My first month as a twitter user ends on 25 January 2011. I am not a social network laggard. I have been active on LinkedIn and Xing for years, had various blogs, but I am joining twitter when the trendies are already leaving the twitterverse. However, many businesses, especially B2B, especially German, are still missing a beat by ignoring twitter as a channel to their customers. Here I am sharing my experiences as a twitter starter so other B2B marketing professionals can choose to repeat my mistakes or learn from them. Or both!
Twitter name and brand
@hotredbiz. The obvious choice as “@hotred” was no longer available. I chose a standard page-background design that reflects my blog design, and customised it with my logo. Easy. While I mention the keywords, “B2B”, “Europe”, “marketing”, and my blog link in my profile, I am visible with my name and my picture. Tweets as I use them are one-2-many personal messages with a professional content, hence my twitter profile is a combination of professional and personal information.
What to tweet about
So… what do I say? I looked around and after my first attempts at observational and emotional tweeting (“Hi from spain!”) decided to stay firmly on message. B2B, social media, Germany, marketing, Europe, are all tweetworthy. The news I come across, events, webinars, interesting articles and fun ones. I try to include links to point people at websites, which keeps traffic up. A tiny-URL converter was the 1st page I bookmarked after I joined twitter. I mostly write my own tweets, sometimes I retweet tweets by the people I follow.
Follow you follow me
The hard currency on twitter is the number of your followers. I have 14 at the moment, but this changes daily. Naturally, I want more followers. Most people seem to have a surplus on their “following” stats compared to their “followers” numbers. Except media accounts and celebs (real or fake). I started off my interaction on twitter by following other people, in more ways than just clicking on them. I also copied their style and I am learning from the good and the bad examples. Apparently twitter etiquette dictates that if someone follows you, you in turn follow them. I found that not to be true (anymore). My objective is to tweet relevant content to people relevant to my business.
It took me a while to understand this new twitter feature but I have come to find it very useful. Lists allow you to follow people in a different way. Some people out there are speed tweeters, they churn out 3, 4 or more tweets per hour. This can swamp your home page and make your own tweets invisible. When I come across a valuable yet over-prolific tweeter, I put them in one or several of the lists I have created. One for B2B topics, one for social media, a few private ones… As I do have a great variety of interests (from SEO to gardening), lists are a perfect way to organise my part of the twitterverse. I even put myself on one of my lists, but I think that is bad style. You can follow an entire list, too.
Hash hash and mention
I am still learning how to best use #hash#tags. As there are thousands of sites explaining what they are and why they are, I shall not dwell on them here. The same goes for mentioning or answering @someone.
Where do I go from here?
“New” is the all-important concept on twitter, up there with relevant. New tweeters have a high drop out rate. I will have to be disciplined and tweet at least every other day. Mark my words! I will not resort to some people’s “trick” of throwing in no. 37 on page 3 at brainyquote.com because they cannot think of anything to say. That is very irritating. If I have enough to say on this site, I have enough to say on twitter. Must go now and tweet about this post!