- What if you could gain instant celebrity status?
- What if you could attract tens of thousands of followers in a few short weeks or months?
- What if you could influence others and change the world with only 140 characters of text sent from a computer or mobile?
- What if your every action, thought and whim was broadcast to the public live 24 hours per day 7 days a week?
- What if you could connect effortlessly with like-minded individuals instantly from all over the world? Just think of the possibilities…
- And what if dogs knew how to Twitter? There would obviously be no barking up the wrong tree.
The How to Twitter mind map provides beginners with an introduction to Twitter and helps clarify how Twitter can be used as a business and personal branding tool.
Before we get stuck into things, please keep in mind that I am no Twitter expert. All the information contained within this blog post and the accompanying mind map has been gathered from a great number of valuable articles and online resources written by those who have a lot more knowledge in this area than I do. To acknowledge these blogger’s expertise and analysis, I have included a list of links to their articles at the conclusion of this post.
Introduction to Twitter
Within this section we will explore some examples of the way Twitter is being used by others. We will also discuss several benefits of using Twitter for branding your personal services or products.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is an online service that enables you to send short messages of 140 characters or less from your PC, tablet or mobile phone to your friends and followers. It is very much a social broadcasting service that allows for instant communication with others around the world.
What Questions Does Twitter Answer?
The Twitter service answers the following questions:
What are you doing?
What are you sharing?
What are you thinking?
What has your attention?
Business Uses for Twitter
Twitter is a social tool that can be used for a number of business purposes. Here is a list of ways that businesses use Twitter on a daily basis:
- To promote services, special offers and joint ventures.
- To send out alerts of new product releases, newsletters and blog posts.
- To provide interesting and helpful links and tips.
- To improve customer relations and interaction.
- To broadcast directly from live events.
- To make money.
- To generate traffic to their website.
Productivity Uses for Twitter
Twitter is also a great tool that can help you boost your productivity throughout the day. Here is a list of ways that Twitter can be used as a productivity tool:
- Managing to-do lists.
- As a research tool.
- For collecting news, notes and ideas about topics of interest through the Twitter’s search service.
Interactive Uses for Twitter
Primarily Twitter is an interactive tool that enables you to communicate instantly with others from around the world. Here are some examples of how Twitter can be used as a communication tool:
- Group communication and instant collaboration.
- Creating contests.
- Conducting surveys and polls.
- General networking.
- Asking questions or gaining feedback about specific topics.
Benefits of Twitter
Using Twitter on a regular basis has several short and long-term benefits that can be just as valuable as other social networks.
- Increases your credibility.
- Increases your expertise.
- Increases your social reach.
- Provides you with unique insights into your industry.
- Provides inspiration.
- Grows and enhances your brand through exposure and awareness.
Writing Great Twitter Content
Within this section we will analyze the type of content that can be published on Twitter, and discusses how this content should be structured and worded for greatest impact. Additionally this branch breaks-down how Twitter can be monetized to earn you a little extra pocket change.
Type of Content to Share on Twitter
There is effectively no limit to the type of content that you can share with your friends and followers on Twitter. However, as with any social service, here are some guidelines that will help you to make a positive impact on the Twitter community:
- Share inspiring quotes, metaphors and stories.
- Share what you are using, watching, listening to, thinking and reading.
- Share useful ideas, images and news stories.
- Share links to services, products, events, blogs and websites.
- Only share quality resources and content.
- Share content that adds value to your followers.
Additionally when sharing your 140 character tweets with others it is important that you are considerate, personal, original, promotional, interactive, interesting, informative and fun. All of these highly valued Twitter traits will help expand your credibility, expertise and influence online.
The Fundamentals of Great Content
Here are some additional suggestions and guidelines that will help you to become a better and more influential Twitterer:
- When writing you must provide you followers with a call-to-action.
- Target keywords that are commonly searched for.
- Be clear, concise, simple and valuable.
- Tweet something that will automatically catch the eye of your followers and friends.
Over time Twitter users have taken on board a number of Twitter shortcuts and additional services that enhance the Twitter experience and make content creation a little more fun and interactive.
Here is a break-down of some of these additions:
- Use shorthand codes to Twitter more with less.
- Use @sign to acknowledge or communicate directly with others.
- Use #hashtags to categorize your tweets and make them easier to find.
- Use URL shortening services such as Bit.ly and Tinyurl to shorten your hyperlinks.
- Use TwitPic and TwitrPix to insert links to images directly into your tweets.
Monetizing Twitter Content
If done correctly and somewhat carefully, Twitter can be monetized and turned into a cash making machine. However, you must be very careful not to overdo things. Anything worthwhile is always best done in moderation.
Here are four ways that this can be achieved:
Providing Time Sensitive Affiliate Links
Every once in a while provide your followers with time sensitive affiliate links and other promotions that they can take advantage of.
