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The 7 Pillars of your Twitter success by @mqtodd

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Build and nurture 7 “presence” pillars. A new way of looking at your Twitter presence.

I know some of you struggle to keep your Twitter accounts growing and want to do better so I’m giving out 7 clear tips here by the way of building blocks or pillars that will make it a more meaningful experience for you. Twitter is fantastic fun so please stick with it!

My reason for using Twitter is not to make money but 3 major things. To connect people in the environmental space so that they co-ordinate their projects, to help them get their wonderful messages out in a more effective manner and to inspire the use Twitter and Social Media in general by environmentalists. You see nearly all of them remain unfortunately sceptical of the return on time and energy spent online.

I believe that together we can alter that mindset by inspiration and I discuss this lower down. In particular I like dolphins and am highly active in groups concerned with their well being.

So before we even get started I would like you to stop and consider the reason YOU log into Twitter. What is your why? The bigger this is and the more it resonates with you the more effective you will become.

All these pillars are essential building blocks and should be consistently refined. For example I spend 2 hours a month rebuilding my list @mqtodd/retweeters-communicative to include my recently most supportive and engaging people. Not only on just Twitter but on Facebook and Empire Avenue too. I see the social web as one big open space you see. Twitter is simply a network or a tool.

The Pillars work on the premise that you must be firstly known, then liked, followed and promoted before you are bought from. Know me (niche, location), Like me (content), Follow Me (social networking), Promote Me (Be shareable) and Buy from me (Have a product or a reason).

1st Pillar. Niche? What is your account about?
How do people see it? I suggest this be 2 or 3 things and be kept relatively narrow. If for example you want to connect with bloggers then tweet about blogging and social media. With maybe a local twist so that people can distinguish you. 10% or so of your tweets about London for example will mean that your followers remember that you are Steven the blogging coach from London and set you apart from other bloggers. Resist the temptation to tweet about health or say motor racing even if you are passionate about these things. Maybe make another account to tweet about them from.
It is increasingly important to be added to lists by the top people in your niche you see. Then they will become your advocates. Be a specialist.I for example watch and share primarily from 3 lists and I presume that others do the same. Mine [email protected]/mediatechnology (best news and views), @mqtodd/green (eco news),@mqtodd/retweeters-communicative (people who share my content), and @mqtodd/people-i-look-for (accounts with an interesting Twitter feed who I either have a relationship with or not).

2nd Pillar. Get the best tools working for you.

Master the use of certain tools. Then you will have a base of skill and technological support which will propel you.

Twitter hashtags can be intimidating for newbies but they are a vital part of the whole thing.

They are especially useful for chats and competitions.

A massive percentage leave Twitter without ever discovering how the whole community is glued together. For search, conversations, communities, movements, competitions, events, “branding” tweets and analytics just as a few examples.

Much of what is going on on Twitter may be going right by you!.

Putting the hashtag symbol # before relevant keywords in a Tweet categorizes those Tweets to show more easily in Twitter Search.Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets in that category.Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet.Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.

Hashtags are used to group together communities. For example a linked in group I am a member of uses the tag #usguys so we can each other’s prescences inside twitter. Often you will see people with that tag in their profiles too. Then there are movements such as the initiative to end dolphin slaughter in Japan. This community uses #TheCove in recognition of and promotion of the Academy Award winning movie about this atrocity. Then there is the “awareness” movement in general which uses #p2.

Have you been in a Twitter chat? These normally run for between one and two hours and around 400 of these on a diverse range of topics occur every week.

Steve Cassady has contributed a special chapter on Twitter chats here. A clever application called Tweetchat allows us to follow the conversation stream during these chats and automatically tweet the relevant tag at the end of each post.

Hashtags are used to link Twitter with other websites. For example if you adjust your settings you can send tweets through your Linked In and Facebook account streams by adding the tags #in and #fb to your tweets.

Another great use of hashtags is to comment on things. You may see #fail being used or #justsayin or amusing topics which “trend” on Twitter. As I write #liesivetoldmyparents is the most popular topic worldwide.Hashtags are also used to comment on other hashtags in a tweet. You might for example tweet “@mandyp just #madeout with @justinbieber #inherdreams “. The possibilities really are endless.

