Real Assistants in an Online World

Simple Steps to Getting Started on Twitter

If you’re new to Twitter, you may be a bit perplexed about how it works and why you should bother using it for business. You aren’t alone if you have that deer-in-the-headlights look!

The good news is that you can learn it and get up to speed pretty quickly. A lot of this will come by way of following and watching what others are doing.

Here are some tips to get you started on Twitter:

  1. Sign up with a user name that represents your brand or uses a keyword. It should be memorable, but not too long as length matters in the Twitter world!
  2. Next, fill out your profile completely. In your bio, let people know about you & your personality. Mix business with pleasure a bit – we want to know that you’re human. Include your city so others nearby can find you.
  3. Post a few updates before you start following a bunch of people. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering, but the early tweets are a good time to let others know what you’ll be posting in the future, what your interests are, etc. Resist the urge to self-promote or sell your products in the beginning (and when you do later, do so sparingly!).
  4. Start following people you know, businesses you like, colleagues, etc. Look for the Twitter icon on webpages you visit or search sites like or
  5. Once you’re up and running, work on making connections and building relationships with others daily. Just a few minutes a day can catapult you to Twitter success.

Here are 2 great free ebooks that will help you get started on Twitter:

And here’s what you need to know about Twitter Etiquette:

Twitter Essentials GuideFor more direction and resources on Twitter, download my Essential Twitter Guide. I’ve sorted through all the online noise to bring you the top tools and resources for Twitter that you need to know about! And of course, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter – you’ll find me @copong.

The Value of your Twitter Followers

Web Worker Daily has a great blog post on the value of Twitter followers – do numbers mean more than quality?

Getting Started on Twitter

If you’re new to Twitter, you may be a bit perplexed about how it works and why you should bother using it. It looks deceptively simple on the surface, but quickly becomes very complex when you start digging into it. I gave a class last week on Twitter to local business owners and I’ve never seen so many deer-in-the-headlights looks! You’re not alone if you don’t “get” it yet.

The good news is that you can learn it and get up to speed pretty quickly. A lot of this will come by way of following and watching what others are doing. Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Sign up with a user name that will build your brand, use part of your real name, or tell others something about you. Make sure the name isn’t too long as it counts towards the 140 character limit when others want to connect with you.
  2. Next, start following as many people as you can. (Follow me here.) Business colleagues are a good place to start – follow them and then browse through their followers/following lists to see who you know or want to connect with. You can also find top Twitterers on sites like and that you don’t need to know them to connect – in fact, it’s useful not to know them yet! Also look under Twinfluence for people in your town and connect with them. You’ll soon find that those you follow will start following you back and as you’re numbers get up there, you’ll build more and more momentum.
  3. Start posting regularly (1-2 times/day is good) about what you’re doing in your life and in your business. Use keywords. Pique curiosity. Link to articles & webpages you find interesting or would benefit your target market. Reply to those you’re following and start meaningful conversations. Retweet posts from others that you find valuable or interesting (or your target market would). This is where paying attention to what others are doing is beneficial. Do what they do!
  4. Use Twitter search engines to find those who are talking about your keywords, locality, areas of interest, etc. These includes sites such as Twitter Search, TweetScan, Monitter, and TwitScoop. I also use Twilert to have my favorite searches sent to me via email every day.

On Twitter, it pays to be active, follow tons of people, and post useful information with a smattering of personal insight thrown in.

Here are 2 great free ebooks that will help you get started on Twitter:

And here’s a Wiki on Twitter – this section is about Etiquette:

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help in Twitterland. We’ve all been there and stand ready to help show you the way! See you in the Twitterverse!

10 Twitter Tips For Traditional Media

Attention, those in charge of online marketing for Media! You need to read this blog post from Steve Pratt:

10 Twitter Tips For Traditional Media

Steve’s first tip hit home – this is exactly what most of the media folks I follow on Twitter are doing! They are using it as an RSS Feed and not as an interaction tool. While there is some value in that, I can easily get that from the traditional RSS feed on their webpage. What I want from the media on Twitter is:

1. Some true breaking news (traffic accident on the Interstate, terroist attack, criminal loose in my area, etc.) – but not every news item that comes across their desk
2. Personal interaction! Ask about our thoughts & ideas, what’s newsworthy to us, what leads we might have for a story you’re doing (like HARO but more locally focused). Slow news day? We’ll have ideas for you! Need a witness to that accident? Bet they’re online.

Rick Sanchez at CNN gets it – he lets us know what stories he’s working on, asks for feedback and opinions, even reads some of the responses on air. There are others that get it too, but they’re few and far between. So, if you’re in media and are in the department responsible for your online presence on Twitter, Facebook, etc. – please move away from just listing what’s on your website already and start interacting with your readers & listeners. I promise you won’t regret it!

Social Networking: 7 Steps to More Traffic by Connecting and Repurposing Your Social Marketing

A very timely article from Online Marketing guru Donna Gunter. I’ll be talking about this very subject today in a local seminar for business owners. Stay tuned for information on a series of Social Media seminars in the Colorado Springs area!

I’m lazy by nature and like to do as little work as possible. Therefore, when I have the opportunity to automate tasks, I jump at it. As I started getting heavily involved in social networking, I quickly became frustrated with having to update my status at several sites, as well as trying to figure out how to introduce my blog, my articles, and my ezine to my social networking audiences.

After much trial and error, here’s how I connect and repurpose all of my social marketing strategies:

1. Set up accounts. Make sure that you have current accounts with Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, MySpace, and any other social networking platforms you regularly use.

2. Open an account at The service automatically updates your status on all of your social networking sites, 21 of them at the current count. Depending on the number of networks you use, it will take you 10-50 minutes to connect your account to your various social network accounts. However, once everything is set up, you simply log into your Ping account, post your status update (no more than 140 characters), and your status is automatically updated on all of your social networking profiles. Rather than posting updates directly on Twitter or Facebook or MySpace, I instead use as the starting place for my daily status updates.

3. Display Twitters on other accounts. If you go to your Setting tab in your Twitter account and then down to “More Info URL”, you will see a link to “Add Twitter to Your Site.” By clicking on this link, you’ll be taken to a page where you can add your tweets in a separate box (not the Status updates area) in your MySpace and Facebook profiles, on your blogger or Typepad blogs, or get the Flash or HTML widgets to add to other sites like Squidoo lenses or to your website. Just follow the instructions connected to each application. If you use Typepad for your blog, you can also do this through the Widget gallery by finding Twitter widget in the “Publishing Tools” section.

4. Connect your blogposts to Twitter. Twitter Feed enables you to feed your blog posts to your Twitter account. Simply create an account, go to “Create New Twitter Feed”, and enter the RSS feed of your blog. You can control the frequency with which Twitter displays your blog post, as well as the text used to preface your blog feed. I use “Blog update” to preface my posts.

5. Connect your blogposts to Facebook. I use Typepad for my blogs, so if you use a Wordpress blog, there are probably plugins that handle this, as well. When you create a new blog post, you can choose to send a link to that post into Facebook. These links will appear in your Mini-Feed on your Facebook profile, and may appear in your friends’ News Feeds.

In your Typepad account, go to Weblogs > Configure > Publicity, select “Prompt me to share new posts on Facebook.” When this item is selected, TypePad will automatically display a prompt from Facebook when you create and publish a new post on TypePad. The Facebook prompt will only appear if you have selected the option in your weblog’s publicity settings, and only when you create and publish a new post. The prompt will not appear when you save a post as draft, when you edit a post, or when you change the status of a post from Draft to Published.

6. Update your account. Article marketing is a smart and easy way to drive traffic to your site. If you’re submitting articles online to article directories, you definitely want to be using, the biggest and most popular article directory online. To connect to Twitter, click on “Profile Manager” in your account, then “Edit Author Bio” in your Author’s Area. Add your Twitter account information here. Each time a new article is accepted and published at EzineArticles, a post is automatically made to your Twitter account.

7. Update your aWeber account: I use aWeber as my email marketing service. You can now send an automatic Twitter post to all your followers on Twitter with a link to the HTML version of your ezine. When you create a broadcast in aWeber, select the option to publish a broadcast via RSS feed or to an archive, and then enter your Twitter account info, When your ezine is published, all of your Twitter followers will be notified.

There are probably others ways to connect the social networks and to repurpose content on social networks, but these 7 steps are all I need at the moment. Take 30 minutes out of your day to connect and repurpose your social networking, and watch your traffic and list begin to grow!

Online Business Resource Queen (TM) and Online Business Coach Donna Gunter helps independent service professionals learn how to automate their businesses, leverage their expertise on the Internet, and get more clients online. To claim your FR*EE gift, TurboCharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, visit her site at Ask Donna an Internet Marketing question at

So You Want To Be My Friend?

You’re on Facebook. You’re on LinkedIn. You’re on Twitter. Now it seems like everyone wants to be your “Friend”. Should you accept them all? Deny them? Aliza Sherman at Web Worker Daily recently posted a great article to help you navigate the waters:

“Like anyone using social networks for my work, I struggle with the friend feature. There are a number of theories of how and why to friend other people and when to accept friend requests. Clearly, having more “friends” on your social networks has its benefits, but if friending is done randomly, how much value are those very random “friends” for your business goals?”Web Worker Daily, Oct 2008

Check out the rest of the article here.

Personally, my policy depends on the platform. On Twitter I do exactly what Aliza suggests in her article. On Facebook, I limit it to those I actually know of or have some sort of existing relationship with. On LinkedIn, I’ll accept most anybody.

What’s your policy? How are you friending?

Want to be my “Friend”? Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn!