Toolkit

Five Ways to Make Friends on Twitter and Market Yourself or Your Organization

By on Friday, January 31, 2014

Making friends and marketing yourself or your organization on Twitter may seem daunting to someone who is just starting. Or you may have joined Twitter a while ago, but feel like your efforts have stagnated. How do you go about getting a foothold on Twitter and finding friends? Here are five tips to help:

Tip #1 – Know what you want to talk about and who you want to talk to.  Hopefully when you joined Twitter you followed people and organizations that interested you and coincided with your interests or the cause your organization works on. You should be able to describe what you want to tweet about and the topics that matter to you. Search for names of peer organizations to yours and follow them. Follow thought leaders in the field or topic that you are going to be tweeting in. If you work on hunger issues, you should be following people who are tweeting about food banks, Bob Eggers, etc.  If you don’t have a lot of time, but know there is a solid and small group of people or organizations you really want to connect with on Twitter who are participating in conversations you want to be part of, handpick a group of people and create a private list, so you can monitor just that group every day and easily re-tweet them. Twitter management software like Hootsuite will allow you to set up a stream specific to a list that you have created, which can make monitoring your influencers list easy.

Tip #2 – Create public lists that collect thought leaders in topics you are passionate about. Unbeknownst to many tweeps, Twitter’s list feature is a way to make friends. Twitter users can see when they are added to a list and some will follow you if you add them to a public list. For example, my personal Twitter profile (@AmazingPRMaven) has been added to more than 100 lists by fellow-Twitter users. I can see which lists my profile has been added to by going to Twitter.com, then to lists. The interface will allow you to see lists you are a member of and subscribe to those lists. People who are interested in the same topics as you, can subscribe to your public list.

Tip #3 – Re-tweet, favorite, and comment on tweets by thought leaders and organizations participating in conversations that you want to be part of. Generosity and reciprocity go a long way on Twitter.  Many Twitter users appreciate being re-tweeted and will acknowledge re-tweets. They can see your “favorites” on their tweets.  If you write a comment in response to a tweet they’ve made (remember to use the original username in your comment), many people will re-tweet your comment to all of their followers.  If you don’t have a lot of time, use your list of thought leaders, and every day, pick 1-5 tweets to write a short comment to and post. Check your list once at the beginning of the day, and again at the end of the day to keep up with current conversations.

Tip #4 – Identify and follow hash tags (#topic) that matter to you or your organization, and participate in Twitter chats too. Follow hash tags to find information you want to re-tweet and participate in conversations using a particular hash tag. Twitter chats discuss a specific topic in real-time and are a great way to meet others and converse. Twitter chat organizers will frequently use questions to guide the chat, and users respond with a question number in their response.

Tip #5 – Be human at least once per day. It is very easy to re-tweet others, write a couple of comments to something someone else has done, and then figure you are “done” for the day with Twitter. But don’t stop there. People appreciate reciprocity, but they will pay more attention to you if you are interesting, passionate, and allow some personality to bubble out through your tweets. Be human at least once per day. Tweet a photo, video link, web page link with a comment, your latest blog post, an observation about the day,  something about your activities, whatever works for you – but do something that is original to you and that did not originate with someone else on the Twitter-sphere.

Ami Neiberger-Miller is a public relations strategist and writer. She is the founder of Steppingstone LLC, a virtual and independent public relations practice near Washington, D.C. that provides public relations counsel, social media advice, writing services, and creative design work for publications and websites (portfolio). Ami blogs frequently about media relations, social media, public relations and other issues. She also reviews books on her blog about public relations, nonprofit life, work-family balance and social media practice. Follow her on Twitter @AmazingPRMaven.

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