Another fun thing to do is to attract various bots to talk to you. Try tweeting a quote about #yoda and the Yoda bot will soon after be right back at you with another timeless piece of wisdom!

Events be they day long or longer are also glued together by hashtags. In May 2009 it was a thrill to be part of a group tweeting about talks from the first ever TEDx event #TEDxTokyo and we reached the number two most popular topic at one stage. You maybe aware of how tweets about happenings can spread like wildfire because everyone interested uses the same tag. I am thinking here of the #iranrevolution around two years ago. The whole world knew almost immediately of events which a year or two previously may have been covered up, at least for a day or so. Literally within minutes a sizeable part of the community were changing their profile pics green. That is why my hair is green on Twitter. This was the day I “got” Twitter and “got” hashtags. We then all changed our locations to Teheran so the brave Iranians and foreign journalists sending out updates could not be traced by the authorities.

My favourite personally invented hashtag is #lifegasm. I do not however “own” it so please feel free to use it. I run a search on it most weeks and retweet people who use it hint hint….

Hashtags will brand tweets as they stand out. For example if you right a quote such as “Only #love is real” the #love will appear in a different colour and thus become the focus of the quote.

A wonderful tool is hashtracking.com which will provide a free report on the number of times a tag has been used in the past twenty four hours. It will also show you the most frequent users of the tag and the people with the highest following who have been using it.

I have really only scratched the surface here and have been involved with some really fun initiatives. A group of us New Zealanders got together and tweeted out verses to the Maori challenge that our All Backs rugby team do before each international game.

3rd Pillar. Content.
Your tweets have to be highly readable and it will help immeasurably if you also blog in your niche regularly and well. Be an authority and give massive value for free. Enough said! This the age of content marketing. Insanely great content in your niche will drive everything for you. Give out everything for free like I am doing here.

4th Pillar. Be social.
My Twitter experience exploded after I joined Empire Avenue in April 2011. Before that I was literally unknown and I was struggling to form relationships with the top tweeters. I was not being social enough on social media! There is absolutely zero way I would have been able to do this without Empire Avenue.
Now I am hanging out socially with key Twitter collaborators in Empire Avenue-related Facebook groups and this has spun off into involvement in Facebook groups of other communities such as 12 Most, Triberr, Connect.me and more.
Constantly invite your followers to connect with you on different platforms so as to deepen relationships. 140 characters is not always enough and conversation not always easy in Twitter. For example use a Xeeme profile which has links to all your main places ( to which my twitter account has sent over 40,000 vists). Regularly promote that profile.

Join Twitter parties called Tweetchats. Search the hashtags #pinchat (if you like Pinterest) #toolschat #gpluschat #getrealchat #sustainchat #mediachat #linkedinchat #socialchat #smmannersand #eavchat for example. Come have fun.

5th Pillar. Be real
People like people. People especially like people like themselves.Share photos with twitpic, foursquare checkins (with a photo as well), quirky real life experiences. Not all the time but regularly. Have a photo not a logo, even if you are a cause or a company. People like communicating with people. Be fun and engaging. Twitter is an open, random and supportive place. Be open, random and supportive.

Use #Vine!

6th Pillar. Be shared.
Making your content readily shareable is key. Have your blog or website set up for sharing (like I have the sliding share buttons out to the right and the bar below). This will lead to you getting followers.
On Twitter itself keep tweets short and sharp and informative to get retweeted.
However you have to do more. Be active and visible for example in communities like Triberr, Empire Avenue, Scoopit and Stumble Upon. These places alone “drive” around 200 tweets a day as @ mentions into @mqtodd. From there I can see who is sharing for me and I can thank and reciprocate.

7th Pillar. Playing small serves no-one. Least of all yourself.
Twitter is a very public space. In fact it is the only truly public social network. At some time you have to step up and become a leader. Begin communities, be the best in your niche and do not be scared to say so.Write a book, promote your achievements and successes from time to time. If the lower 6 pillars are all in order this should presumably happen naturally. Once you allow it. You have no right to play small.

Enjoy your tweeting

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