Getting Started with Social Networking – Where to Begin & How
So you’ve heard about social networking and if you read last month’s article, you’ve learned about what it is and how it works. In either case, by now, you might be asking yourself how you can get involved.
One of the best places to start, for a beginner to the social networking universe, is with Twitter, found at www.twitter.com. Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging utility that allows account holders to send and read other users’ status updates (otherwise known as tweets). Following someone allows the follower to get the other person’s updates in their feed as they make them. These updates are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length that answer the question “what are you doing?” It is very easy to jump into without any experience, as it is highly user-friendly, and is gaining popularity faster and faster every day because of its ease of use.
Of the many draws to Twitter, it is its simplicity of use, lowest barrier to entry, and habit-forming nature of the utility that make it my starting-point suggestion.
Carrie Johnson, director of the Center for Women & Enterprise here in Worcester, says, “Twitter is a utility that has become an essential part of my marketing efforts for CWE. At first glance, I wasn’t entirely sure how useful it would be, but it has turned out to be an extremely valuable tool.”
Ready to get started? Log onto the website and create your account. When choosing your user name, consider who you are and how you sell. If you are an independent sales person (or, if you rely on relationships to make sales), try to get your name as one word. Mine is LauraBriere. If you have a common name, like MichaelSmith, it probably will be taken. Try to use MichaelKSmith or some close variation. On the other side of the coin, if you are the owner/marketer of a regional brand (or, if you rely on a brand to make sales), pick the company name. For example, Betsy Brewer and Cindy Brewer Lavoie of Southwick’s Zoo aren’t marketing themselves. They are marketing the zoo. They’ve picked SouthwicksZoo and SouthwickZoo as their user names.
From there, you’ll be given the opportunity to look for who you already know that may have an account on Twitter. It will prompt you to put in a web-mail address (i.e.: Gmail) and that account’s password. This is NOT your new Twitter password; it’s your email password. Click “Continue.”
Once you upload your contacts (don’t worry, it won’t keep these contacts), it’ll show you who is on, and who isn’t. By checking the boxes of the people you know, it will allow you to follow them. The next screen will allow you to invite your friends who aren’t on Twitter yet. Want to skip either of these parts? There is a skip button that sits in the very top right of the screen or at the bottom center.
Now to use and leverage the account—if you know me, or have met me, a great place to start is to type in the address bar (while logged in): www.twitter.com/LauraBriere. On the top right, it will show how many people I follow, and you can click on that number. From there, you can look at who I follow. See someone you know? Click on their name or their picture and then click the “follow” button that appears under their photo in their account page. You’ll see their updates in your feed when they post, and if they follow you back (likely if they know you), they’ll see your updates.
Leveraging the power of this utility relies on the same principles that traditional marketing methods do: consistency, clarity, conciseness and repetition. Get into the habit of posting 2-3 times a day on Twitter, regularly working to build your network (seeing who your friends know that you might know) and reaching out to invite your friends/colleagues that aren’t on Twitter yet. When it’s time to add another utility later to your marketing plan, it will be much easier.
(Second in a series of articles on this subject)
This article appeared in the November issue of DBA Magazine. You can check out this great publication online. Here are some links: