Every day more of your clients, prospects, family, and friends get on Twitter. If you’re ready to dip your toe in the Twitterverse, here are the top five tips from my personal experience.
1. Use Twitter Search to check out Twitter before you begin tweeting. Go to http://search.twitter.com and type in your company name or other keywords that interest you. For example, you could type in “Fidelity Investments.” Even if you don’t start tweeting, you can set up ongoing Twitter searches, similar to Google Alerts, and have them delivered to your RSS reader. By the way, if you need motivation to research your company on Twitter, read “Commonwealth Bank all a-Twitter over mortgage approval tweet.”
2. Find interesting people to follow after you set up your Twitter account. Reading their tweets will help you understand how people use Twitter. If you’re a financial advisor, here are some folks who may interest you
* Bill Winterberg, technology specialist for financial planners and the writer of “Yes, Financial Planners Can Benefit from Twitter,” which helped put me on Twitter
* Russ Thornton, financial planner and investment advisor
* Kristen Luke, marketing consultant to independent financial advisors
* Lawain McNeil, the Advisor Blogger
* Marion Asnes, editor in chief of Financial Planning magazine
* Cathy Curtis, owner of financial planning firm focusing on women and money
Also, look to see who’s followed by people you respect. For example, I believe I discovered Kristen Luke when Bill Winterberg directed a tweet at her. By the way, Kristen has written “Twitter Your Way to New Clients, Part One” and “Part Two.”
3. Learn the nitty-gritty of how to tweet. I like “Getting Started on Twitter” on the Tech for Luddites blog written by Elizabeth Kricfalusi. There are lots of social media gurus out there. Many of them are good, but few are as consistently helpful as Elizabeth with my technical questions. She gives great step-by-step instructions for non-technical people like me.
4. Interact with people on Twitter. The people who get the most out of Twitter interact with others on Twitter. They answer questions posed by other folks on Twitter or get a conversation going in some other way. The few times I’ve posted questions on Twitter, I was surprised by how quickly I got answers.
5. Figure out why you’re on Twitter, so you can plan your time–and tweets–accordingly. But be prepared to adjust your expectations. I got on Twitter to promote my blog. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much I’ve learned from people on Twitter. I hope I can give back as much as I’ve gotten.
If you dip your toes in the Twitterverse, let me know how it goes. Also, feel free to leave your Twitter tips–or questions–in the comments. I’m still a Twitter novice, so I can learn from you.
December 2010 update about AdvisorTweets:
Thanks, Pat Allen, for the following reminder.
Great advice then and now but may we add one source to your list? On AdvisorTweets.com, which launched in September 2009, we’re aggregating the tweets of U.S. based financial advisors. We encourage advisors new to Twitter to let us know via email or start following our Twitter account @AdvisorTweets–we’ll add those who are using their accounts for business purposes to our database, which should help build their following.
* What the heck is Twitter?
* Should stock analysts use Twitter?
* Compliance makes social networking tougher for registered reps than for RIAs