Tim O'Rahilly Life Coaching

Posts Tagged ‘Social Networking’

Twitter Thursday #11: The Perfect Tweet – Why?

One of the best things about writing my regular Twitter blog has been the questions which it generates. Indeed, the series has developed partly to respond to emerging themes in the feedback I’ve received. This current posting is a good example and comes in response to a host of queries about the finer points of writing Tweets. I’ve had questions about the importance of spelling, grammar, punctuation, number of characters, content, readability and when to include links. They all come down to the same issue: how to write the perfect Tweet.

I have argued previously that Twitter is pointless without engagement. Even your closest friends and followers may soon tire of your broadcasting if you have not made the effort to build your own interactive online community. In order for this to happen, as my regular readers now know, there are four guiding principles that I use for all Twitter activity. Yes, it’s FIRE again! Are your Tweets Fun, Informative, Relevant, or Expert? By testing against these principles, your Tweets will reach their two main goals, namely READABILITY and RE-TWEETABILITY.

Whether you have purely personal, social or business aims in mind, Twitter is now fast becoming the most effective platform from which to engage with real people online. These may be friends, colleagues or clients, but twitter has given us the means to engage with them all. We can start accumulating social credit with our community of loyal potential advocates.

Of course these same advocates can soon become jaded followers or even influential critics. To avoid this you need to know your readers and always give them the very best Twitter experience. Your Tweets should be given the same care and attention as a poet does to a well-crafted verse. Only then can you be sure that all your followers will read your words and want to pass them on.

By the way. How about a quick maths lesson to finish? Let’s say you have 1000 Twitter followers hanging onto your every word. Even if they only have an average of 500 followers each, if they read and pass on your messages then you have a potential readership of half a million people! Food for thought?

In my next Twitter blog we will look at how to craft the perfect Tweet:

· Be a Beacon of Excellence

· Know your Audience

· The Optimum Number of Characters

· Grab the Attention

· Perfect Spelling

· Flawless Grammar

· Impeccable Punctuation

· Shortening Links

· Get a Twitter Buddy

· FIRE up your Content

Twitter Thursday #9: Tweeting Images

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then we have the ability to extend the Twitter limit of 140 characters with ease! We can add images to our tweets very easily and effectively.

There are now a large number of third-party services which allow images to be shared on Twitter. In some ways these have been superseded by Twitter’s own image sharing feature. There are, however, some good reasons to consider using a third party option to attach images to your tweets.

Flickr is a powerful image and video hosting site and only community owned by Yahoo! It’s popular with bloggers for hosting images embedded into blogs and social media.

pikchur allows you to upload pictures and videos, then shares them throughout your social network on Facebook, flickr, Twitter etc.

Twitgoo resembles twitter itself, but asks ‘What are you looking at?’ rather than ‘What’s happening?’

yfrog is a popular photo sharing site which now lets you chat with other users too!

By far the largest and most popular of the Twitter-related services is Twitpic, which grew rapidly in January 2009 after some of the earliest pictures of the Hudson River plane crash were shared on the site.

All of these sites are easy to join and easy to use, but it comes as no surprise that Twitter would want to add a photo-sharing service to its growing list of additional features.

With the web becoming more and more ‘real-time’, twitter is arguably the most important way for people to share content as it becomes available. We can of course (and many do) add links to images, webpages, blogs and YouTube videos to our tweets. But Twitter has now made it very easy to add images directly to any tweet you send.

In the past couple of weeks, you may have noticed two new icons appearing underneath your tweets as you type them. One of these is a camera symbol.

Note the new camera icon in the lower left-hand corner!

Simply click this and browse the files on your computer for the image you wish to add. Double click on the image and a thumbnail will appear under your message. Once you’ve added the image, the character count to the left of the Tweet button will update to allow for the number of characters used for the image’s link, which is how the image will appear to your readers once the tweet is sent.

The tweet contains 32 characters, yet Twitter is reporting that there are only 101 characters remaining.

As with all such features, the Twitter image service has its pro’s and con’s. Click on your ‘profile’ tab and you will see that all your recent images now appear as a gallery on your front page. This includes any images which you have retweeted. This can be great news if you have lots of pictures related to what you do. Share them all and they will appear to anyone looking at your profile. The downside, of course, is that if you tweet any images which go against your personal or brand values, they will now be out there for all to see.

How do you choose which images to post? You may well already know what my advice will be! F.I.R.E  your images! Are they Fun, Interesting, Relevant or displaying your Expertise? Then share away.

As with all these features, go play around with image sharing and have fun!

Twitter Thursday #5: Who Do I Follow?

If you’ve been following this blog series, you will hopefully be using your Twitter account to communicate Fun, Interesting, Relevant and Expert tweets to all your followers. But who are you following? How do you find followers and why do you follow them?

Usually the first people you follow will be a few friends or family members who are already using Twitter. You might then search out some ‘celebrities’ to follow. This can be fun for a while, but you will soon want to engage with people more fully and to start building your Twitter community.

A good way to start looking for people to follow is to click on the WHO TO FOLLOW tab on your home page. This will show you a list of suggestions for people to follow based on anyone you are already following. On this page you will also see a SEARCH bar and an INVITATION option too. The SEARCH bar allows you to look for topics or people of interest to you.

The 'Who To Follow' page. Note the outlined 'Who To Follow' link in the upper-right corner!

 

Here again I suggest that you apply my FIRE principle to anyone you might want to follow. Are they Fun, Interesting, Relevant and Experts in what they do?

The INVITE option allows you to search for friends or followers by name. If your search is successful, simply click on the green FOLLOW button and you are done.

