Thursday, April 23, 2009
Web Secret #49: Twitter
OK, I will be the first to admit it - I HATED Twitter for a very, very long time. (OK not that long, it's only existed since 2006.)
Not only did I hate Twitter - I just didn't get it. Now I do.
If you don't get it, the first thing you should do is watch the video.
Twitter is a micro-blogging platform that answers the question "What are you doing?" Each Twitter post is a maximum of 140 characters - ie one or two sentences long.
Joining Twitter takes seconds. You go to www.twitter.com, you provide your name, an e-mail address and select a password. You select your Twitter account name. (If your name is Sigmund Freud, your user name will be www.twitter.com/sigmundfreud.) Voila! You are on Twitter. You can post "Tweets" on your Twitter account or you can follow other Twitter users who you think have something interesting to tweet.
Why should you do this? To grow your business/organization/professional practice of course.
First of all, Twitter is hip and powerful. Consider these stats:
August 2008: 475,000 visitors
March 2009: 7 million visitors
How do you use it? Twitter can be used to express your expertise. Tweet about your professional thoughts, your ideas, the most interesting article you just read, the fabulous conference you just attended, etc. Post the availability of your services, unexpected openings in your schedule. Follow your competition and see what they are up to.
Tip #1 - Secure your Twitter username ASAP. In the Twitter search box – coming soon – users will be able to search “EAP”, “psychotherapy, etc. Your username is limited to 15 characters, if your business name is 15 characters or less, or can be reasonably abbreviated to 15 characters or less secure it as soon as possible. EVEN IF YOU AREN'T READY TO TWEET. You want to grab www.twitter.com/iamgreat before your competition does.
Tip #2 - Manage your Twitter account with the help of HootSuite.com. It allows you to write your tweets in advance and schedule them so that your Twitter account always seems active.
Twitter must be updated on a regular basis (at least weekly, probably daily) - don’t start one if you can’t maintain it!
If you are not comfortable with this very informal and terse medium – don’t do it.