What is Twitter?

Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service, enabling its users to send and read messages called tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the user’s profile page.  The Tweets are open to anyone but are only delivered directly to the followers of the user.  It is therefore necessary to build a large list of followers if you want your Twitter account to have an impact.

Engage People

The most effective way to use Twitter is to actively engage with people online.  Commenting on peoples Tweets, responding to their Tweets, posting interesting questions or statements to get people to respond to you, will all lead to more followers and increase the responsiveness of your followers.  The only problem with this approach is that it just takes up too much time for most people to actually do it.

Using Software To Get The Most Out Of Twitter

There are two basic challenges to success of Twitter; getting followers and creating Tweets.  Logging on and sending Tweets is time consuming and unless you are famous you need to promote yourself to get people to follow you. 

The easiest solution to these two problems is to use software to automate the process.  Both Hummingbird and Twitter Adder 3 work well, although they do require you to run the program every day which can be a hassle.  I have been using software for about six weeks and have 600+ followers in that time with minimal effort so I am quite pleased with the results.

Getting Followers

If you follow someone on twitter about 1/3 of people will follow you back.  So the software goes out and follows people for you and some of these people will become your followers.  You can set searches and locations so as to target specific people.  If they don’t follow you back the tool unfollows them after three days (you can set it to what you like).  You need to do this to avoid looking like a loser following lots of people with no one following you and because you need to keep your follow to followers percentages within certain ranges to avoid twitter identifying you as a bot. 

Automatic Tweets

Software can also auto post tweets for you.  This is important on Twitter as your Tweets are only likely to be visible on your followers’ feeds for 20 -30 minutes at most.  After this time other peoples Tweets will drive your Tweet down the rankings and it won’t be seen.  It is not a coincidence that the most successful Twitter accounts post on average at least 25 times a day; in other words at least once an hour.  Obviously this is where automation comes in. 

For my account I have written 200+ tweets and they are sent out at random intervals by the software.  Once they have all been sent out they will just be reposted again as the nature of twitter means most people won’t notice.  Like repeats on TV – it is ok to repeat tweets as long as you don’t do it too much. I used interesting quotes from famous people and to make a lot of new tweets quickly.  I then inserted the occasional Tweet directing people to my business. 

Don’t Be Boring

Remember it is important to keep your Tweets interesting no one wants to listen to someone telling them to buy their stuff all the time.  Provide interesting content and engaging people will make it easier to get people to listen to you when you want to give them some business information.  Valuable information is also necessary if you would like to reach a wider audience by getting reTweets as people will only pass on good content.

Twitter And Social Media

Making the posting of Tweets automated using software means that the updating of the content to these other social media locations can also be automated.  This is a big time saver and can give you an online presence that is fairly significant with minimal effort.

For instance I have put the Twitter plugin to display my twitter feed on one of my websites, this make it makes it look like the site is active and busy all the time.  I have also used a plugin to send the posts onto my Facebook Fan Page – this keeps this updated and looking fresh.  It is also possible to automatically distribute the Tweets to sites such as Posterous and it turn use their extensive network to post your tweets further afield giving your Twitter account a far greater reach than if you simple posted to Twitter alone. 

Does Twitter Help With Search Engine Marketing? 

The links you obtain on twitter are typically only visible for a short period of time and they are no follow so you gain no SEO benefit from them.  However twitter does copy your tweets to its mobile site automatically and the links on this site are follow links so you may gain a small amount of SEO value from them.

The most valuable aspect of twitter is however being able to drive people to specific pages when you tweet. This can lead to natural links as well as giving a short term traffic boost. Yet this is only really effective when you have a big well targeted list of followers. So Twitter does help with SEM but only a limited way, in most cases it is not an effective SEO strategy. Twitters’ real benefit comes from the visitors it can send directly to your website from Social Media sites.

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