Old Rules, New Tools: What to talk about on Twitter

By Mark Bower

When we encourage businesses to get on Twitter, one of the comments we often hear back is “…but I don’t know what to say”.

The fact of the matter is that building relationships on Twitter is not as scary as it first seems.

For professionals it is about using all your existing relationship building skills from the real-world and transferring them to the virtual world, or as we like to say –  old rules, new tools.

Start in the same way you would when you enter a room full of strangers at a cocktail party – by listening. Get a feel for the room, the mood and tone of the conversation and seek to understand before you leap in.

Then when you are ready to get going follow these rules of thumb to avoid coming across as spammy and unwelcome:

  • Focus on building relationships. About half of what you say should be social and conversational. Just as you would in the real world, show a genuine interest in other people and their concerns and you are already half-way there.
  • About a third of what you say should be making others look good. Share information you have found that will be interesting to your followers. ReTweet interesting information from others. If you are a local lawyer for example, perhaps you could Tweet local business news. If you do this well and keep it on topic, it helps you stand out as an authority and is also another relationship building step with those you ReTweet.
  • The remainder of what you say should be about you. Doing the other stuff earns you the permission to do a little bit of self-promotion about your products or services.

Now you know, off you go and enjoy.

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