I joined Twitter on December 29, 2008. Right around the start of 2009, most people were either on vacation, not in the office, or spending time with family. All the talk was about the phenomenal growth that was happening at Twitter. I’m not sure I fully understood what it really was all about. Why do I want to share my personal information on Twitter. What am I doing? Does anyone really care what I am doing? If I’m eating a bowl of Fruit Loops, do people want to hear about that? Seems like a major waste of time. Or so I thought.

There are over 12 Million registered users of Twitter. There are over 70,000 applications designed for Twitter users. Twitter users are now sending 50 million tweets per day, which translates to an average of 600 tweets per second. So what is Twitter? Twitter is a combination of these various forms of communication, but its primary difference is that posts, or tweets, are restricted to 140 characters or less. As a Twitter user you can post updates, follow and view updates from other users, and send a public reply or private direct message to connect with another Twitterer.

One of the most important things I did when I set up my Twitter account was to post a pleasant picture of me. Since I was promoting a business, I used the business name so my customers could find me. Don’t use something very long or complicated, it makes it difficult to communicate with you if I can’t remember your name. I also put in my website URL in the profile, and a good summary of my interests. I added a few introductory tweets just to get things rolling, I didn’t want new followers to come and see a blank canvas.

Generally, I found the rule of thumb is that if I follow you, you’ll follow me back. I also quickly found that people really like it when you “re-tweet” their message, abbreviated by RT. It gives them credit for the original post, and you share that content with all of your followers. When I would re-tweet someone’s post once, they would notice. If I did it a second time, I had a friend. They were also much more likely to re-tweet my posts.    

So, what did I “tweet” about? Well, anything to distract them. Funny pet videos. Funny pet pictures. Pet news and information. Anything that I felt my followers would find valuable, and possibly re-tweet themselves. If it was something I could have a conversation about with my followers, it was worth a mention. I also asked lots of questions, and found that my followers were quick to answer them. Conversations (not the long drawn out ones meant for phone calls, the short ones) generally allowed for big groups of people to add their feelings or opinions. I got to know all the people that were talking to me on Twitter.

Where did I find people to follow? A few good sources is to search twitter for your keywords at search.twitter.com, twellow.com is a good resource to find others in your niche, and Twitdir.com is a good directory of the top people on Twitter. Surely they must be doing something right, so why not follow along?  I found all the big players in my market (the pet niche), followed them, and then followed their followers as well. You can see all their followers on their profile page by clicking on “followers”.

You can also find people that are local in proximity if you have a local business such as a pet sitter. Go to Twellow.com/twellowhood, and you will find people by location. Nearbytweets.com is another one you can use to find Twitter folks in your neighborhood. There are lots of “Tweetups” all over the United States where you can meet fellow Twitter users in person. Find them and meet them in person!

One of the best tools I found for Twitter is something called Tweetdeck. You can download the software for free at Tweetdeck.com. It organizes your follower’s tweets, people that reply back to you, direct messages to you, and even groups that you can organize by topic or even your favorite people on Twitter. I highly recommend using Tweetdeck, it will make your Twitter experience easier and it will make much more sense.

Most of all, have fun. Be believable and authentic. Don’t try to be someone you’re not, just be yourself and you will find a great community of other people in your niche that love what you do! It’s a great way to find business partners, vendors, customers, and others that share your interests. Try to dedicate at least 10 minutes each day to make a few posts and see what your followers are up to. You’ll be glad you did!

Michael Ayalon

Online Pet Marketing Specialist

516-690-PET1

Follow me on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/petwebdesigner

P.S. If you are struggling in your pet related business, it doesn’t have to be this way. I’ll help you personally: http://www.Petwebdesigner.com