OK, that is a pretty pretentious title. Who am I to tell you how to use Twitter? The simple fact is (and itâ€™s one of the true beauties of social networking) there are no â€śrulesâ€ť about how to use Twitter. The title, and gist, of this post however, fits in with my previous post,Â How Not to Use Twitter. That, and LouisÂ has been bugging me to complete this â€śseriesâ€ťâ€¦
Rules or no rules, there are some tips and techniques that you can utilize to increase your chances of â€śsuccessâ€ť on Twitter.
Whoa, â€śsuccessâ€ť on Twitter? How do we define â€śsuccessâ€ť?
Depends. Personally, I think if you are using Twitter for the sole purpose of generating leads (and eventually commission checks), then you are making a mistake and likely wasting your time. If you want to expand your sphere of influence, if you want to get to meet and engage with people from all walks of life, if you want to share and expand your knowledge and increase your â€śinternet presenceâ€ť, then by all means, utilize social networking tools like Twitter.
Simply put, the â€śhard sellâ€ť doesnâ€™t work in social media. Start with the â€śIâ€™m a REALTOR!â€ť and â€śIâ€™m a top producer!â€ť or â€śLook at my new listing!â€ť talk and people will instantly tune you out (if not outright unfollow or block you). In my opinion, the single best thing to do with a tool like Twitter is use it to engage with people. Ultimately, you can use Twitter to actually meet people â€śIRLâ€ť (In Real Life). And letâ€™s face it, in real life is still the best social network ever, bar none.
Setting up a Twitter account is simple. Just go to Twitter.com and follow the brief instructions and youâ€™ll be â€śtweetingâ€ť in no time.
But without â€śfollowersâ€ť (people that chose to connect with you on Twitter), youâ€™ll be tweeting in a vacuum.
Warning! While you do need followers, please donâ€™t fall into the trap of thinking of Twitter as a numbers game. There are countless articles out there about how to get a bazillion followers on Twitter. Donâ€™t fall for them. It is not just about the number of followers.
Find a couple of people to follow. Once you follow someone, you can see who they follow. As a real estate agent, you will likely naturally navigate toward following and engaging with others in the real estate space. And thatâ€™s OK. Itâ€™s viable networking and a way to learn more about real estate.
But if you donâ€™t engage with local, non-real estate people, then you are missing out on a huge aspect of Twitter -â€“ specifically expanding your sphere of influence. So seek out some local folks and begin watching their Twitter streams and just jump into the conversation.
How do you find local people on Twitter?
There are several ways. Here are some methods Iâ€™ve found particularly effective:
DownloadÂ TwitterLocal.net. It is a desktop application (free) that allows you to search the â€śTwitter streamâ€ť by location.
Use Twitterâ€™s search function at http://search.twitter.com. Go to the advanced search and enter a location into the â€śNear this placeâ€ť box. You can even set a distance to search by. Youâ€™ll see all sorts of local Tweeps.
TwellowHood is the Yellow Pages of Twitter. You wonâ€™t find ALL local Tweeps here, but I bet you find a bunch.
How do you manage followers?
Once you get upwards of 100 or so people you are following, if you only use Twitter.com to read through Tweets, youâ€™ll probably find you canâ€™t keep up. Importantly, you donâ€™t HAVE to keep up with Twitter all the time. In fact you canâ€™t. But there are applications that make managing Twitter much simpler and more effective.
I am a big fan of TweetDeck. It is free, and allows you to set up groups of followers. I have groups like â€śPhoenixâ€ť, â€śAgentsâ€ť, â€śCool Peopleâ€ť, and â€śFriendsâ€ť. Setting up groups allows you to break out your followers by categories and makes it much simpler to keep track of what people are saying. TweetDeck also allows you to set up searches that update in real time. I have searches set up for â€śRealtorâ€ť and â€śPhoenixâ€ť -â€“ so any time someone uses those words in a tweet, whether I am following them or not, Iâ€™ll see it.
There are also applications for smart phones as well. Just Google â€śiphone twitter clientâ€ť, â€śblackberry twitter clientâ€ť etc.
OK, so Iâ€™m Tweeting with local people, now what?
MEET THEM. I mean meet as in real life. You know, face-to-face over a cup of coffee, a beer, at an event, whatever. MEET THEM. Get to know them. Make a friend!
How do you do that? Organize a â€śTweet upâ€ť. Get out there on Twitter and ASK people to get together. Meet at a coffee shop, a restaurant, a bar. It may take a while to organize and get going, but set up a regular meet up. Start with monthly. Maybe you can move it to weekly if it gains traction.
If you are in a reasonably large metro area, chances are there are already meetups happening. Join them! Use twitter search and try searching for the word â€śtweet upâ€ť (or Tweetup) and restricting the results to a specific geographic area to find local Tweet ups.
Or tryÂ Twtvite. You can search for existing Tweet ups, or create your own. Donâ€™t be shy! Send out a Twtvite and see what happens.
Iâ€™ve met close to a hundred local, non-real estate related people thanks to Tweet ups. Iâ€™ve never given any of them a business card, and I never well. But they all know I sell real estate. And now many are seeking out my advice. Some are even asking me to help them buy or sell a home.
Get a Twitter account
Follow local people
DO NOT HARD SELL.
Attend Tweet ups (or organize one if none exist in your area). MEET PEOPLE!
You donâ€™t have to spend hours a day doing this folks. Twitter limits you to 140 characters per Tweet, so it only takes a few seconds to send one. Pop in and out of Twitter as time permits. Get a desktop client and keep it open while you work. Itâ€™s not hard, itâ€™s fun!
And follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/phxreguy!
Be careful, Twitter has strong addictive properties!