The growth of social networking site Twitter.com has been phenomenal in recent months but once you have got to grips with the basics, how can you manage the vast amounts of information being circulated without the tweets taking over your life?
- Automate, automate, automate - To avoid wasting time writing a blog or updating your website and then having to manually post a link on Twitter, set up RSS feeds and use services like Twitterfeed to automatically post the content as tweets.
- Are your ears burning? - The chances are that someone somewhere is talking about your business so to ensure you know about it and have a chance to respond if necessary, use a service like Twitalert which will send you an email when your Twitter ID is mentioned. And it's not just tweets targeted directly at you; you can use the service to track any keywords you want.
- Making friends and influencing people - Several tools exist which allow you to check how influential you are on Twitter. You can also compare yourself to tweeters in your area. which also means you can track down local people who could be useful. Examples are Twitter Grader and Twitterholic.
- How many social media sites? - The chances are you spend your time using several social media sites - Twitter, Facebook, Flickr among them. It can take valuable hours to check each one so use a service like AlertThingy which aggregates all your updates from sites like Twitter, Facebook and Digg into a single window. You can even drop a photo into AlertThingy and it will update your Flickr account.
- Don't forget your background - As well as your actual updates, the background of your Twitter profile page can be used to promote your business. Creating Twitter backgrounds has become a business in itself and there are people out there charging fees for creating them but you to do it yourself by using sites like Twitter Backs and MyTweetSpace.
- Your own website - One of the golden rules of making a success of your company website is keeping it as up-to-date as possible with fresh content. One way to do this is to display your Twitter feed. To do so, go to www.twitter.com/widgets where you can grab some HTML code to embed into your website. Your feed will then be displayed and automatically update as you post tweets.
- Follow me - Use every opportunity you can to promote your Twitter feed. Free to use 'follow me on Twitter' badges are all over the internet which you can put on your website, in your email signature and on your business cards. Some examples are here and here.
- The public timeline - It's an often overlooked area of Twitter but every now and then it's worth clicking the 'public timeline' link. It gives you an instant snapshot of tweets from the entire Twitter community, whether you are following them or not, so you can scan for other people of interest. Follow MyCustomer.com at www.twitter.com/mycustomer.