Providing Money Saving Opportunities
If you sell your own products and services, then offer your followers discounts and time sensitive money saving opportunities that they can take advantage of — available only to them.
Arranging Sponsorship Deals with Businesses
When you are confident that you have enough avid and enthusiastic followers, you can arrange a sponsorship deal with another business, where they will send an automatic tweet to your followers at specific intervals — advertising their products and services for a price (providing you with a little extra pocket change). There are several services such as Be a Magpie and Twittad that can get you started.
Guidelines for Branding on Twitter
Within this section we will delve into Twitter branding and provide you with several guiding principles that will enable you to establish a strong and influential Twitter presence.
How to Brand on Twitter
Here are some suggestions of how to go about branding yourself or your business on Twitter:
Choose Personal or Company Brand
Before you create an account on Twitter you must decide whether you would like to brand it under your company or personal name. You could effectively set up two accounts that focus on different Twitter marketing strategies.
Select Twitter Marketing Niche
Here you must decide what target market you will be focusing on, and clarify how they will benefit from your tweets, links, pictures, and thoughts.
Select Your Twitter Strategy
Decide on the Twitter strategy you will pursue. Here are a few things to consider:
- Who is your niche target market?
- What type of content do they expect you to provide them with?
- How often will you publish this content?
- How will you go about providing value to your followers?
- Will your content include photos, links, etc?
- How will your Twitter strategy differentiate you from others within your specific niche?
- How will you go about earning money through Twitter?
These are only some of the questions you should be asking yourself before jumping head-first into Twitter.
Create a Twitter Profile
There are essentially two ways to go about this. You can either modify your Twitter profile page in a way that it seamlessly integrates with your website. Or you can include a branded Avatar, name, and background image presenting links to your website and your unique selling proposition.
Follow People Within Your Industry
Don’t just follow anyone. Instead follow people within your niche specific industry who share similar content and information with their followers and friends. In this way you will always be in the loop and know exactly what is happening within your topic of focus.
By tweeting regularly (daily) you are showing others that they can rely on you to provide them with high value content on a consistent basis.
Tweet at Peak Times
Tweeting at peak times will help gain you a higher density of re-tweets (RT) throughout the day, which will likewise generate you more clicks, exposure and potential traffic to your website.
Peak times obviously vary depending on the market you are targeting. Often the hours between 9 to 5 pm Monday to Thursday are the best times for twittering. However, keep in mind your time zone and the time zone of your target market.
Be Helpful to Others Within Your Niche
Help others within your niche, and they will be more likely to help you when you need assistance in the future.
Encourage Participation with Your Brand
Run competitions, surveys, and ask questions of your followers and friends that get them involved with your brand in some way.
Showcase Your Contributions to the Community
Community contribution may include offline or online ventures.
Inform your followers what you are doing to enhance and add value to your niche market and how they will benefit as a result.
Showcase Your Expertise and Knowledge
Twitter is an opportunity for you to showcase what you know, what you can do, and how others will benefit as a result.
Keep in mind that Twitter is only a means to an end that you must use effectively to drive traffic to your website, blog and sales pages.
Showcase Future Blog Posts and Product Releases
Inform your followers and friends of upcoming product releases and blog posts you will be writing about. In this way you create anticipation and excitement around your brand and online services.
How NOT to Brand on Twitter
Here are some suggestions of how not to go about branding yourself or your business on Twitter:
Don’t Follow Everyone
There are two schools of thought here. The 1st school of thought says that you should follow as many others as possible. In this way you will gain a greater amount of exposure for your blog or website. This may indeed be true to a certain extent, however how many of those who follow you do you think actually care about your content? And likewise this could also be true from your perspective if you are following many people.
Additionally there are only a certain amount of tweets you can possibly read throughout your day. If you are following 15,000 twitterers, then you are most likely receiving tens of thousands of tweets every 24 hours. How productive could you potentially be if you read every tweet and click on several hundred links per hour?
I see it every single day. I come across a twitterer who has 10,000 followers, and I think “Wow they are popular and must be an expert within their niche“. However, I look at their following count and they have 12,500 people they are following. Does someone with a following to follower ratio such as this have actual influence within their specific niche? Or are they just trying to follow everyone they come across in order to generate one time visitors to their website?
The 2nd school of thought says that you must keep your follower to following ratio down as much as possible. In this way you will be seen as having credibility within your niche market and industry. For instance if I visit someone’s Twitter profile and I notice that they are following 500 twitterers while at the same time they are being followed by 15,000, then this immediately informs me that this is a person of influence who has credibility within their industry.
You could of course argue that if your content and tweets are of an exceptional nature that you could win over many avid fans to your blog or website by following thousands of twitterers. And I do believe that this could work. So the strategy you choose from here on in, is completely up to you.
