Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Twitter: Networking tips for WAHMs

Do you Twitter? Are you an avid user, or have you signed up but never really "gotten" it? I'm kind of in the middle. At first I didn't really understand the concept, but after a few months it kind of clicked. I find it's a great resource as well as a very good way to promote your work and build an audience.

On Twitter, I get ideas for my articles and blog posts, as well as participate in conversations on a variety of topics and current events. And there's also the social aspect of peeking into eachothers' lives -- I especially like to see what's going on with other work at home moms.

Like any social networking tool, it's very important to actually be part of your Twitter community, in a give-take sort of way, and not simply use it to self-promote. That won't work, anyway, as your followers will drop off like dead flies. I saw one Twitterer whose whole page of recent updates was a documentation of recent activity on certain websites. There were no responses to other Twitter friends or even chatty Tweets. Unfollow.

Here are some thoughts and resources I've gathered about Twitter, from my experience as well as from Twitter pros.

Twitter People
If you've just signed up for Twitter, your Tweets wil echo as you send them out to an empty Twittoshphere. You need an audience -- followers -- and you need to find people to follow to receive incoming Tweets.

You can start with your email contact list, but that will likely only produce a few good matches. Next step is social networking. Check out your favorite blogs -- many will have "Follow Me on Twitter" graphics or Tweet feeds. Definitely follow anyone whose blog interests you.

Write a few Tweets right away so people will follow you back -- post a intro Tweet, link to your blog, ask your followers a question. This gives readers an idea of your Twitter personality.

Find out who your new Twitter friends are following, and look for profiles that interest you. Follow them, and you'll likely be followed in return. You can usually find a bunch of writers by checking a freelancer's profile, and Mommy Twitterers by checking out other Twitter Moms' lists.

Twitter Tips
  • Don't fire off a series of Twitters one after another; this creates a whole section of Tweets from you on your follower's page and can be annoying. Unless related, space out your Tweets.
  • Respond to Twitter peeps who ask questions; this helps to build Twitter relationships.
  • Write at least two helpful, fun or chatty Tweets for every one update linking to your work.
  • Tweets should be useful, funny, informative or catchy.
  • Check out PC Mag's Twitter Tips for Newbies to get the scoop on RT (retweeting) and other Twitter functions.
  • If you're past the newbie stage, read these 35 Twitter Tips gems.

Twitter Tools
Okay, this is for those of you who are ready to take Twitter to the next level. Apparently, there are all kinds of tools you can use to be a more effective Twitterer. (And if you're not there yet, don't worry--just enjoy it and leave the gizmos for later.)

I'll refer this section over to the pros, as I don't have the experience to give you a in-depth rundown. Read

12 Twitter Stream Aggregators To Make You Smarter

to learn about Twitter tools you never knew you needed.

Twitter for WAHMs

Once you build your Twitter community, you can use Twitter to offer freelance writing services, promote new blog posts you write or websites you build, sell design services or whatever else you do as a WAHM.

You can get tips from other work-at-home moms balancing kids and computers, diapers and deadlines ... or just enjoy knowing there are many others out there just like you.

Twitter is a great way to network with a large number of people and find a smaller number with whom you will connect more closely, in professional working relationships as well as friendships.


Are you on Twitter? Follow me and I'll return the follow. And while you're here, share some twitter advice -- I'm still learning the ropes!


Katy said...

I installed twitterfox in firefox and it's wonderful. I am pretty new to twitter so these tips are very helpful.

Maria said...

Katy, I use Firefox so that might be great for me -- thanks for the tip!

Jami said...

I just started on Twitter and I'm still learning the ropes. Thanks for the tips Maria. I still need to get more followers!

Anonymous said...

Oh! I also wanted to say that I'm using a service called Yoono which is a Firefox extension. It allows you to manage several social sites (Facebook, Twitter), email, feeds, and IM services all in one sidebar. I'm loving it so far!

Marilynne said...

I finally understand a bit about Twitter. Thanks.

I love the language. I'm not sure I have the time to Twitter in addition to blogging and keeping up on everything else. (And I don't even have kids at home.)

Thanks for the explanation.


Lindsay said...

Awww, I can't believe I wasn't already following you. I'm a pretty lazy Twitterer, heh. I must confess that social media has never been my cup of tea. :P