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  • 6 Sep 2011
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Five ways to… make the most of Twitter

01 Get signed up and join in

Twitter is a great networking site that can help professionals in the loop. Users have just 140 characters to post their messages. Signing up at Twitter.com is easy, but making early headway takes time. It helps to complete your Twitter profile (mixing business with some personal is good). Use your avatar too — people like to see who’s behind the tweets.

02 Follow interesting people

Your existing industry contacts and professional bodies may already be tweeting so find them, look at their followers, and see who else you might be able to learn from, or help. If you have favourite journalists or bloggers, follow them, and look out for recommendations — Fridays in particular are days when many tweeters suggest useful people that others might follow (#ff or FollowFriday). And don’t get fixated by the number of followers you have: it’s quality not quantity that counts.

03 Learn the netiquette

Watch and learn how people use Twitter to have conversations, to re-tweet (RT) interesting items, and to ask questions. Be useful. Don’t just broadcast (ie only issue blatant advertisements, special offers or news releases), don’t spam (ie send unsolicited tweets direct to people you don’t know), don’t SHOUT or swear, and don’t tweet when drunk.

04 Make use of Twitter apps and tags

Using a smartphone you can keep in touch and interact while you’re commuting or between meetings. Desktop, online and mobile phone tools such as Tweetdeck or HootSuite can help you monitor what’s happening in the Twitter-sphere.

Hash tags allow you to tag content in your tweets or to search for specific content. For example, search for #construction and you will find all tweets that have construction tagged in them. But don’t overuse hash tags.

05 Take the conversation offline occasionally

Look for opportunities to meet face-to-face occasionally — people are more likely to do business with or recommend someone they’ve actually met. A “tweet-up” at or after a conference or exhibition can help you meet existing contacts and find new ones to stay in touch with.

By PR and marketing consultant Paul Wilkinson. Follow his tweets @EEpaul

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