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What is Twitter?
Twitter is a web-based company that was created in 2006 to provide real-time short messaging services to member. Member's can connect and network with each other by "following" one another, which is the equivalent of friending them on other social media sites, and can communicate with each other through private messages or public updates. These updates, referred to by the Twitter population as "tweets," can be no more than 140 characters long and are meant to contain brief notes on the activities or thoughts of the member. Submitted tweets are publicly posted in three places: the member's home page, the universal feed page which contains updates from all members, and the feed pages of the member's followers. Twitter has an incredibly large and very active membership around the world, and tweets are flowing into the system 24/7.
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Why You Need To Get Involved
Twitter is one of the fastest growing social media tools online today. Everyone from Barrack Obama to Paulo Coelho to your little sister is on Twitter sending out bits and pieces of information in fortune cookie length doses. In your tweets, you can include links to any website, publicly reply to any other member's update, and build relationships with other members that can lead to collaboration efforts, symbiotic marketing attempts, and mentoring relationships. Many people have even found jobs using Twitter through striking up tweets with fellow members. The search feature allows you to find members who share similar interests or work in similar fields, allowing you to find kindred spirits at the touch of a button, while your profile is working for you throughout the day to bring opportunities to you.
However, like all social media sites, Twitter takes work. Putting up a profile and expecting the rest to do itself isn't going to work. To make Twitter work for you and your blog, you need to be a presence there as often as possible.
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How to Make It Work For Your Blog
Once you've committed to using Twitter to its fullest advantage, you can now start to make it work for your blog. The first thing to do is be sure you have filled out your Twitter profile completely. Put your blog URL in the Website section, talk about what you do at your site in the Bio, and also put your city, or the nearest recognizable city to you, in the Location section. Many people don't like to give out their location to online sites, however with Twitter it will only be a benefit - there are lots of local Twitter gatherings in cities around the world that offer expanded networking opportunities.
Use your tweets as a platform to get the word out about your blog posts and website promotions. A common form for a tweet regarding a new blog post is: Blogged This: "Post Title" www.yoururlhere.com. You will be surprised how many of your followers will actually go to the site, especially if you place a "comments would be v. appreciated!" in the tweet as well.
Yet success on Twitter will not come from tweets regarding your blog happenings alone - it is very important to interact with the community, search and follow other people, and engage in dialogs that have nothing to do with your marketing aims. Post a few tweets a week about what you're doing that day, how you are feeling, what time you woke up, what your cat did to your pillowcase, etc. Be sure to reply to other member's posts, click on some of their links, and strike up conversations with them. If you see something on their profile you like, then send them a tweet saying so!
What you don't want to happen: Every time you post, people scan right over it because they know you are just advertising your own stuff - this happens, don' t be one of these members!
What you do want to happen: Every time you put up a tweet your followers read it, and some acknowledge it, respond, or visit your link.
With a little effort, a few minutes a day, and a willingness to give your followers some of your time, you will see increased traffic to your site, gain increased exposure, and may even see other members posting about your blog posts with links to your site - which is how you grow your blog on Twitter!