IQ Matrix on Twitter has chosen the 2nd school of thought strategy by not following everyone that follows IQ matrix. Instead IQ matrix only follows people within the mind map industry or thought leaders within other industries. Could this strategy change in the future? Yes it could, depending on the need and circumstances. Flexibility is always the key.
Don’t oversell you products or services to your followers, otherwise they will become quitters. Instead you should balance your Twitter content appropriately by providing enough free value mixed in with a marketing message pitching your products and services every-so-often.
Don’t Reply to Every @ Tweet
When you start replying to every @ tweet, then you are effectively flooding your Twitter stream with potentially irrelevant messages that will put off other followers. At times it may be appropriate to reply to @ tweets when they are relevant to others as well. However, in most cases it’s probably more appropriate to simply reply to this person through Twitter’s private message facility.
Don’t Curse or Spam
There is nothing worse than cursing uncontrollably on Twitter or spamming others with your sales pitch.
Don’t Update Excessively
When you update excessively, your followers may very well miss out on reading your best and most valuable tweets. In the end it’s all about the value of the content, and not the quantity of your updates.
Don’t Toot Your Own Horn Excessively
As with every social situation, be sure to stay humble, and don’t excessively toot your own horn.
Don’t Read Every Tweet
On the surface this has nothing to do with branding, but I thought it would be necessary to include it here because if you happen to spend too much time reading other tweets, then you simply won’t have any time to brand and grow your own business.
Follow IQ Matrix on Twitter
If you are interested in keeping updated with the latest mind mapping, visual thinking and creativity news from around the web then please follow IQ matrix on Twitter. Additionally the IQ matrix Twitter updates include alerts of new mind map poster releases and other relevant information that filters through the IQ matrix blog and store.
Twitter Badges Created by Paul Foreman
The talented hand drawn mind mapper Paul Foreman has created a set of unique follow-me Twitter badges you can add to your blog for free to draw attention to your Twitter profile.
Here are several handy Twitter resources that you may find useful to help improve your Twitter experience:
Your Questions Answered
Other Mobile Applications
URL Shortening Services
How to Twitter Blog Posts
Before delving into the list of articles and blog posts, I would highly recommend you visit and subscribe to TwiTip which is a How to Twitter blog providing beginner and advanced Twitter users with tips, techniques and strategies for making the most use of their Twitter time and establishing their branded identity. The blog is managed by fellow Australian Darren Rowse of Pro Blogger, and presents a definitive guide for Twitter.
Another great Twitter blog is EverythingTwitter. They have a wonderful list of articles and resources that are definitely worth checking out.
Here are a number of highly recommended free articles that were researched when creating this blog post and accompanying mind map:
General Twitter Articles
- When One Twitter Account is Not Enough @ TwiTip
- How to Become Instantly RT-able (a Twitter Guide) @ Model Supplies
- The Ultimate Guide to Twitter Hashtags @ Search Engine Journal
- 100 Twitter Tools to Help You Achieve Your Goals @ Social Blog
- Twitter is as Bad (Or as Good) as You Make It @ TwiTip
- 8 Useful Tips to Become Successful with Twitter @ Smashing Magazine
- How to Get Things Done with Twitter @ ZenHabits
- 5 Ways to Benefit from Twitter @ TwiTip
- Top 10 Uses of Twitter and Tools @ Top Rank Marketing
- How is Twitter Helping or Hurting You & Your Blog @ The Blog Herald
- How to Avoid Making Twitter a Procrastination Tool @ TwiTip
- All You Need to Know to Twitter @ The New York Times
Guides for Beginners
- 13 Twitter Tips & Tutorials for Beginners @ TwiTip
- Top 10 Twitter Tips for Beginners @ Best Article Daily
- Think Like a Toddler and Find Your Voice on Twitter @ TwiTip
- Top 20 Twitter Posts of 2008 @ Search Engine Journal
- Best Explanation for Twitter: It’s Like Working in a Cafe @ Digital Inspiration
- The Idiots Guide to Twitter @ The Blog Entrepreneur
- Here’s Twitter in Plain English @ CenterNetworks
- How to Use Twitter – Tips for Bloggers @ Pro Blogger
