A little while back Taji wrote a great followup article on getting the most out of Twitter after asking for information on how people use it. I’ve been tweaking Twitter myself over the last week or so after making a very helpful connection there, and that put me in mind of the article. So I thought I’d jot a few things down.
First of all, this comes with a huge caveat – these are just suggestions. Like architecture or sex, beyond a few universal principles there is no ‘Right Way’ to use Twitter. Now, before I talk about these suggestions, it might be worth spending a moment talking about why it’s worth using Twitter. It’s become an almost self-fulfilling assumption that you should be on it because everyone’s on it, right? But apart from keeping pace with the rest of the flock, why actually sign up?
Twitter is a fantastic medium for being able to talk to anyone. Unlike email or LinkedIn, it’s an open forum of communication where anyone can read what you’re saying. And unlike blogs, everything is going through the one central communication channel. I can ask DB Cooper or Kevin Delaney a question, and they may well answer. If someone follows both me and either of those esteemed people, they can chime in on the conversation as well. it’s no exaggeration to say that there really is nothing quite like it for making spontaneous connections. It’s a great middle ground between email and instant messenger, but with a public aspect.
I can’t speak to its marketing benefits, but through Twitter I’ve gotten my first audiobook gig, and found a professional networking contact who has been a fantastic help. It’s early days yet for one particular relationship, but it also looks like I’ve found some great game developers based in the same city as me (Melbourne, Australia) looking for a voice over artist for an upcoming game. Twitter is also a great way for a potential client to get a sense not just of your talent, but of you personally. That could be a good or a bad thing, but hopefully if you’re an independent artist you’re able to show a little personality AND put your best foot forward at the same time.
Now, on to some suggestions:
One thing I neglected to mention during the article – and this is just my personal preference – is that I’d suggest against using tools that send an automated direct message when someone follows you on Twitter.
Unless the message contains information they wouldn’t otherwise know (like links to resources you’re only giving followers) it tends to be transparent that the message is being sent by software, and not a human being.
Much better to either hand-process new followers, or if you’re in that enviable position of that being too much of a workload, then don’t send anything at all.
Again, all of this is just my opinion, so take it with a grain of salt. It might not work for you.
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