Twitter Secrets Revealed

Twitter is a Popular Group Chat Client

When Twitter came on the scene 2006 I was an early adopter. Chatting IRC style with the addition of subscribers and an archive was most compelling to me. I was quick to abandon it too. Back then you may as well have shouted, "Hello!," into a desert canyon, but without the comforting echo. Twitter reached a tipping-point (and I began using it again) during the 2007 SXSW conference when attendees used the tool to chat during sessions and figure-out which bar to convene in. At the same time conference bloggers lit the Internet with stories about just how revolutionary Twitter was.


Today the question is,

"How do I use Twitter to get rich for marketing?"

Personalities like @GuyKawasaki, @SethGodin and @JasonCalacanis all use Twitter so there must be gold in them there hills. Right?

Right size your expectations.

Twitter is a lousy audience building tool when you have to start from scratch.

Guy Kawasaki, Seth Godin and Jason Calacanis did not create new audiences on Twitter. They brought their audiences with them. They told blog readers and subscribers, "Follow me on Twitter to receive more fresh content and enjoy some personal time with me."

So how do Guy, Seth and Jason use Twitter to grow the readership their blogs and web sites? They exploit the fact that no one enjoys being privy to only one side of a conversation.

  • On Twitter everyone has their own followers
    • When you send a message to Guy Kawasaki your followers see what you write
    • When Guy writes to you people will not see what Guy writes unless they follow Guy too or visit his profile
  • When your followers see you conversing with Guy Kawasaki
    • Many will want to know what Guy wrote to you
    • They will visit Guy’s Twitter page
    • Some will follow Guy
  • New followers will get Guy’s messages, both personal and marketing

The larger the audience you bring with you to Twitter in the beginning the more useful Twitter will be as a marketing tool. If you have only a small audience Twitter will prove difficult use.

You can build an audience from scratch on Twitter.

It takes time to make new friends. As you become more involved and recognized people will follow your account. It can be a slow process, especially at the outset.

  • Create an account with your real name (Unless your nickname is widely recognized).
  • Use a Twitter search tool
    • Find discussions that interest you
    • Make sure you have a potential audience on Twitter
  • Visit the Twitter pages of @names you see frequently in messages.
    • Read their recent posts
    • Evaluate them
    • Follow them
    • Visit their web sites and blogs
  • Participate in the conversation.
    • Be online during peak posting periods
    • Use people’s @names in your posts
    • Seriously, engage people and use their @names in your messages. This is the most important secret of all.
  • Write compelling content
    • Write only when you have something worthwhile to contribute
    • Don’t be a troll or somebody who fans the flames of argument
    • Avoid useless messages like, "Me too."
    • Use Tiny URLs (Firefox addon)

Here is one last hint.

Don’t follow too many people right away.

If you visit somebody’s Twitter profile and see that they follow 250 people but only 25 follow back, chances are good you will not follow either. The ratio is unnatural, too far apart. Keep this in mind for your own account when you begin following users. Start with under 50 then grow gradually. You’ll pick-up speed soon enough.

If you want to follow me

These secrets and some determination should get you started. And, if you want to follow my tweets here is my Twitter Profile: SEOinSeattle.

Update: See what Neil Patel thinks about Twitter too.

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  1. Ack! Good call Brett. I actually read that post some time ago.
    Now that I think of it Seth helps to make my point. Seth did not recruit those 4,355 followers on Twitter so you can be pretty sure most of them came from Godin’s pre-existing audience.

  2. Good tips on twitter etiquete (twetiquete?) for people who are new to it.
    Just one point though; @sethgodin isn’t really Seth Godin. The profile’s Bio was recently updated to point out that it’s an Unofficial Twitterfeed and all it does is republish headlines and links for Seth’s blog posts. Not quite a scraper, more of a “tribute act.”
    I’m pretty sure that @GuyKawasaki and @JasonCalacanis are the real deals, although people should also keep an eye out for @jasoncalcanis (lower case, no “a” after the “l”) who seems to be positioning himself as the twitter equivalent of the Fake Steve Jobs.

  3. Nice summary. And yes, it helps when you know how to play the game to get follower, it is not much different to what you would do in order to grow a blogging audience etc.
    I think the important part is to make sure that you actually are authentic and do not play this as a game for the games sake, then you will fail.

  4. Originally, I didn’t get the Twitter attraction. It looked like just one more social media site to keep up with.
    However, last Tuesday night, a friend and I did a social marketing webinar on uStream and I sent a Twit out right before we began and I had several new people that attended the webinar from Twitter. The fact that the Twit said it’s happening NOW was key.
    I think it’s powerful as long as folks BUILD a following.

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