- 35 Twitter Tips from 35 Twitter Users @ Pro Blogger
- 9 Benefits of Twitter for Bloggers @ Pro Blogger
Following & Unfollowing
- Top 10 Must Follows on Twitter @ TwiTip
- Post Author’s Guide to Unfollow Uninteresting Twitterers @ Lous Gray
- Top 10 Reasons I Will Not Follow You in Return on Twitter @ Mashable
- Twitter Professors: 18 People to Follow for a Real Time Education @ Mashable
- Eight Reasons Why I’ll Unfollow You On Twitter @ Webware
- 31 People to Follow on Twitter @ Weblog Tools Collection
- How to Get More Twitter Followers @ John Chow
- How I Tripled My Twitter Followers Instantly @ Blogging Tips
- Get More Followers by Spending Less Time on Twitter @ TwiTip
- Reasons to Remove Non Followers @ Infected by Bugs
Copy Writing on Twitter
- The Art of Writing Great Twitter Headlines @ Copy Blogger
- Anatomy of a Successful Twit @ TwiTip
- 5 Keys to Twitter Headlines @ SEO 2.0
- How to get ReTweeted – The Formula @ TwiTip
- 6 Ways to Maximize the Use of Your 140 Characters @ TwiTip
- 7 Ways to Be Worth Following on Twitter @ TwiTip
- How to Twitter Your Email Newsletter @ John Chow
Twitter Tools & Resources
- 7 Twitter Software Programs for Managing Your Online Social Life @ TwiTip
- The Software Developer’s Guide to Twitter Tools @ PDFconverter
- 5 Terrific Twitter Research Tools @ Mashable
- TweetDeck Has a Fierce Rival in Seesmic Desktop @ Mashable
- 5 Ways to Get Your Questions Answered on Twitter @ Mashable
- 4 Ways to Find New Twitter Friends @ MakeUseOf
- What Twitter Application is Right for You? @ TwiTip
- 5 Hot Tools to Complement Your Twitter Experience @ MakeUseOf
- 14 Twitter Directories to Find New Friends @ Webware
- 6 Unique Twitter Visualizations @ Mashable
- TweetReader Gives Twitter a Google Reader Feel @ Lifehacker
- 12 Twitter Stream Aggregators to Make You Smarter @ Top Rank Marketing
- Create Free Polls for Twitter with PollDaddy @ TwiTip
- Learn More About Who You Follow with TweepSearch @ Louis Gray
- The New Twitter Directory: Are You Listed? @ Mashable
- Too Much to Tweet? Tweet it with Twitblogs @ MakeUseOf
- 3 Ways to Share Pictures, Video, and Music on Twitter @ TwiTip
- Make Really Short URL with XR.com @ John Chow
- 6 More Sites to Upgrade Your Twitter Experience @ MakeUseOf
- 9 Ways to Use Twitter – No Website Necessary @ MakeUseOf
- 60+ Twitter Tools and Mashups @ Sociable Blog
- 57 Tools for Better Twittering @ Problogineer
- The Most Popular Twitter Apps @ Read Write Web
- 101 Twitter Resources @ Traffikd
- 5 Ways to Find More Friends on Twitter @ Read Write Web
- WordPress Add Twitter RSS Plugin Review @ Weblog Tools Collection
- 7 Twitter Plugins for WordPress @ Blogging Tips
- Get a ReTweet Button for Your Blog @ TwiTip
- 10 Awesome Ways to Integrate Twitter with Your Website @ Net Tuts
- How to Make Your Site Go Viral on Twitter @ Write to Done
- The Secret to Writing Posts that Go Viral on Twitter @ Pro Blogger
- 5 Steps to Going Viral on Twitter @ Copy Blogger
- 11 Ways to Use Twitter to Help Your Site Go Viral @ TwiTip
Branding, Networking & Marketing on Twitter
- Personal Brand – How to Build Yours on Twitter @ TwiTip
- How to Use Twitter for Customer Service @ Mashable
- 8 Twitter Networking Tips: From Online to In-the-Flesh @ TwiTip
- 10 Tips to be Effective at Marketing on Twitter @ TwiTip
- Get Positive Attention in the Twitterverse @ Successful Blog
- 6 Tips for Using Your Twitter Profile to Get New Followers @ TwiTip
- How Not to Build Your Twitter Community @ Mashable
- How to Build Community on Twitter @ Mashable
- 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business @ Chris Brogan
- 5 Tips to Grow Your Twitter Presence @ Pro Blogger
- The Most Useful Twitter Services for Your Business @ Digital Inspiration
- How to Get Customer Service via Twitter @ Read Write Web
- 3 Ways to Maximize Your Twitter Time for Networking @ Copy Blogger
- How to Use Twitter to Promote Your Blog @ Pro Blogger
- How to Use Twitter for Marketing & PR @ HubSpot
- Twitter Marketing: How to Get Started @ John Cow
- Brand Monitoring in Twitter @ TwiTip
I Don’t Like Twitter…
Twitter is quickly becoming a primary marketing tool for bloggers, website owners and companies around the world. Used correctly it can become a very effective marketing tool that will generate interest for your brand and help extend your reach into new market segments. So if you have not yet jumped onto the bandwagon, then you may very well be missing out on a powerful medium that will help generate excitement for your products and services.