organizations you follow are doing, and a third to general news and information,” Rafter said.
Many Examiner writers have seen great benefits from using Twitter to promote their articles. Speaking only for myself, I have yet to master all the cool things that people can do with Twitter since I started using it a few months ago, but I have still managed to interact with really neat people, find a lot of relevant news and information that helped me write more articles, follow some interesting celebrities and increase my page view traffic. People in the Spokane area who are already conducting business on the Internet will probably be pleasantly surprised by how much Twitter can help them.