I issued my first Thanksgiving Vacation Twitter Challenge in 2009. It’s back again for 2012!
Twitter is six years old and has over five hundred million active users, but there are still plenty of people who have opened Twitter accounts and aren’t quite sure what to do with them. Are you one of them? Is your Twitter account dormant? Perhaps you only use it to blurt out press releases, which get no attention? The four days of Thanksgiving Vacation (Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and I’m-Sick-Of-Shopping-Sunday) are the perfect time to kick-start your Twitter experience. Here’s what I suggest:
“But Angelique!” you’re saying, “Shouldn’t I be promoting my business by using a magic Twitter application that will get me a thousand followers in seven days?”
NO! You should not! Trust me — everyone will be busy planning, creating, traveling to, eating and recovering from Thanksgiving dinner, after which they will be shopping, watching football, or complaining about shopping and football (gender depending,) so you won’t be missing any great “business opportunities.” What you’ll have instead are Educational Opportunities, which are much better and will serve you well in the years to come.
(As for the magic Ronco Follower-o-Matic, the only pockets it fills are those of the guy who wrote the app. And if it sends out canned “direct messages” in your name to anyone who follows you, it will cost you money as people flee your spammy business. Because seriously. That’s so annoying.)
The Idea Behind the Challenge
People who share your profession, industry, hobbies and interests are talking about these things on Twitter.
Here’s how to find these people, add them to interests lists (so you can easily find their tweets,) and share interesting things that they tweet.
The Challenge has six steps, which are presented with a lot of visual aids. (Click any graphic to see a larger version in a new browser window.) Here’s the entire list of steps:
1. Decide which topic you want to follow first, and create a list for it.
2. Add people to the list.
3. Search for more people to follow.
4. Evaluate the people you find.
5. Take your time and spend days doing this.
6. Remember to share information you think is good.
7. What to do when you’re ready to stop listening and start talking.
And now…. the Challenge!
1. Decide which topic you want to start following first, and create a List for it.
a. Click the gear icon in the upper-right corner of your screen, and you’ll get a drop-down menu. Click “Lists.”
b. If you don’t have any lists, the page you see will be very empty. This is a screenshot of my list page. Note that you can make your lists private. Click on the “Create list” button.
2. Add people to your list. I’ll tell you how to find the people in a moment. For now, use my suggestions — check the bottom of the post! — add a personal friend, or add me!
a. Click on the photo, name or Twitter handle of a person who interests you.
b.) When you click, you’ll get this pop-up summary of the person’s Twitter account. From here you get a drop-down box which includes “add or remove from lists.”
c.) You’ll get a box like this, only you’ll have just one list on it. Add the person to that list. Or create a new list!
3. Search for more people to follow. To find more people, use Twitter’s search box to pull up tweets about topics and events that interest you. In the example below, I searched for “marketing.” As you can see, I didn’t just type the word “marketing” into the search box. I preceded the word with the “#” symbol. You’ll notice that in each of my results, the author of the tweet added “#marketing” to the tweet so it could be easily found by people like you!
The best way to find industries, events and broad topics is to add a hashtag (#) before each word you search. You can also search without the hashtag to get different results. When you’re searching for people, you’ll get better results without the hashtag.
4. Evaluate the people you find. For this step, look again at the graphic above. Do you notice the tweet by Sean Malarkey? Let’s use him as an example. Let’s say you searched for this: #realestate. And let’s say that you noticed a few tweets by Sean that you thought were interesting. If you were to click on his name, you’d get the pop-up box I showed you in step 2b. From there you could check out his full profile, which has a quick bio and a link to his website. If you thought you wanted to hear more from him, you would follow him and add him to your list.
Now do this with someone who pops up in YOUR search results!
5. Take your time and spend days doing this. There is no need to rush; none of these people are going anywhere.
6. Remember to share information you think is good. It’s good practice, the people whose info you are sharing may decide to follow you back, and you may get into a conversation with them.
Here’s how to share:
“RT” means “retweet.” It lets the reader know that you’re quoting someone’s tweet. You can simply copy the tweet and add “RT” before the first word, or you can add your own comment at the very beginning. (I won’t go into the use of “retweet” and “quote tweet” buttons here. If you find these buttons confusing, there’s absolutely no reason in the world not to simply copy and paste!)
Here are some examples:
7. What to do when you’re ready to stop listening and start talking: Join a Twitter Chat!
A Twitter chat is great place to meet people, practice your Twitter skills, and learn about a particular topic. Some chats are completely social, some are tightly focused on a particular subject or industry, and many are a mixture of both, because people who chat get to know each other, and often meet off-line at conferences and networking events.
I won’t give chat instructions in this article; instead, go to my post How to Twitter Chat with TweetChat
Most chats meet weekly, but they’ll be on hiatus during the Thanksgiving break. Not to worry: there are a few still running!
The completely social #SlumberParty will be happening on Friday at 11pmET. If you want to practice your tweeting skills in a completely fun, relaxed and silly way, this is it!
#BlogChat, about blogging (natch) usually has a topic and a guest, but for the holiday it’s having an open-mic. This is a good chance to meet bloggers and people who know a lot about blogging. Sunday, 9pmET.
As promised: Business tweeters to follow!
Below is a list of people who are popular on Twitter in part for their business posts. Click on any name to get to their Twitter accounts, which will open up in a new browser window.