This is a question that was asked of me the other night during my presentation to the Social Media Club of New Haven, and my answer wrapped up several best practices that we had been discussing.
- First of all, be where your target audience is. The woman who asked the question said that she had the e-mail addresses of 500 to 2000 people with whom she has regular ongoing conversations. She wanted to migrate those conversations onto Twitter in order to streamline her conversations. Unfortunately you cannot convince a consumer to do something they don’t want to do or be somewhere where they aren’t. Fortunately for her, her audience is young, male and very technologically savvy, so the chances are very high that her target audience is already there.
- Take advantages of the tools available: All of the major social networking sites have a functionality that allows you to search your Outlook contacts (for example) and find those who also have a Twitter account.
- Think search. When you write your tweets, be sure to include keywords for the topic about which you would want to be found. If skydiving is your topic, then make sure to include the word skydiving in your tweet. One of the key benefits of Twitter is its searchability, so if you start having conversations about your topic, people will find you.
- Make use of the hash tag (#). When you put a hash tag before a keyword, it allows people to search you even more. The way that Twitter’s search works makes effective use of the hash tag and an easy way for people to find you.
- Add yourself on WeFollow.com: Enter the topics that you talk about so that people will be able to easily find you.
- Make a request: if you have an ongoing conversation via e-mail, and you would like to migrate those folks to Twitter, simply ask them to follow you. Make sure, however, that you make it as easy as possible to follow you. Include the link to your Twitter profile and allow them to follow you with one quick click.
- Be Relevant: If you tweet about topics your target audience cares about, you will grow a following, because Twitter is so searchable.
- Be Realistic: Realize that everybody is different. There is no way for you to use one vehicle to have a conversation with everyone in your target audience. Some people are on Twitter all the time. Some people “don’t get it.” Some people love e-mail , while others will never read their e-mail.
As the marketer, it’s up to you to be where your target audience is. In order to streamline your efforts, you can focus on the majority of people, but I would recommend having more than one communication stream so that people can find you and engage with you in many different ways.