Well over a year has elapsed since my last blog, An Idiot’s Guide to being on Twitter. That’s a whole year where I have amassed close to 6,000 followers in what is a relatively short space of time.
I have also accumulated 17,621 tweets, which, by a quick reckoning is a total of nearly 2 million characters. That’s a very large digital footprint left to circumnavigate the gargantuan halls of the information superhighway.
However my digital footprint could yet take on a life of its own and come back to haunt me. I find this a terrifying prospect, as it can be executed by a simple swipe of a finger on my new super-duper phone, which has has processing power that can rival the computing power of Heathrow Airport’s holding patterns.
This phone is so zappy it even has a sense of humour, with Zaha quite often being autocorrected to Haha (sorry Zaha).
So what is the point of this? I often meet people who are put off by Twitter, but it is becoming so ubiquitous that its value can clearly not be underestimated in the realms of professional and personal life.
They tell me they don’t know how to engage with it or see how it can be useful to them. To me this signals that they are not able to fully understand it. Tweets proliferate as such a rate that unless you know how to edit the information it can really be a very terrifying and off-putting prospect. So this is my guide on how to engage with Twitter.
Write a witty bio
This is what people will read about you when they start to follow you, so keep it concise and to the point.
This is the equivalent of the elevator pitch and the business card. It is crucial to get the spiel correct, depending on how you see yourself using Twitter. Too jokey and people might not take you seriously. Too serious and people might thinks you’re a joke.
Engage with tweeps
It’s very important to start gaining followers. If you don’t have followers you might as well go and find the nearest BT call box and ask for a reverse charge call to ET.
Quite simply you won’t have any interaction or anyone paying attention to what you’re tweeting. This leads me onto the next point- one of the main unwritten rule of Twitter that someone follows you must follow them back.
Unless, of course, you’re the @Queen_UK.
It’s amazing once you have found a following your followers will automatically start engaging with you — especially if you have something half interesting to say.
Tweet tasty titbits of your life in a professional and personal capacity — and I don’t mean what you had for breakfast.
Be bold. Put your opinions across and this in turn will help you find new followers who identify with you.
Remember you only have 140 characters to get your message, across so try not to go into the minutiae of the origins of the universe (unless your name is Brian Cox).
Once you have a half decent amount of followers, in turn you can attract other followers- particularly if you get Retweeted.
Retweeting is the holy grail of Twitter. This means the far reaching message you are trying to spread, will go even further to people who don’t even follow you. It may even end up in court so try and keep it founded in fact.
By this point you will have a substantial amount of people following you and you following them. Tweets start flying down your timeline so much so it sends you running to shut down your computer and maybe even turn it off. WAIT! STOP! This is the time to create a List.
Lists are essential to navigate all the information. People will belong to Lists depending on what use they have to you. I have two obvious ones - architects and personal chat.
So now that you have amassed a critical mass of follower, been Retweeted a few times and dodged a custodial sentence you can start believing your own hype and engaging in it.
This works in two ways: you start to get asked to things you would not normally have the opportunity to attend and you may be brazen enough to start meeting some of your followers. This may be in the form of a Tweetup. BD organise one every few month and they’re usually full of like minded individuals, with the potential to become an extensive real-time network.
By now you should have stealthily Tweeted from the corner of the room at every social occasion you have attended recently and talked about it to anyone who will listen. You have attended your first Tweetup.
Twitter now starts to have an even more far reaching effect than you were expecting. Major companies are starting to employ legions of customer service representatives to see what people are saying about them on Twitter. Been pissed off by shoddy goods or crap service recently? Start Tweeting your complaint- have a good Twinge!
Finally, at last, well done you have reached the Twitter pinnacle and can start calling yourself a ‘Social Media Expert’.
By Susie Clapham
Susie Clapham is Director of FLASC
28 October 2014