Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Organized Chaos - 3 Ways to get the Most out of the Twitter Stream

A while back one of my clients asked me to help set up a Twitter account for an associate.  'Sure thing!' I said and went right to work.  We set up our new guy with a Twitter profile, I added a good pic, found some appropriate Tweeps to follow and began monitoring the activity.  I've worked with Twitter for a while and I know the platform's capabilities, but the new Tweep I helped to set up did not share the same enthusiasm. He did log in once in a while to check things out, and one day he asked me: "What is the point of Twitter? All I see is a bunch of random junk..."

And so I explained the Organized Chaos of Twitter....

Yes, technically Organized Chaos would be called an oxymoron my language scholars. But on Twitter, you will see how a stream of random thoughts and ideas come together to help your business or social cause gain notoriety in the social media world.

How can you get the most out of Twitter's Organized Chaos?

1. Follow Quality Tweeps

You just set up your Twitter profile and have selected a few Tweeps to follow.  While it's a great idea to follow Tweeps within your target market or niche, you can follow others outside that realm for added flavor and variety (even I have my list of celebrity Tweeps that I stalk).  Make sure you are following 'Quality' Tweeps.  How can you tell that you are following a quality Tweep?  Are you getting any value added information from this user's stream?  Do his or her tweets offer an interesting headline, question, quote or something that you would find value added either professionally or personally.  Does it make you smile or think?  If you're answering yes to any of these questions, then the Tweep is a keeper.  If his or her tweets look like a string of ads that are pumped out on a schedule, pass it by.

2. Engage

This is probably the most important step - you must ENGAGE!  Too often, I know of  business leaders  or campaign owners who believe managing their social media means scheduling their weekly list of blog posts shared on Twitter, and that's all there is to it.  Scheduling all posts and passively monitoring the feed may work if you are using Twitter simply to collect information.  Maybe you want to generate leads for a sales promotions, or maybe you would like to see more visitors on your website.  Remember, your followers are scrutinizing your Twitter stream too - you have to make sure your tweets are providing some kind of value or benefit to your followers. Your Tweeps have to be interested in YOU as well as your posts, and the best way to generate that interest is to interact. One of the easiest ways to interact is to simply retweet or favorite a tweet you genuinely liked.

3. Reciprocate

Good Manners still go a long way  - even online.  If someone retweets your tweet, return the favor and retweet one of theirs.  If someone shares one your blog posts on Twitter, return the favor in kind.  Thank your tweeps in an @ mention for any retweets or favorites.  Reciprocating shares, favorites and retweets is a great way to build a loyal, supportive following.

You're following good people, your engaging with your Tweeps, and you're reciprocating their kindness. As you peruse the tweets, you should start seeing a commonality; you may even begin to pick up on a general vibe among groups of followers.  Add a keyword search and Twitter streams can be used to answer questions like: What do customers like about XYZ product, or what is the most annoying part of ABC service?   If you've followed the steps above then all of that 'random junk' will begin to have a familiarity - trends will emerge and tweets that are out of place will surely stand out.  Get the picture - yes? Congratulations!  You are now deciphering the Organized Chaos of Twitter.