Overwhelmed by all the social media options available on the Internet? Let’s try Twitter!

There are so many different platforms in which one can connect with others via the Internet that it can grow somewhat overwhelming trying to keep track of them all: Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Blogger, and of course, Twitter.  You can use these outlets to connect with old friends anywhere (no postage required), create a photo album of your last vacation, and share your opinions about everything from the new restaurant that opened on the corner to socio-political issues on the other side of the world.

It’s so easy to get caught up in all the fun aspects of online social networking that one forgets the ways in which it can also help you network professionally, especially when it comes to marketing. Whether it is your company’s services, goods, or even yourself as a freelance professional, the wide world of the Internet provides many tools that can help you get your voice heard in ways that would have been impossible five years ago.

Twitter is especially useful in this regard in that it is the online method closest to holding an actual conversation, albeit one in snippets of 160 characters or less. Because of that format, it does not allow you to ramble or lose focus when expressing yourself. This enforced brevity causes you to really think about what you have to say and to choose your words wisely. Indeed, each short tweet must be thought through for maximum impact, especially when being used as a professional tool. As the old but true maxim goes, waste not, want not.

Organization and control are both key to maximizing your marketing potential on Twitter, writes Charlene Kingston in her very useful article on the subject. Her first tip is to clearly define your business objectives and goals. Figure out what goals of yours are “measurable and specific,” then take action accordingly in order to reach said goals.  As previously mentioned, vagueness and rambling are not part of effective tweeting.

Once you’ve chosen your topics, you have to decide how best to voice them. If you want to increase visitors to your company website, what do you say in order to do so? Next is figuring out whom to voice them to; Kingston recommends sorting your Twitter followers into lists so that you can target specific groups for specific things. Also, you can look at your Twitter community and see what areas might be lacking. Do you have a lot of sales contacts but not much else? Reach out through other people and make some more connections so that your community is covered on every business front.

This leads into the fourth and most crucial step: keep expanding. Don’t ever allow yourself to grow satisfied with how many followers you have or how successful your tweets are. The key to continued success is exactly that—to continue.

Expand your Twitter presence in the same way that you compose tweets in the first place: gradually and with much thought put into it.

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