top twitter tipsYesterday was my 3-year twitter anniversary. To celebrate, I sent one small “humble brag” as one of my twitter friends called it. Hey, I’m a late-comer: @jack sent his 1st tweet over 6 years ago!

In the course of those 3 years, I have interacted with some of the smartest business and marketing people on the planet.

I sent over 18,000 tweets. That’s roughly 17 tweets per day, and over 500 a month.

So I thought it was a good time to share some of my top Twitter Tips (and not to brag with stats that mean nothing to anyone) …

Twitter Tip 1: Listen Before You Tweet

I am no crazy expert like Scott Stratten (@Unmarketing) who wrote one of the most shared blog posts ever about his 50,000 tweets, but in looking at my Tweetstats, I noticed something interesting: I waited 3 months before sending a single tweet. Then in October of 2009, I sent 55.

I watched. And I listened. I followed early adopters like Chip Rodgers (@ChipRodgers) and Mark Yolton (@MarkYolton) from my own company but also Scott and Mark Schaefer (@markwschaefer) and many, many others. Then I jumped in with both tweet (sorry couldn’t resist).

Twitter Tip 2: Share Great Content

Twitter is an amazing mechanism for distributing news, tips, blogs and other types of information. I am somewhat voracious about my desire to scan, filter and share great content. And to me, this is the greatest way to gain followers and become known as a valuable content curation source for your audience.

Twitter Tip 3: Engage With People

Twitter is an amazing information channel but it’s real power comes from the ability to interact with people in real-time, from anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Looking for someone to follow who really understands engagement? Follow Aaron Lee (@AskAaronLee) from Malaysia. Aaron has over 342,000 followers but somehow finds a way to connect with lots of people all the time.

Twitter Tip 4: Find Your Voice

If you are interested in business, cats and knitting, then you should find a way to build that in to your tweeting habits. It’s important to define your goals for being on twitter and then to find your voice in support of that.

By sharing content about topics you are interested in, you will attract an audience with similar interests. Then you can slowly become more influential within that community.

Twitter Tip 5: Have Good Manners

I always say “thank you” in social media. I also try to follow back everyone of my followers who looks like a real person, has a real bio filled out, a profile picture and interacts with others.

So make sure you fill out your profile. Load up your picture. Explain where you work, what you are interested in and anything else important. Include a link to your blog or Linkedin profile.

If you read my top tweeted words over the course of my 3 years on twitter from the image above and string them together, they would read:

RT Thx Social Media Marketing Great RTs B2B Content Business Blog

Twitter Tip 6: Mix It Up

Sometimes I follow all the people who RT me. Other times, I thank them. Other times I RT one of their tweets. And other times, I will go and comment on one of their great blog posts. I try to find different ways to engage with people and test new approaches.

Also make sure you follow some version of the 4-1-1 or 9-1-1 rule (depending on your goals), where you share 4 or 9 articles from other people, and engage in 1 conversation, for each (1) self-promotional tweet you send.

I try to be more like 9-9-1 (9 articles from others, 9 @ replies for each 1 link to one of my blog articles) but you should find what works for you.

Twitter Tip 7: Use Twitter Tools

I rely heavily on Twitter Lists to filter accounts into important groups like “people I work with,” “great bloggers and media accounts” and other important segments. I use Tweetdeck and the columns to scan my lists and schedule posts. I use Triberr to curate great blog posts. I use Buffer when there is just too much great stuff out there and I want to spread my sharing out over a few days.

The trick with using tools is not to over-rely on them. I am not a fan of total twitter automation and will always use Twitter to engage with people on a personal level.

Twitter Tip 8: Use Hashtags Sparingly

Hashtags are a great way to have your content exposed to people outside your circle. But try not to over-use them because it feels a little SPAM-ish to me. You should know what hashtags to use and when to use them for the greatest effect.

Twitter Tip 9: Attend As Many Tweetchats As Your Time Permits

When I first started, I participated in a lot of Tweetchats. I found them to be a great way to find people with similar interests and to engage on topics I was interested in.

I don’t always have the time but tweetchats are a great tool!

I could probably go on for a while, but these are my “top twitter tips.” Feel free to check more tips on how to get started on Twitter where I explain why you should tweet, who you should follow, how to manage your twitter time and more.

And thanks to everyone who has connected with me on Twitter. Feel free to also follow me on LinkedInFacebook or Subscribe to the B2B Marketing Insider Blog.

About Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is the Vice President of Global Marketing for SAP where he leads content strategy and serves as the managing editor of the company’s award-winning Business Innovation thought leadership blog site. He is also the author of B2B Marketing Insider, a contributor to Forbes and a frequent speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, social business, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding.  Follow Michael on Twitter (@BrennerMichael)LinkedInFacebook and Google+ and Subscribe to B2B Marketing Insider by Email

34 Comments

  1. Hilton Hamann said…

    Wise words indeed!

