This is the basic outline of the presentation I made at ReBar Toronto. Alec moderated and we fielded a lot of questions together about Google+ and Facebook after the presentation. Alas, we only have detailed notes from the opening presentation.
The first rule of tweeting the right way is to actually have something to say. No one can accuse you of spam if you share something that’s of real value to them. You should always remember that. If you are tweeting about something which you wrote or posted to your own website, make sure you would want to read it first before starting to promote it to other people.
Your content should always be high quality and informative. The goal is to provide useful information to people who are interested in that field.
Be personal and stay away from the usual generic content everyone keeps posting. The key is to provide useful content with adding your personal touch to it, which should then attract your audience.
Recently for one of our clients Richard Silver we published an article which enjoyed great success on social media. We'll talk you through the process which made "Top 10 Places in Toronto to Buy Local Food" a success.
The next thing you should do is to search for your audience. For every article there is at least an hour of research, trying to find people to share the message with. Let’s say your topic is Local Food Stores in Toronto. In this case, you’d search for everyone that may be interested in local food, organic food or even just food and you should localize it to Toronto, because that should be your main audience. This is another thing to keep in mind – target locally. The more local you are, the bigger the impact is.
On Topsy.com you can search for all the people who have recently tweeted about the same thing you’re trying to share. It’s useful when you’re trying to find direct tweets and messages on the same topic and the best thing about it is that you can reply to the same tweet and engage in a conversation – which is highly recommended. Topsy also allows you to find "influencers" which are people with the greatest social authority on Twitter and if they'd to retweet your tweets and share them a lot of people are to see them. You should always target influencers, but only if a hundred percent sure they'd be interested.
An useful trick - find out how many people tweeted about your article by searching by URL.
On Followerwonk you can search for people by topic and also by their location, which is really useful when you're trying to find targets in Toronto. You can also modify your search by a few other criteria like the number of followers or a number of tweets.
After you've researched your audience, you can create a list of people you want to target. If you have enough time, you can write to each of the targets separately, which is always the better option, but since money is time, Hootsuite is the place where you want to be.
Hootsuite allows you to schedule your tweets, so you can write them before they're sent out. It also shows retweets and mentions in only one window, so you don't have to click through in Twitter to find them.
To tweet just add the username of the person you want to tweet to and add a message with a link to the article you want to share. You should always use the bit.ly to shorten your URL's, because bit.ly also allows you to track click on the link and it saves character space in Tweets. The biggest problem of tweets is that they're limited so you have to be really creative to sum up everything you want to say in only 140 characters minus the link and the username tag, which leaves you with about maximum 100 characters. You need to be imaginative and creative.
There are certain tips and tricks to creating a good tweet. What works almost everytime is asking questions. People like to be asked questions, especially when the questions are challenging. If you ask a question in your tweet it's a big call-to-action move and if you can include a bit of controversy in it to attract your audience, you've just discovered the winning formula.
Other than asking questions, tweeting is a lot like flirting. You start by learning about a person, which means asking questions, then you share something that they'd like to hear about and then if you've hit the right spot you get a date - or a retweet.
You should always act as a real person instead of a business on social media, because that's why social media were created, so that people can connect online. That's the key - connecting. You may not find the relevant and loyal audience right the first time, but that's okay. Creating connections and building friendships takes time and that's okay. In the meantime, you get to practice. Just remember - act human, add personal thoughts and experiences and provide useful content with an opinion.
You can apply most of the principles above to both Google+, LinkedIn and even Facebook. Pinterest, StumbleUpon and Reddit are a bit different.
While the process here is a bit mechanical, this is the opening gambit. You should take care to build and maintain these relationships. This means reading and retweeting relevant posts from your new connections. Some of social media can be automated but mostly it requires a deft human touch. Social media is important to search now so you can neither afford to ignore it nor get dinged for spam. The relationship between social media and search is a topic for another day.