1. CLAIM YOUR NAME
Twitter has millions of users so you may already be too late to get the account name that you want. Twitter account names are now as desirable as prime domain names so even if you don’t intend to start using twitter straight away it is best to claim your name as soon as you can. If your name is taken then a modification might be the best option. For example my account is kebirch as my full name karenbirch was already taken. If you are dead set on a particular name and find that it has been taken then there is a market to buy and sell account names at, for example, Tweexchange
2. BUILD YOUR BRAND
Twitter allows you to customise the background so that you can build your web image. The twitter site itself has a selection of backgrounds and colours to choose from and there are now many, many sites that offer bespoke backgrounds. Before you build your twitter page have a good look around at other peoples account and get some ideas. If you already have a twitter profile, take a good look at it and make sure it properly reflects your brand.
3. BE AUTHENTIC
This is as important on twitter as it is in “real life” If you try to be something that you are not you will be found out. This is true whether you are building a personal or business brand on twitter. Don’t brand yourself as an expert unless you really are one. Focus on your passions and skill set. There are many applications that you can use to automate your tweets so that you can be communicating with your followers even when you are away from the computer but be careful if you decide to do this as you may miss responses to your tweets and your followers will feel that you are simply pushing out information without listening to them or getting involved in discussion/debate.
4. MAKE SURE THAT YOU COMPLETE YOUR PROFILE
One of the reasons for having a twitter account is to gain followers and few people want to follow an account that doesn’t look active or legitimate. If the profile hasn’t been filled out completely and there’s no photograph/image then people are a lot less likely to follow you. Remember, only people who follow you will see your tweets so the more followers you have means more exposure for your message.
5. BUILD EXPERTISE
Focus on your passions and skill set and tweet about those. Pretty soon you’ll become known and people with similar interests will follow you. For many people, twitter has become a filter and trusted accounts are relied upon to send their followers interesting and relevant links.
6. TWEET REGULARLY
Make sure that you actually use your twitter account. If your tweets are interesting and relevant then people will come to enjoy seeing your tweets. Don’t tweet the same thing over and over again as this will look like spam. Don’t use your account just to sell your products. Even if you are building a brand for your business it is not a good idea to have a sales message in every tweet. It will lose you followers very quickly
7. SHOUT OUT and LINK BACK
If you have other social media accounts, such as facebook, then placing a link on these other sites to promote your twitter account is a good idea. Similarly you can feed your tweets out to other social media sites. Ping.fm is a good place to start to link up all of your social media activity. Make sure you add your twitter account details to all of your correspondence and marketing materials. For example add it to your business cards and your e-mail signature!
8. GET INVOLVED
A few moments each day chatting to your followers goes a long way! By using the @ symbol when referring to other twitter users in your own tweets gives them exposure and they are likely to do the same for you. If you find any tweets that are of interest to you then retweet it. Again, the original tweeter gains exposure and is more likely to do the same for you which presents your tweets to their followers. You should also use occasions such as #followfriday to recommend your followers to other twitter users and they will do the same for you. This helps everyone find interesting Twitter users.
9. TWEET LINKS
Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters so you may want to use your tweets to direct your followers to more information, your blog, for example. In this case include a link to the relevant web page. Some URLs are very long and will take up most of the 140 characters so consider using URL shortening, offered by sites such as bit.ly These sites often have built in analytics so that you can see how many clicks you get from the link which is invaluable marketing information.
10. GET INVOLVED IN TWEET UPS
This is a great way to integrate your twitter activity within the rest of your marketing/networking activity. Once you have developed a rapport with individuals on twitter it is only natural that you might want to meet face to face. At larger events you can meet with your existing online friends and meet new contacts. More informally if you find yourself with a space between meetings it can be really interesting/beneficial to use the time to meet a twitter friend for a coffee, for example, and build on your online connection.