First Impressions of Twitter

I have been on Twitter for about one week now. I would like to share my first impressions of the site and the possible use of Twitter to promote an online business.

Twitter has a relatively limited functionality. It can be regarded as simply a bulletin board for short updates (or “tweets”). You register an account with your name, username, a very brief bio and an optional photo. You build your network of people, by following people you find interesting or otherwise worthwhile to follow. Other people follow you, they become your followers. You will see all tweets posted by those you are “following”, and your “followers” will see all tweets posted by you. You are more or less expected to follow-back the people who follow you, and of course you expect those you are following to follow you back.

Twitter presents a volatile bulletin board where all tweets from those you are following will appear on a scrolled list, one at a time, in chronological order. A new tweet appears at the top of the list, and as new updates come in it travels down the list until it disappears. The size of a tweet is limited to 140 characters. The number of tweets in the system is huge, so an update may disappear quickly if you have a large number of following.

OK, so we have the basics: Following, Followers and Updates. You build your network of following and followers, read the updates from your following and write updates for your followers. That is about it.

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In the remainder of this article I will assume that you have an online business and that you want to use twitter to promote it.

The first challenge is of course to build a huge network of followers! Beware, it is kind of “addictive” to see the number of followers grow. Many hours at the computer! There are basically only two ways to do it: Either you follow people yourself expecting them to follow you back. Or you can promote Twitter externally, by e.g. emailing your contacts asking them to join Twitter and/or become your follower. There are a number of tools to grow your network automatically but I will not go into that here, it is enough for several separate articles.

Another challenge is to get maximum effect from your updates. Remember you only have 140 characters, and your update will probably be visible to the followers for only a short period of time. Also for updates there are a number of tools to schedule your updates automatically, but that too is enough for several separate articles.

There are two ways to use updates to promote your online business: Either you promote a website with a link, typically “This program is amazing, please visit¬†¬†for details” OR you can promote your own brand name by issuing informative or entertaining updates of general interest.

Anyway you do, twitter is a powerful and fun way of promoting your online business. I will be back shortly with more articles about my experience from using Twitter to promote my online business.

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