  2. Kristy Falango said…

    What should be filled out in my bio in order to get someone like you interested in looking at my profile?

  3. Kristy Falango said…

    I apologize about the comment above. That was not what I meant to ask. I meant to ask about Twitter bios. You say you make sure the person you’re going to follow has a bio filled out. What should be filled out in my bio in order to get someone like you interested in looking at my profile?

  4. Very cool tips, Michael. Glad to see it’s not just me who thinks manners are important – I thought I was just being an old-fashioned Englishman.

    For anyone wanting to explore Twitter chats more, I recently wrote a post about them, included is a list of the most popular social media and PR chats.

    http://www.geniusstartup.com/secret-twitter-marketing-tool/

    Might help someone get started.

  5. Derek Thomas said…

    I enjoyed reading this article because it has some fantastic Twitter tips that will surely benefit us. Thank you so much for this informative blog post.

  6. Adam Justice said…

    Michael, I’m seeing a Mobile version of your site, even though I’m on a Laptop. Is it supposed to automatically put me on your mobile theme?

  7. Amit Verma said…

    Great Advice and wonderful tips to count. Great post. Thanks for sharing the useful tips. Have a great day.

  8. Matt Southern said…

    Great tips here. It’s very important to communicate with others even more than you broadcast messages. Always be engages. The Twitter chats tip is a great one that I wish I had more time for. But whenever I do find the time to participate it has always been worthwhile.

  9. I agree with Tweet Chats. They are your personal learning center and a great way to engage.

  10. Nick Stamoulis said…

    Number 8 is a great point. I see tweets that are so cluttered with hashtags that it’s hard to tell what it’s even about or if the link is actually relevant to what I’m interested in. It definitely looks spammy. Keep tweets as neat as possible.

  11. rickey gold said…

    Without doubt, one of the best articles I’ve ever read on using Twitter. I think I must share this ;-)

  12. Stephanie Tilton said…

    Thanks for sharing so much useful info via Twitter — and these terrific tips, Michael!

  13. Erika Cannon said…

    Michael, I’m new to Twitter, and am struggling with No. 3! How do you engage with 1000s of people and still do the 64 other things I have to do during the work day. We don’t have the luxury of having a content creator. I see the value in it, though! So how do I get there and not lose my mind. Also – Dan Zarella of Hubspot just reported that those with the most followers have the fewest interactions, statistically speaking. Where’s the middle ground?

    Thanks!

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Hi Erika,

      I don’t engage with 1000s of people. But I engage with those who opportunistically reach out to me. Just as you have 1000s of contacts in your email system but only email with a sample of them.

      You’re a great example. I’m engaging with you because you commented, but not everyone that reads the article.

      I hope that helps!

  14. Suzanne Cole said…

    Hi Michael,

    I enjoyed this article; thanks very much. I have a basic misunderstanding, I think, about following. I see so many people who follow thousands — tens of thousands — of others. How on earth do you ever get through that kind of content? I follow very few (100 some odd) of high-quality news and business thought leaders and can’t keep up. Further, I don’t “follow back” most of those who follow me (for this “worried about the tonnage” reason) and after a few days they unfollow me, probably because a program has told them I did not do so, I imagine. How do I expand my circle, make my world bigger, not smaller, but keep it manageable? Is there a way to have a main feed that I always see of my A-listers and then have others file away into a “for later” file? I’ve read the help section on Twitter Lists and it doesn’t say much. Is that the answer? Sorry to be such a newbie. I enjoy your posts very much.

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Hi Suzanne,

      I do not read every tweet from all my followers. But every time someone follows me, I consider whether they are a real person and if they are, then I follow them back. If someone reaches out their hand to say “nice to meet you,” you would reach back out. The trick for me is to manage my twitter followers into lists and columns.

      I have long talked about one of the best way to expand your followers is by paying some small amount of social equity to others. Share their content, follow them, and one of the best ways is just to follow your followers back.

      So here is what I do. I create twitter lists of different groups of people and then add them as columns on tweetdeck or hootsuite.

      I hope that helps!

  15. Claire Evans said…

    I think michael that you treat Twitter as you would treat a ‘real life’ physical contact, being polite and courteous gets you a long way. If you treat other people how you would like to be treated yourself, in business, in your private life and through social media, it reallys helps you to progress. Not only that, you tend to attract like minded people rather than the nut cases that the world has to offer.

  16. Jamie Rico said…

    Great article! I really enjoyed it and learned a lot from it. I do have one question however, these tips seem more for people with a blog or a business. Do you have any tips for a strictly personal twitter account and how to grow?

    Thanks for your time!

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Hi Jamie,

      I think these tips and the tips I linked to in my previous posts should apply to any twitter account regardless of whether you are in business or a mommy-blogger or simply someone interested in sharing the news.

  17. Tube In A Box said…

    Great Tips! Thanks so much for sharing the knowledge! Every little bit helps!

    @tubeinabox

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