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How to Grow Your Presence on Twitter

I’ll admit it, I was a late adopter of Twitter. Something about that 140-character limit seemed, well, limiting, and I was sure I didn’t need to add another distraction to my day. I figured it’d be better to leave the tweeting to the birds.

Two years after I finally overcame my reluctance and opened an account, I’m a solid believer in this social media platform. Yep, I’m one of those annoying Twitter evangelists, running around encouraging everyone to join. And even if you’re not yet quite as convinced as I am, you’ve probably figured out by now that Twitter is here to stay, so you’ve likely jumped on the bandwagon, too.

Good choice. Twitter is a great way to promote your business and brand, to stay on top of emerging trends in your industry, and to keep tabs on the competition. It can also be a great way to reach new customers or colleagues, and communicate with the ones you have. But like anything else in life, these things won’t happen without some effort.

It’s hard to get established on Twitter. And whether you opened your account a year ago or yesterday, there’s always room for improvement. To that end I’ve put together some tips on how you can build up your Twitter presence and become a respected resource in your industry.

  • Be selective. Sure, it’s exciting to watch your follower numbers rise, but those numbers don’t mean much if half of them are video poker spambots. Block and/or unfollow anyone who isn’t 1) a real person and is 2) potentially damaging to your brand. Remember: you’re not obligated to follow back.
  • Looks are everything. Just as you go to a user’s profile page to vet him or her, potential followers are coming to your page to vet you. Take extra time to ensure everything is ship-shape. Check your description for spelling errors, upload a crisp and sharp (and relevant) profile image, and make sure your (custom!) background and color choices are in line with your branding. If you’re not confident doing this yourself, hire a professional who can — chances are very high your 17-year-old nephew does not qualify for the job.
  • Quality, not quantity. Trust me, flooding your followers’ feeds with a constant barrage of tweets does not help you get your point across. The only thing it helps you do is lose followers — and lose your messaging in the process. Aim for 2-4 meaningful tweets spread out during peak times in Twitter activity. Less is always more!
  • Say something. Yeah, you can retweet the same things everyone else in your feed is retweeting, and you can stay spinning your wheels in the virtual mud puddle of the social media landscape, too. These days, when nearly everything “shared” in our social media streams is lifted from another source, people appreciate and value original content — and these people are likely to remain loyal followers.
  • Tweet outside the box. Inject personality into your tweets. If your brand had a voice, what would it say? How would it say it?
  • If you’ve got it, flaunt it. Consider all the time you’ve spent doing what you do. You have insight. You have knowledge. You have experience. Why not share it with the world?

Cultivating a good reputation on Twitter takes time, but you get back what you put out in spades. Be patient!

And remember: you have only 140 characters. Use them well.

Happy tweeting!

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