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Twitter Buzz! Quick Tips for Business Peeps

imageAt the request of many of my buds and clients, I’ve put together a few Twitter tips for beginners to get on the fast track with this wildly popular site!

Twitter is a “micro blogging” platform.

To me, that means you can post your thoughts, feelings, ideas, actions, and observations all mixed up with some promotional tidbits too! You can also instantly begin a dialog with current and new friends and business contacts.

What are you doing?

At first, the “What are you doing” in 140 characters or less is like whaaaaaat? Who’d want to know I’m walking my dog, eating a sandwich, or taking out the trash? LOL Just kidding!

And, when you join Twitter, it might seem like a massive cacophony of random fractions of conversations. Well, it is. 🙂 (In fact, check out my YouTube video of REAL birds tweeting – this is what Twitter can “sound” like!) You might also think how (and why!) you should carve out time in your tight schedule for yet another internet “toy.”

Nonetheless, I suggest you get set up with a Twitter account, give it a whirl for about two weeks and watch what happens!

To follow or not to follow?

On Twitter, you basically follow people and they follow you. There’s a whole debate about whether you should follow peeps back who follow you… or not. It’s a personal choice.

I know the whole concept of following and being followed kinda has a stalking ring to it. But no worries, it really is a fun and effective way to help develop your brand, raise your visibility, and create a powerful presence across multiple platforms (e.g. adding one of the Twitter apps to Facebook). I’m a raving fan of using Facebook and Twitter in tandem.

Not to mention, Twitter even acts like your living breathing search engine – anything you’re researching or need the answer to, just pop a tweet out to your Twitter followers and you’ll have an array of responses in no time.

Here are my suggested steps to get you on the fast track:

Edit your settings

You can customize the whole look and feel of your Twitter page, which I definitely recommend. When people want to find out more about you and check who’s following them, you want a nice friendly and inviting page! I uploaded a background pic as well as tweaked the color of the background, sidebar, and links.

Just click on Settings at the top of your Twitter page. (Oh, if you’re looking for a nifty free tool to “pick” the exact color you want, definitely check out Pixie by Nattyware).

Search for people you already know, to follow.

Use Tweetscan, or my favorite Summize [update: Summize was bought out by Twitter earlier this year for $15M!! You can still go to but it’s mostly known as now]. (Thumbs up to my bud Scott Bradley). With Summize in particular you can search for a person’s name, keyword/topic, or Twitter username if you know it. (Advanced tip: you can even create an RSS Feed for a specific search query!)


By the way, Twitter’s own search function is challenging to use – I don’t recommend it. You have to know the person’s exact username.

Find new Twitter peeps to follow.

By searching for keyword(s) related to your industry, you could easily find many wonderful tweeps to follow who are already conversing about topics that interest you. And, following more people is the fastest way to get more followers.

Start tweeting!

Instead of answering the question, “What are you doing?,” I think in terms of “How might this be of interest to my Twitter peeps?” “What has my attention right now that would add value to others?” “Would this nugget uplift someone’s spirit today?” And, when you tweet URLs, Twitter shortens them with

You might like to try any of the great Twitter clients – that is, an interface that allows you to tweet directly to without being on the website itself. Twhirl is a very popular choice as is Twitterific.

I’m a diehard web user – I just love to have the bigger screen to view, with my own attractive page surrounding my Twitterverse (Twitter Universe!) and be able to quickly click over to my peeps to see their Twitter page too and get their vibe.

And, of course, there’s an entire community of mobile users – yes, you can tweet right from your cellphone! (I’m already living a totally mobile lifestyle and am always close by my laptop so don’t do cell tweeting).

Send “tweets” to specific people.

Just put the @ sign in front of their exact Twitter username. Usernames are not case sensitive even though some Tweeps (peeps on Twitter) have set up their names that way. e.g. to send me a tweet in the public timeline, put @marismith at the very beginning of your message. (@MariSmith also comes to me).

