Posted on April 7, 2009
With over a quarter of a million new users every month, Twitter.com is the fastest-growing social networking phenomenon on the Internet today. Twitter is beginning to have a huge impact on the way that people network and do business on the Internet. Twitter even had an impact on the recent American presidential election when Barack Obama became the most followed person on the site.
Twitter describes itself as a service to keep people connected "through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: what are you doing?" Messages, which are referred to as "tweets", must also be brief, consisting of a maximum of 140 characters only. Oh, and the messages you send, do not have to talk about what you are doing - you can say pretty much what you like or crosses your mind!
Most of the messages that people send can be viewed by anybody who visits their page on the Twitter website, and they can be received on the Twitter user page of anybody who chooses to follow that person.
It is also possible to send messages to individual Twitter users both publicly and privately. In the case of private messages, they can only be sent to people who are following you on Twitter.
So how is this useful for Internet marketers? Well, for one thing, the Twitter social networking service can be used quickly and efficiently to build up an extensive network of contacts who can be kept updated about your business activities. Post information that you think people may find useful, keep people entertained with your insights, offer tips that will help them and link out to other websites or articles that you find interesting. Update people whenever you post a message to your blog or an article on your website - linking back to your own stuff is perfectly acceptable provided that it is part of a larger mix of things that you do with Twitter. Be judicious in the number of self promoting links you send out otherwise your tweets will be seen as spam and you will lose most of your following.
Signing up for a twitter account is very easy. Simply head over to Twitter.com, click on the "Get Started - Join!" button, fill-in the brief online form, click the "Create my account" button and you're good to go and can start tweaking to your heart"s content.
If you want people to read your messages you need to go and find them and start building your network by "following" other Twitter users. Twitter offers you several quick and easy methods of doing that. By clicking the Find People button you can run searches for people you know who may already have a twitter account. When you find somebody who you would like to follow, simply click on their name or avatar and click the "Follow" button that you will see on the next page.
Another way to search for contacts is to target keywords into the search field at the top of the twitter page. Anybody who has included that word in a recent message will be pulled up by the search engine and you can choose which of those people you would like to follow.
Many of the people who you choose to follow will reciprocate and start following you, so, to put it simply, the more people that you follow, the bigger your network is likely to grow. Note however that you can only add 200 new followers to your network each day. Also if you want to build a following of more than 2000 people you are going to have to follow more than 2000 people. Provided you observe those two rules (and you don't have any choice), you can build up a huge following with Twitter social networking.
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