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Recently, I have found myself passionately sharing Twitter advice with not only clients, but with friends, colleagues, neighbors, and even strangers.   Some think I am iNSaNe over this “twitter thing”.  What better reason to write a post! 

As a business, you have three main goals when it comes to Social Media:  Monitor your brand, build your brand, and increase sales of your brand.  Twitter is just one facet of Social Media.  Here is what I share with my clients…and strangers…and now you!

14 Insane Twitter Tips For Business: What I Tell My Clients

1.  Follow everyone back…yes even the  porn stars!  Unless someone offends you,  spams you, or uses foul language, follow them back.  It’s courteous and will win you more followers (i.e. customers/prospects) organically.  Do you care about what your customers are saying?  Then show it by following them back.

2.  Change the avatar to your head shot.   Yes, YOU!   Choose a picture where you have a big smile.  People buy from people they like, not companies.  Humanize your business.  It’s the only way to succeed on Twitter.  IMPORTANT:  Once you select your avatar, do not change it.  It becomes your personal brand.

3.  Put YOUR name in the Profile.   It’s okay to keep the Company or Brand name as the name that shows up next to the Avatar.  This will help you build your personal brand as well as your company brand.  If you are worried about stalkers, don’t use your last name. 

4.  Engage your followers.  Talk to them.  Cultivate them.  First rule of Social Media is “be interested, not interesting”.   Have you reached out directly to any of them yet?  This is a huge opportunity to interact with your customers/prospects.  Don’t blow it.

5.  Find more followers.  A following of 28 is not going to increase traffic in your stores or on your website.  Run searches to see who is chatting about your brand and your industry.  Start following them.   Begin following the competition, other marketers, and Twitter superstars.  As you interact with each of these segments you will see your following grow naturally.

6.  Listen.    Have ongoing searches running for your brand, company, industry, and pertinent topics.  Stay on the pulse.  Nip issues in the bud.   Offer advice when questions are asked.  Great opportunity to make a good impression.

7.  Be Active.  Tweet at least once a day but not more than 10/day (unless you are having a conversation: then it’s okay to go over the threshold of 10).  You need to commit time each day to actively listen and tweet.

8.  Be thankful.  Thank those that Retweet (RT) your tweets.  Always give RT credit if you RT another tweep.  Thank those that recommend you on #FollowFriday.

9.  DO NOT USE AUTO DIRECT MESSAGES.  Nothing bothers tweeps more than auto DM’s filling up their inbox.  It’s okay to auto-follow for complete coverage, but please don’t send impersonal automated messages. You will be unfollowed and/or blocked.  That won’t help your brand.

10.  DO NOT use DMs for pitching products or special offers!  Do I really need to expand on this concept?

11.  Tweet conservatively.  The internet is permanent.  Don’t say anything you  wouldn’t want posted on a billboard in front of your home and/or office.

12.  Compliment others, generously.  If you see  a great tweet with interesting articles about your industry, marketing, etc give the tweep kudos by retweeting their tweet.  This will help build your following and your credibility.  Great way to make new Twitter friends and build your brand.

13.  Schedule a Tweet Up in your area or attend one.  By meeting other  tweeps, marketers, prospects you can gain insight, advice, and/or possibly new drinking buddies.  Look for local folks to follow.  Same applies when you are traveling for business.

14.  INSTALL TWEETDECK!   If you haven’t alreadydone so download it now. http://tweetdeck.com  It’s a fantastic way to organize your followers and conversations.  Use it in addition to twitter.com

WARNING:  These tips are MY opinions and there are other schools of thought out there. 

FEEDBACK:  Let me know which tips are your favorites, how many you found helpful, and which ones suck.  It’s okay to disagree with me too… just tell my why.  Send me an @reply  or leave a comment here.

PHOTO:  Courtesy of Flickr and Little Miss Sunshine.