Remember what a follower is:

  1. Once you choose to follow somebody, every time they tweet an update, you will see it in your timeline.
  2. When you choose to follow somebody, it does not mean that they are following you. They will have to opt for that themselves.
  3. If they do choose to follow you, then your tweets will appear to them too.

Of course once you have seen somebody’s tweets, you may feel that you no longer wish to follow them. This is easily resolved by simply clicking on their name and then on the green FOLLOWING button. That person will then become UNFOLLOWED by you and you will no longer see their updates.

It is worth noting that Twitter applies strict rules regarding aggressive following. By default, every user can follow a maximum of 2000 people. If you reach this limit, Twitter will then limit your following ability. This limit is different for everyone and is based on the ratio of your followers to your following.

Next time we will address the difficult problem of how to attract followers yourself. More importantly, we will consider whether you need a follow-back policy to help manage your growing community.

Twitter Thursday #3: What Do I Tweet?

Now that you are armed with all the basic tools to get going with Twitter, you need to think about what you’re going to tweet. This will depend first and foremost on your Twitter strategy – what do you want to use Twitter for? You can of course use it solely as a kind of online diary system by tweeting about your everyday life, or you can simply follow the antics of others without ever sending your own tweets.

Twitter, however, is much more than just a broadcasting site. It is a true communications tool which, and at its best, it can be used to create and develop real communities. Too many businesses sign up thinking that they can use traditional sales methods to market themselves on Twitter. Alas, it does not work like that. I would argue that anyone approaching Twitter with that kind of transactional thinking is doomed to failure. We need to develop a different mindset where we listen to others, add value to what they have to say, and then engage fully with them.

At its core, Twitter is about developing relationships. It is about creating followers, not customers, and it is about presenting yourself in such a way that your followers will become advocates. In order to achieve this you will need to be open, variable and supportive. Mostly you will have to be consistent and persistent, since none of this will happen overnight. Twitter success means a long-term commitment – not necessarily a commitment to hours of work, but rather to a little time every day. Your aim as a friend or a business user is to become memorable to your followers/advocates as a go-to person, both for your knowledge and for your willingness to share it.

We belong to a global community. More and more of our interactions take place on the internet. To be a part of this revolution you need to be out there engaging and sharing. You need to ‘go social’!

If your aim is to grow your business, you need to grow your social network and start gathering Social Capital through your online presence. Consider the kind of people you want to interact with and tailor your tweets accordingly. Be Funny, be Interesting, be Relevant and be an Expert in your own knowledge.

Start by retweeting others in order to build your confidence. Use hashtags (#) to start Trends, but be wary of the ‘Trending’ themes featured prominently to the right of your Timeline. They are often flippant, offensive (the worst of the internet tends to be represented in some of them!) and generally a waste of time. Also remember to never be drawn into internet arguments. There is no way to ‘win’ these, and they drain your credibility no matter what the outcome. Above all, write something every day – the internet has a short attention span!

Remember FIRE:

Funny

Interesting

Relevant

Expert

Go social, and have fun!

Twitter Thursday #1: Twitter Basics

 

 

Welcome to TWITTER THURSDAY, my new blog stream. I have developed a passionate belief in the power and potential of social media in its various forms. While the Internet and Social Media in particular often gets a bad press, I believe that if used well it has the ability to bring people together in a very real way. Social media can build meaningful relationships, cement long-lasting friendships and build Social Capital for its users. (I will return in future to the topic of Social Capital, but this must not be confused with the transactional thinking of sales and marketing efforts via the social networks.)

The simplest of all the current social networks is the communication site TWITTER. This is instant, flexible communication and has become a global phenomenon with over 200 million users generating 65 million tweets a day. Twitter differs from the presentation sites like Facebook or Linked In since it was conceived of as a micro-blogging site. It is primarily a communication channel, allowing its users to post information or updates about what they are doing within a 140 character limit. Any other Twitter users who have chosen to FOLLOW you will instantly see your TWEETS. Likewise, updates from all those whom you have chosen to follow will appear in your message stream or TIMELINE.

 

 

An example of a Twitter Timeline in action! The tweets of everybody you are following will be displayed here.

If you want to be a part of this great community it could not be easier to get started. Over the next few weeks I want to show you the basics of how to get tweeting and then how to get the most out of your Twitter experience.

To make your Twitter account, go to www.twitter.com and look for the SIGN UP tab or use the sign-up field right on the main page. Here you can enter your details and very quickly get your account set up. At this stage you need to think about a user name. Take a moment to consider what you want to use your account for. If you are intending to use it for yourself or for your own small business, then I strongly recommend using your own name if it is available. Whatever name you decide on, it must also fit within the limit of 15 characters for Twitter usernames. I will come back to the power of your personal brand at a later date, and of course you can change your username at any time.

During the sign up stage it will also be worth taking a little time to work on your concise biography and on choosing a clear photo for your profile picture.

You may well already know friends who have Twitter profiles, so you might choose to start by following them. If you just want one user to get you started then my username is timorahilly, and I will be happy to help you learn the ropes. It is easy to search for other friends or even celebrities to FOLLOW, and you will quickly build up a small network. Once your account has been created, you will be ready to take the plunge and send your first TWEET. Spend some time looking at what others are Tweeting about. This might inspire you further. I tweet and RETWEET several times a day, but tend to avoid the ‘Just going for a shower’ style of messaging.

A sample Tweet. The number of characters you have left is displayed beside the 'Tweet!' button.

Next week we will look at the basic tools such as RETWEETS, MENTIONS, REPLIES, DIRECT MESSAGES, SEARCHES, LISTS and the power of the HASHTAG (#).

Future posts will cover all important strategies for following, attracting followers, using the Twitter search engine as well as using Twitter to promote you and your business