Just went thru 10 Steps to Terrific Twittering – basically a boiled down version of all of @guykawasaki‘s tips for Power twittering. As a young startup, we already practice many of these tips, but there were some that I had not truly appreciated the value of, until reading this post.
1) Follow your Followers
This is one of Guy’s commandments for Twitter. At Creately I wasn’t sure it that’s the way it should work for us. I had envisaged the @creately account to be used as a way to keep our beta users and interested parties up to date with new product features and updates. I wanted to let people find us online and follow us on Twitter, if they saw what they liked at creately.com. I very quickly found this approach works well with people who’ve heard about Creately and found us online, but did not allow us to reach out to the millions of technology early adopters who live in the TwitterSphere – which is really what Guy believes it can do for your brand. I felt I had made an implicit social contract with my @creately followers not to bombard them with the slew of twits or twitter activity that it takes to build a Follower base. But I needed to do more on Twitter.
It became clear that Creately needed more than one account to manage our conversations and marketing efforts on Twitter (more on our Twitter experience here) which leads nicely to my next point.
Tip – We use SocialToo and TweetLater to keep track of our followers, unfollowers and set-up auto-follows.
2) Use the right tools
There’s a lot you can do these days with the vast number of services and tools that have sprouted around the Twitter API. For us, managing multiple accounts and keeping track of user interest in our market (read ‘keywords’) was an important issue. I tried a slew of tools – TwitterFox, TweetDeck, Twirl, Destroy Twitter and services – Twitter Search (love the RSS), Twitscoop, TweetSuite, Splitweet, Social Mention (just to name a few)- gaining experience along the way and moving to more sophisticated tools as required. Start experimenting small to understand what Twitter can offer then decide what you want your Twitter presence to deliver and select the right tools based on your strategy.
Check this great list of all Twitter apps and tools on the Twitter Fan page on pbwiki.
3) Squeeze the Trigger
As Guy puts its – and I concur, how long do we want to wait before we decide its acceptable to direct market on Twitter. I think its time – as long as its done in a personable way and is not spam. Even if you think its Ok to engage with potential customers in this way, how do you go about doing it? Should I engage with Twitters who are discussing diagrams and mockups? Should I monitor conversations on competitors and try to reel new users in? These are issues of business ethics that will finally reflect on your company’s values and need serious consideration.
Personally I would take a cautious approach to direct marketing and definitely not use the @creately account for fear of alienating my current followers. Perhaps @diagramHelper would be a good moniker.
4) Make it easy to share.
This is a very important enabler if you want to see results on Twitter- remember the power that is inherent in the crowd. I won’t discuss this much here for fear of letting too much slip out – but watch this space.
Let me know what works for your startup. Back to Twitter!