10 Easy Tips and Tricks to Successful Twitter Microblogging

People have been searching for the formula to finding value out of twitter.  My previous post on 10 steps to finding business value in twitter.  Now that you’re using twitter, you’ll find these will launch your experience and value into hyperspeed.

I use SharePoint as my community example throughout, if you’re not a SharePoint person you can easily replace with .NET or whatever.

1. Twitter to Facebook – Add the facebook twitter app at http://apps.facebook.com/twitter then put in your twitter account.  One draw back… if you tweet a lot you get a lot of wall posts, including replies.  It does say it comes from twitter so the techy people should understand, but your family may be confused.  It does allow for a nice interesting threaded discussion on your wall.

2. Blog to Twitter (to Facebook) –  Twitterfeed.com as simple as logging in and putting in your RSS.  I suggest putting "Blog:" so we can tell immediately what this is.  Cool thing it can automatically be shortened even.

3. Twitter & Blog to FriendFeed – Yet another aggregation service, but I like this one better than legit.  FriendFeed.com consolidates all your twittering and blogging and flickr and about 50+ other services.  Scoble is recommending it based on the ability to see what you’re doing across the web.  My initial feedback is, yes it’s worth it.  You don’t have to spend any time there, but it is a decent way to provide web consolidation of your various feeds.  This will make your twitters and all the rest available via RSS via a "Home Feed."  (You can view and subscribe to my friend feed at http://friendfeed.com/joeloleson)

4. Twitter to blog with Twitter Widgets – You may or may not have seen my recent post on SharePoint Widgets and Webparts.  The Twitter widget that you see on my blog is from widgetbox.com.

5. Use Global Search – On twitter.com in "Find People" you can search.  http://twittersearch.com/statuses?searchstring=sharepoint or http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23sharepoint If you search for SharePoint, you can see recent tweets where people use the term "SharePoint."  The real value I’ve found in tweetdeck the ability to add a search for "SharePoint." There are always some interesting tweets from people who are having conversations, people needing help, or people beyond help.  Tweet deck adds a pane so you can watch your normal following, plus this pane.  I’m also a fan of the twitscoop pane.  If you follow twitscoop you can add this pane.  This will show you current trends, from Windows7 to DOW to Palin.  The latest SNL Palin with Tina Fey… if it’s any good :).  You’ll stay ahead of the days trends and news minus the commercials and repetition.  Without doing much I can simply do a quick scan and see how I can help people in the SharePoint community.  Obviously it’s much easier to do when they follow me or @ contact me.

Using search.twitter.com you can actually subscribe to the RSS feed of query.  http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?lang=en&q=sharepoint 

6. Use Hashtags – hashtags.org has setup indexing if you follow @hashtags and use one.  Check out their site hashtags.org for more information #SharePoint, whether you follow hastags or not, it will be much easier for all of us to see your posts if you include #SharePoint or SharePoint in your interesting SharePoint posts.  Many events will have special tags like #TEUS08 (Teched US 2008) or #Gartner (Gartner Symposium).  Hashtags will give you visibility outside your followers as people search or even retweet these tags.

olivermarks #cse I’m at Cloud Summit Executive conf at Computer museum mountain view ca, high end saas business discussion

#Gartner new analyst video now available on YouTube: www.youtube.com/gartnervideo

More on hashtags on the twitter wiki.  That’s another place to learn and get better.  There are some people that are annoyed by hashtags and would prefer you use the new Track options.  I don’t want IM notifications, I simply want to be able to filter the relevant community related content.

7. Follow to be followed – Enter your real name in your profile.  If you search for your full name and can’t find yourself, how can anyone else?  Those who understand the value of twitter, understand that those you follow dictate the level of interesting conversation.

Secret: I follow people who follow SharePoint.  This means I look at the followers of SharePoint, SharePoint MVPs, and MS SharePoint people.  I now follow over 1000 people and see 10 tweets every 5 minutes.  I went from having a tight following of just SharePoint folks to a much broader base of SharePoint Users, Admins, Developers, and people who occasionally complain about SharePoint amongst other social networking and news contacts.

8. There’s MORE! It’s not just marketing or lame status updates – I actually find a lot of conversations revolve around development, support, even venting can be therapeutic. 🙂 Let me give you a glance into the future.  Today there’s a lot of people who don’t get microblogging.  They wouldn’t see twitter as a place to go for answers… cause what can you really get in 140 characters?  In the future people will say… I do a search or pose my question to my favorite microblogging interface and ask my 5000 friends (followers) and within seconds I can have the answer and a source (URL.) Your following becomes very valuable.  Think about the millionare game show.  If you could ask your 60 second million dollar question to twitter, google, or facebook.  You’d have a different experience on each.

LLiu Finally! Someone said "everyone is a marketer – support, dev, etc." I heart you man! 🙂 Social media not just a marketing thing. #nms08

9. Retweet incredible things and big announcements – RT at the beginning of your post means ReTweet.  This is a way of passing on an important or incredible message.  It’s amazing what you can fit in 140 characters, but these will give you visibility.  I recently retweeted where someone lost their teenager daughter.  In the next 10 minutes I saw the message retweeted a half dozen times.

RT @genochurch‘s 14 yr old daughter is missing http://tinyurl.com/5yodvb. Please retweet! (via @tranqy)

This one spread like wildfire on twitter.  I see a rate of 20 tweets per minute of this tweet now.  <Update>More like 250 per minute according to this article</update>

10. Twitter Mashups and Community – There is so much possibility here.  When you mashup maps and twitters you get twittervision.com and twitspy.com.  Look at election.twitter.com and you can imagine a sharepoint.twitter.com where you see the top recent tweets and topics and realtime rolling search results.

Developer?  Check out the twittervision API

Did you know you could follow Barack Obama and Joe Biden or Stephen Colbert?  They’ll tell you what to watch and where to go.  Mccain isn’t on twitter?  Guess we shouldn’t be surprised.  I’d like to follow Palin.  Not just what people are saying about her… (in election.twitter.com you can do this.)

Twitter – Life or Death?  Add the Red Cross and they can tell you where to go, what to do, and communicate with you if there’s a disaster.  You can imagine using your phone to respond… Very practical.  In your profile you can update where you are, or use twitteriffic on your phone to send GPS location.

If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Wear protective clothing, take important papers, tell someone where you’re going. #LAFIRE 11:11 AM October 13, 2008 from web

CA Wildfire evacuation shelter is at San Fernando High School San Fernando High School 11133 Omelveny Ave San Fernando, CA 91340 #LAFIRE 10:55 AM October 13, 2008 from web

The dev.twitter.com guys are doing a bunch in this area…

"What kinds of new methods will you be adding to the API?

Well, search-related methods, as you might guess. We’re embracing the concepts of searching and filtering statuses, and we have a bunch of ideas about how that’s going to fit into Twitter. Expect the ability to filter many API responses by provided search terms, for example (ex, an API method that can answer the question, "what are the people I follow saying about ‘iPhone 3G’?")."

One last thought… Have you looked at http://status.twitter.com/  Have you ever considered building one of these for your users?  You can communicate your downtime, people could subscribe to the feeds.  It’s essentially a team blog with the whole intention of speaking broadly to your user base, but then allowing them to comment without having to pick up the phone.  The 2 way communication from the small twitter team to the millions of twitter users may seem daunting, but now compare that to your environment.  It can definitely increase user/client satisfaction.

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