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Twitter Strategy (updated)

by Randall Craig on September 29, 2009

Filed in: Blog, Communication, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Social Media

Tagged as: ,

There are no shortage of discussions about Twitter, which is ironic, as each “Tweet” is at most 140 characters, the length of this sentence.

Yet most people wonder how – and even why – this so-called phenomenon is being used. Is there an ROI?  Who has the time? (another 140 characters)

If you are just getting into Twitter – or have been using it without much success – consider these nine different Microblogging strategies: (another 140)

Time-waster: You have followed others who provide a steady stream of low-value information, but which you find fascinating. And in turn, you provide your followers the minute details of whatever happens to be on your mind.

Ostrich:  This group doesn’t “believe” in Twitter, and doesn’t “support” it.  Ostriches pretend that the millions of conversations that are occurring daily are completely irrelevant, and that no one is talking about their organization, brand, customers, prospects, colleagues, or competitors.

Lurker: In this strategy, you are a consumer of information. You have followed a number of people (friends, family, colleagues, and a few experts), and they provide you with intelligence relevant to your work and personal life. You rarely Tweet yourself.

Searcher: You don’t follow many people, but you use the Twitter Search functionality to review trending topics and links to newly available resources. You don’t typically post much at all: Twitter search is your new version of Google.

Strategic sender: With this strategy, you send updates – usually self-centered – to let your clients, colleagues, and suppliers know about your important professional activities. You may do an update once or twice weekly – not more often, or your Tweets may look like spam. You may be a Reader as well.

Asker: As an Asker, you are concerned about what your customers, prospects, and the Twitterverse thinks. Instead of telling the world something (eg “Just launched the Gismo-212, find out more here”) you ask them for their opinion instead (eg “Anyone using our new Gismo-212? What do you think?) While it sounds like market research, it is really more about the conversation than the data collection.

Spammer: Your number one goal as a spammer is to collect followers, and then send links to a product or service sales page, often several times each day. In the same way that email spam is unappreciated, following this strategy is a quick way to get yourself “unfollowed”.

Trusted Guru: A Trusted Guru is a person who is completely up-to-date in their area of expertise, and shares this by Tweeting several times daily, with links, short editorial comments, and other value-added content. The Trusted guru rarely Tweets about personal activities.

False Prophet: This strategy is one where you will try to establish “authority” by virtue of the quality of your posts, but where there is little or no real-world expertise. (Unfortunately for everyone in the “Twitterverse”, real-life Trusted Gurus are often too busy to actually implement a Trusted Guru strategy, clearing the way for False Prophets.)

Of course, no matter which strategy you choose, a key component is closing the loop: six months after you start – is the time spent worthwhile?  Are you achieving what you set out to achieve?

This week’s action item: Consider which category you want to be in, and don’t waste your time doing things that don’t give you a good return on your time investment. (A final 140 characters.)

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com

www.108ideaspace
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About 

Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at randallcraig.com and 108ideaspace.com.

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