May 13, 2008 - the date of my very first tweet. What did it say? "following Glenn on Twitter." How utterly mundane. The point? The point is no matter who you are we all start out on Twitter (and any social network for that matter) completely clueless.

The good news? I have found the Twitter community to be pretty understanding and more then happy to help. With that in mind I present some of my own Twitter guidelines.

First, in order to be successful you need to know what your purpose is. Why are you Twittering in the first place? So many of us, myself included, jump into Twitter without a game plan. The sooner you figure it out the faster you will be able to gain influence and generate results.

I use Twitter for several reasons. My overall goal is to build and enhance my brand, but apart from that I use Twitter to network and keep up on industry trends.

NOTE: If your goals do not match mine the guidelines you choose to follow may be different and that's okay.

1) Above all else remember, you are a content provider. I believe this point holds true for everyone on Twitter. Whether you're selling shoes or promoting yourself. If the content you're providing doesn't appeal to anyone no one will follow you.

2) Cater to your audience. If you're trying to sell shoes you shouldn't be talking about tech news. Talk about new fashions and your product line. Remember your purpose. As a general rule I tweet about social media, the PR/advertising industry and travel. These are things I'm passionate about, so as I use Twitter to enhance my personal brand I will naturally attract an audience that is looking for these qualities.

3) Do NOT follow everyone. Just because someone follows you does not mean you have to do the same, nor does it mean they have to follow you. This is not Facebook. The people you follow should be those you find interesting and can help further your goals. You can still talk to those you do not follow with @ replies.

4) Join the conversation. I have the most fun on Twitter when I actually communicate with other people. That's what this social networking thing is all about, right? So lend some advice and supply a link. Don't worry if they aren't following you back. If you provide key content and engage others your following will grow organically.

5) Share the love. Now that you're tweeting it's time to give kudos to your fellow tweeters. Did you enjoy that last tweet? Retweet (RT) it! People LOVE being retweeted. It's a great way to give others props and increase your network.

6) Be human. Some may disagree with me, but I think it's perfectly okay (even good!) to let a few "boring" tweets slip out. It proves to the rest of us that there's a real person on the other side of the screen. Two weeks ago I tweeted, "Going home to pack and then off to Wausau for the weekend." Is this very exciting or meaningful? No. But it does give insight to my followers and explains why I may not be responsive during the weekend. However, you should be careful. No one needs a play by play of when you eat, sleep, wake-up and go to the bathroom.

7) Yes, you're on Twitter to promote yourself, but don't overdo it. A lot of times self-promotion seems like a dirty word, it's not. You just have to be careful how you do it. For instance, I typically blog once a week. I would like to more frequently, but that's where I'm at right now. As long as I think my posts are relevant I tweet them, but only once. Never RT yourself. If you blog multiple times a week or have other self-promotional channels try to keep it to a minimum. Only broadcast your very best and most relevant work. We know you're on Twitter, but we don't need it shoved down our throats.

Do you have more Twitter advice? Did I forget anything? Share it in the comments section. Until next time this is @ladyhero signing out.


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