Social networking using Twitter seems to be the most popular way to connect today, from celebrity Ashton Kutcher’s challenge to Oprah to reach one million friends first (Ashton won) to a U.S. State Department official contacting the co-founder of Twitter to delay upgrading the Twitter system so as not to interrupt election dialogue in Iran. More and more news agencies are using Twitter to keep their audience up-to-date, and local businesses are also jumping on the Twitter bandwagon as an immediate way to connect with their customers, as well.
How can you make the best use of Twitter in your business? It all starts with having followers in your target market. No doubt you’ve been inundated with email offers of things like “10,000 Twitter followers in 60 seconds for only $19.95!” Trust me — 1000 followers that are members of your target market are much more useful to the growth of your business via social networking than 10,000 followers that come from anywhere.
How do you find members of your target market on Twitter? Here are my top 7 strategies:
1. Add people you know in your industry. Twitter permits people to use fictitious names or business names as their Twitter identity, rather than their given name. So, it may be difficult at times to find the person you’re seeking, especially if she goes by “ShoeDiva” on Twitter and you know her as Miranda Smith. Try Twitter Search, http://search.twitter.com or Advanced Search, http://search.twitter.com/advanced to help you in your quest.
2. Find others with the same interests or serving the same target market. The online yellow pages of Twitter users, Twellow.com, permits users to list themselves by industry and interests. If your business isn’t currently listed on Twellow, take a few minutes to do that right away.
3. Follow those in the same geographic region. If marketing to your local area is an important part of your business, find local members of your target market by using Twellowhood.com or TwitterLocal.com and find the top movers and shakers in your region, as well as some members of your target market. If you want to meet fellow Tweeps face-to-face, search local Tweetups at TwtVite,com, or create your own gathering.
4. Get relevant recommendations. The free service, MrTweet.com, will provide you with info on recommended people to follow based on your current Twitter profile. You do have to follow MrTweet in order to participate. Once you’re logged in, you can see your recommendations, along with how these recommendations are connected to your list of followers. You can evaluate your recommendations, and MrTweet will make changes in your recommended list accordingly.
5. Follow those who follow you. It’s considered good Twitter etiquette to follow those people who’ve chosen to follow you. And, to prevent being labeled a Twitter snob, ideally you should be following more people than are following you. I have automated my ability to follow my followers by using a free version of TweetLater.com.
6. Look for keywords. Another way to find relevant followers is to keep track of people mentioning certain keywords in their Tweets. I do that through the free version of TweetLater.com. I use this same service to keep track of any mentions of me or my company on Twitter in the very same way I use Google Alerts.
7. Find groups. Twibes.com permits you to find groups by industry and interest and join them and/or see the members of each group. And, if you so inclined, you can create your own Twitter group, as well.
Remember, finding your target market is just the beginning. Once you’ve found them, you need to begin to build relationships with them. This means paying attention to what they say so that you can respond when appropriate either with a direct message (DM) or an @ reply that is public or retweeting (RT) their message to your followers when you feel someone has great info that would be useful to those who follow you. Take 10-15 minutes per day to keep yourself informed about what’s happening with your Tweeps and watch your business grow!
Online Business Coach Donna Gunter helps baby boomers create profitable online retirement businesses by demystifying the steps needed to successfully market a baby boomer business online. Would you like to learn the specific Internet marketing strategies that get results? Discover how to increase your visibility and get found online by claiming your FREE gift, TurboCharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, at ==> http://www.OnlineBizU.com
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