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Diary of a Twitterholic Wannabe - part 2

Saturday, September 27, 2008
This post is number two in a series of three about the phenomenon we call Twitter. If you missed part one, you can read it here.

After learning how to use Twitter Search, I decided to search-out and listen-in on conversations that mom entrepreneurs were having on Twitter. My goal was to reach out to them by following their tweets. When they decided to follow me as well, I sent them a direct message (private message between two Twitter users) through Twitter inviting them to join The Mom Entrepreneur Support Group. This social network very quickly proved to be a useful resource for finding and reaching my target market.

In addition, I registered my Twitter user name and some additional terms at TweetBeep (like Google alerts for Twitter) so that I could be more proactive in monitoring potential opportunities.

As my followers grew, I needed to find a way to engage them in conversation. I wanted to start that important dialogue that helps online relationships grow. I discovered Tweet Later, which allows micro-bloggers to send automated thank you notes to new followers. It will also allow you to automatically follow new followers if you choose to do so. Another nice feature of this program is that it allows you to schedule future-dated tweets so that you can be consistent with your posts. I decided to use the thank you note feature.

According to Dewald Pretorius, you must be conscious of best practices when using the automated thank you note feature in Tweet Later. "When writing your thank you note to your new followers, do not include any self-promotional text and/or links. It invariably leaves a bad taste in the mouth of your new follower. Think about it. Here you are, you've just decided you want to follow someone, and the very first thing they say to you is, "Hello, do you want to buy my stuff?" Not good. Send a very simple, warm, and friendly thank you note. The promotional stuff will happen over time."

I decided that was good advice. So I set up my automated message to read:

"Thanks for the follow. I am interested in learning more about you. Please introduce yourself."
With that in place, I decided to research what else I should be doing on Twitter. Since I own a marketing and PR firm, I needed to find media using Twitter.

I subscribe to The Publicity Hound newsletter and in one issue, Joan Stewart wrote about a wiki (a website that allows online collaboration) created by Harry Hoover entitled Twittering Journalists that contains a list of media people and media outlets using Twitter. Joan blogged about it as well. Bingo! I began following the media that interested me and found that many returned the favor. When the media post a tweet about a topic that relates to your expertise, you can send a direct message to introduce yourself. Again, you only get 140 characters so your elevator pitch needs to be perfected before doing this.

Watch for my next post, which will continue to inform you about the basics of using Twitter. In the meantime, let us know how you use Twitter.

Oh...and if you are already on Twitter...follow me at