Answering the question “What are you doing?” within 140 characters is the easy part.
The hard part is figuring out the Twitter culture and etiquette, understanding the Twitter lingo (Tweeple means people who use Twitter), and knowing which of the hundreds of applications and other Twitter-related websites are worth your time.
Deborah Micek, who goes by @CoachDeb on Twitter, has teamed up with Warren Whitlock, aka @WarrenWhitlock, to write the Twitter Handbook, a 169-page ebook. On a five-star system, I give it five stars and an enthusiastic recommendation for Publicity Hounds everywhere, regardless of what you’re promoting. You can claim your free copy here. (If you don’t receive it immediately, be patient. You’ll get it within the next week.)
I wish this had been available when I started Twittering less than a year ago. It would have saved me from sending my Twitter followers embarrassing questions like “What’s a Tweetdeck?” and “Somebody just asked me a question. How do I reply?”
What you’ll learn
The book assumes you know nothing about Twitter, which is great for newbies. But longtime Tweeple will find it just as valuable. Deb and Warren provide thousands of tips on how to navigate the Twittersphere and adopt specific strategies that will help you meet your business goals, whether you’re a sole proprietor or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. (Yes, CEOs should Twitter, too.)
Especially helpful are their recommendations on what to do first.
For example, instead of trying to amass a huge army of followers, you’d be better off spending time just posting. Then, when people start following you on Twitter, they might be curious enough to see what you’ve been writing about and whether it’s worth coming back for more.
My only suggestion is that I wished the authors would have created bookmarks within the PDF document. I read the book quickly without taking notes. Backtracking and trying to find certain sections so I can follow through on tips I remembered reading was time-consuming. I suggest you keep a “to do” list while reading it, and note the page number where a particular tip is located. Don’t try using the fancy applications until you’ve tackled the basics, like knowing where to find replies to your messages, how to reply to people you are following, and how to read your direct messages.
5 cool Twitter tips
Here are five tips from the handbook:
1. Still confused about who’s twittering and what they’re writing about? See tweets from all over the world and in real time on Twittervision, an interactive map.
2. How well do you Twitter? Check your Twitter Grade, within seconds. I was astounded to see that my score is 93/100 because, well, there’s still so much about Twitter that I didn’t know until I read the Twitter Handbook. And I still feel like a Twitter nerd.
3. Deb and Warren are only two of millions who Twitter. Even though they did extensive research via Twitter before writing, they want lots more input on how other Tweeple use it. You can read 101 More Reasons to Tweet.
4. TwitterFone, a free service, lets you update your Twitter feed using your voice from any mobile or cell phone. You call it, speak your tweet, and hang up. A short while later, your tweet will be posted on Twitter.
5. Create a “Twitter badge” and put it on your websites, blogs and other social networking sites like Myspace and Facebook, letting people know you Twitter and sharing with them your most recent tweet. Once you’re logged into Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/badges and choose the type, color, shape and size of your badge. It will automatically create a code for you depending on where you want it to be seen. Put that code on your website, blog, etc.
If you’ve gotten this far and you’re still saying to yourself, “I don’t get it. Why is everybody wasting all this time?” check out my “Special Report #52: How to Use Twitter for Business to Network, Promote, Sell, Recruit & Profit.” It will give you lots of examples of how companies and nonprofits large and small are using Twitter to amass loyal followers, solidify their brand, and make the cash register ring.
Then dive into the Twitter Handbook, keep it nearby, and commit to following at least one recommendation each week. Soon, that tweeting sound you hear will turn into ka-ching, ka-ching.
Follow me on Twitter.