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In the last post, we covered all the most important setup instructions for posting on Twitter. Well…. almost all.

It’s tempting to think that once you’ve “got the look” and some profile info in place that you’re ready to run off and “collect followers”. But that would be a huge mistake and one that many people regret later. There’s one more very important thing you need to do before you look for followers… and that’s to actually say something. It’s time to make some informative posts in your topic area. Go ahead and write 10 or 15 “tweets”, at least, before you ask people to consider following you.

Do YOU like Blind Dates?

As we said in our last post, your photo is essential. Yes, the custom background (or at least custom color) is also important to set you apart. But if you ask people to follow you without any posts to read, then you are asking them to go on a “blind date” and follow someone they have no clue about. Tweeters who have been around a while will not do this. With the amount of Twitter spam and just plain chatty noise out there in the Twittersphere, Tweeters are getting very picky about who they follow. Oh they’ll let you follow THEM….but they won’t follow you back unless you offer something important to them. That ‘something” can be companionship, a different viewpoint, information, news, links to resources or marketing help…. so many things.

I have seen many people (some thought of as “gurus”) fill their Twitter profiles with chit-chat that has no real meaning for someone outside their group. Others assault their readership with an hourly stream of consecutive news links with no commentary. You can do whatever you please….but, frankly, I can think of easier ways to chat with people and I’d rather use my RSS reader for news 🙂

Suggestions for Twitter Content: Always adding value.

I suggest, as a starting point for busy people, posting a mix of news, retweets, personal opinion and interaction.Maybe 50% topical news, 25% retweets and interaction and 25% personal opinion and experience. it’s all about adding real value and there are a lot of ways to do it. This is merely a suggestion based on my experience the past year or so. Your mileage may vary:

1. 50% news: Spend time with Stumbleupon, Google Reader or your favorite blogs and share interesting articles with your community. Make a comment and say why you thought it was important. Add your own slant on the news that shows a little of who you are. People can read news by themselves… but you can help them by focusing on the most important news in your topic area and adding some commentary that is unique (if you have room). Help people connect the dots, if you can. This is where you can introduce your followers to topics you think are important and new points of view.

2. 25% Retweets and Interaction: A great way to show appreciation for your followers and spread good news. Retweeting also puts you out there in front of other people’s communities and spreads your influence. It’s easy and fun. There are a couple of ways to retweet someone elses tweet.

a. Type the letters “RT” first and then user ID of the person whose tweet you are reposting. It’ll look like this (without the quotation marks: “RT userID   the contents of the tweet you are reposting”. If the original poster left room you can make a comment after his tweeted content or link. The general etiquette here is to use the “RT” method if you are pretty much retweeting verbatim.

b. The alternate (and my favorite way) to retweet is to add “via @userID” at the end of the original tweet (and your comments). This method would be used if you are perhaps adding your own twist to the first few words. I like this method because it features the title and “subhead” to pull the reader in. It would look something like the following:  “GREAT TWEET ABOUT TOPIC:  Original tweet content or link  via @UserID”

3. 25% Personal Opinion and Discovery: I’m kind of a designer-marketer that loves tech, so I talk about some of my discoveries in the world of smartphones, social networking, online marketing and design subjects. Sometimes I’ll explain my techniques for getting things done. If you’ve done your homework and built your foundation around a topic area you love…. expressing yourself about it should be no problem.

Once again…..there are many formulas. Mine is just one. The main thing (as in offline relationships) is to add value and people will appreciate it.

So go ahead now and write a few posts to get started. Next time we’ll talk about getting followers in a sane and manageable way.

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