LegalTypist Answers – twitter

As LegalTypist, I get lots of questions.

They come by e-mails sent to question@legaltypist.com, or through the AskAndrea form located on my site lawfirmsolutions.com; and, more and more, from those who set up a complimentary call through my main site, www.legaltypist.com.

They come from all types of people:  attorneys, full time parents, those who want to work from home, legal vendors; law firm staff, doctors, insurance companies and general business people.

Today, I’m going to cover three of the more popular questions I get about twitter.   Mostly from those not using twitter, or those who have opened a twitter account but have not really started tweeting much.  Of course, if this post sparks any questions you may have, please feel free to ask!

1.  How do I get more followers?

I get this one all the time.  When it’s the first question, I know I have someone on the line looking to market/sell something.  FACT: marketing and selling, of any kind, is seriously frowned upon by your followers.  If your intent going in is to build up followers so you can sell something some day, don’t.  Once you blow your digital credibility, it’s gone.

Think about it, when you go to face to face networking events, do you shout out “Buy my stuff!”?  Of course not! Just as that does not work in the “real” world of networking, it will not work in the world of digital networking.

So how do you get more followers?  The quick answer:   Time.

Start by building up who you follow, read what they have to say, and then join in the conversation by adding your own relevant, educational or entertaining tidbits.

Do not try to follow too many at once.  The whole point is to get to know peeps and for them to get to know, like and trust you.  If you’re following 10,000 people, chances are your twitterstream is going to be so voluminous, you won’t be able to keep up with all the conversations, information and such being tweeted.  Keep the number of peeps you follow small at first and build your network slowly.  The followers will find you.

2.  How often do I tweet?

This is a difficult question to answer.  It depends.  So long as your tweets have value to your followers, you can tweet as often as you wish.

I caution those just starting out to build up their twitter time – start by taking 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon to poke your head in and see what’s going on – perhaps RT (retweet) one or two interesting tweets.  Even though tweets can only be 140 characters, the good ones will lead you to blog posts, articles and other lengthy material – so twitter is a lot of reading and can take up a lot of time.

Once you become proficient at twitter, you will find you will work out your own schedule.  For instance,  I prefer to check my twitter stream about once an hour.

I do caution new users not to (a) get sucked into to twitter – you will go on information overload; and (b) to not tweet in fits and spurts.  No one likes it when an otherwise silent peep shoots out 15 tweets in a row.

3.  I’ve gotten a lot of followers.  Is there a program to help me manage all my twitter traffic?

There are several third party apps you can use to manage twitter.  One of the most popular is TweetDeck; however, I prefer to use TwInbox (formerly OutTwit).  I frown upon TweetDeck because it requires you to agree to terms and processes which I am not comfortable with (i.e., Adobe Air – which has known security implications).

I enjoy TwInbox because it works right from within Outlook – so there was nothing new for me to learn.  I want to sort tweets by sender, save a tweet or send it along to someone who is not on twitter – I just use the same processes as I do for e-mail.

I hope the above answers and resources help.  For those of you just starting out, I have a lot more information in my e-book: twitter 101 which can be downloaded for free from my site’s twitter page: http://www.legaltypist.com/twitter

Of course, if you have a twitter or other question not answered here or in my e-book, please set up a free call, fill out the AskAndrea form put it in an e-mail addressed to question@legaltypist.com.