Breaking the code on Twitter for business

Breaking the code on Twitter for business
Savvy Guest - Wed Aug 05, 2009 @ 07:55AM
Comments: 11

The Savvy Sisters are proud to welcome back our friend, Mark W. Schaefer. This post was written for our readers shortly after Mark was interviewed by Forbes Magazine on the subject of twitter for business. Enjoy!

When I first tried Twitter, I thought it was the dumbest thing I had ever seen. But over time it has helped me develop dozens of wonderful new business connections that have led to new friendships ... and profitable new opportunities. I'm a believer, and it can work for you too.

It took me MONTHS of frustration to get to a point where I was finally realizing tangible benefits from Twitter, but it doesn't have to take that long if you follow a few guidelines I learned along the way. Here are some ideas to get you going as an effective business Twitter-er!

1) Separate business from family. Your business connections are not going to be interested in what time you're meeting Biff for dinner. Keep separate, focused accounts!

2) Be a real human being who is interesting, helpful and funny ... in that order. Think of Twitter as a dinner party. You hang around the people who hold your interest, right? Resist the temptation to sell yourself and your company. There is no bigger turn-off!

3) Optimize the effectiveness of your messages by tweeting regularly and in peak times. This link will give you some ideas on the best way to tweet for impact.

4) Be honest but be careful ... this stuff is permanent! A manager from GE put it best when he counseled that no matter how casual the conversation, it is still a conversation about you and your company. Tweets are permanent and searchable.

5) Commit. You have to get in the game to gain an audience of engaged followers. You will be tempted to quit. Don't. Plan on tweeting a few times a day, few days a week . It might be a good idea to get help from an experienced Twitter-er during the first few weeks to keep you going!

OK, are you going to commit to this? You are? All right ... in that case I'll give you an extra bonus idea. It will be a lot more fun to be on Twitter with people you are interested in. Here are three easy ways to build a community of friends who share your interests.

First, ask somebody you know and trust who is already on Twitter to recommend people to follow. Then see who THEY follow and connect to them, too. Chances are they'll follow you back too.

Second, do a topic search on Twitter. Let's say your specialty is search engine optimization. By searching Twitter for this term, you'll get a list of real-time discussions. Follow these interesting folks, too.

Third, use a third-party search directory like Twellow. You can build your audience by zip code, interest, even business title, by searching the data base on this "yellow pages" for Twitter.

Now, go for it and let me know how it works! You promised to commit so I'm expecting to receive some tweets from you! -- @markwschaefer

Mark Schaefer is an educator with more than 25 years experience in industrial marketing and is Executive Director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions ( You can find his blog {grow} at


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