Note: if you put someone’s username anywhere other than the very beginning of your tweet, it will not show up under their Replies tab (see below). They can read the tweet though, by using one of the search tools I talked about above.

Respond to your Replies.

Assuming you’re starting out with using the website, just click on the tab for Replies to see all your @you messages from your Twitter buddies. (I call us Twitteronians – having lived in Edinburgh for a long time, I was an Edinburghdonian. :D)


I like to respond to all my Replies. I do this to continue
to build what I call “virtual rapport” with my Twitter buds. Plus, as a win:win, their Twitter name gets pushed out into my public feed and so others may well see their name and end up following and connecting with them too.

Search for your own name.

To keep track of both missed @ messages and what others are saying about you (good reputation management), I recommend searching for your own name on a regular basis. Make sure you use different search terms, e.g. doing a search for @marismith will yield a different result than marismith or even mari smith.


So there you have your crash course! Happy tweeting. And be sure to follow me if you’re not already:

Please do add your own tips, tricks, tools, widgets and gadgets that you love to use with Twitter!

Mari Smith

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is widely known as the Premier Facebook Marketing Expert and a top Social Media Thought Leader. Forbes describes Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” IBM named Mari as one of seven women that are shaping digital marketing. Mari is an in-demand keynote speaker, corporate social media strategist, dynamic live webcast host, and popular brand ambassador. She is coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day, and author of The New Relationship Marketing.

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  1. Heidi on May 1, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Summize is cool. I periodically go read my sister’s twitter but its confusing since I only see her side of the conversation. By searching for her name, I can follow her comments and who she is talking.

  2. Web Success Diva on April 28, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Great post Mari, as usual, you’re right on point 🙂
    What do you think of Twhirl? For online marketers, this is a great way to network and “learn” from the “big-boys” (and gals) 🙂

    Maria Reyes-McDavis

  3. Gina Rafkind on April 28, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Mari, you are such a resource for info! How do you know all this stuff! This is the perfect post for a ‘Twitter For Dummies’ book! I can wait to go start twittering so I’m going to go set up my account right now.
    Thanks again.
    Gina Rafkind

  4. Ron Passfield on April 28, 2008 at 12:54 am

    An excellent post again Mari as usual. Thanks for dropping by my blog. I think Twitter works on the basis of chaos theory – in the seeming chaos of nature and life there are hidden patterns and covert networks – beneath chaos is order. For example, Bob the Teacher (my early Squidoo mentor) decided to follow me on Twitter despite the fact that I was not following him. I made a tweet about my lens being in the Top 100. Next thing I know I get visitors to my Squidoo lens via a tweet that Bob made which was a congratulatory post about one of his Squidoo Secrets students (me) reaching the Top 100 lenses at Squidoo. So what goes round comes round. I am getting hits to my lens from all kinds of posts (tweets) on Twitter. Thanks for the heads up on this Love your thoroughness and passion – happy touring.
    (Twitter username – ronpass)

  5. Scott Bradley on April 26, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Thanks for the link Mari! I love twitter! It is so fantastic. I will be doing a post about all of the twitter tools I have come across soon!

  6. Dulcita Love on April 25, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    Thanks Mari! Huge help.

    I’ll be coming back to this
    post again for a second review.

    Dulcita Love

  7. Ann Rusnak on April 25, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Mari what a great tip on searching your own name and include the @ before it.

    Did notices some responses that slipped by

    Ann Rusnak
    “The Time Diva”

  8. Deb on April 25, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    Great post, Mari. Thanks! I hadn’t had time to figure out the background on my twitter page! I can now easily take care of that since you explained it. Also have been wondering about the other Twitter tools you mentioned and will explore those as time allows. Thanks so much!

  9. MaryPat on April 25, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Thanks for this post–and your note about NOT being able to find me the other day. I did some research and discovered that I had my username and my real name as the same–“queenmarypat”. Consequently, I couldn’t be found unless you know my username.

    I changed my real name to MaryPat and now I show up in a search.

    So my suggestion: When you are setting up your profile, make sure to use the name that people will search for you–like your REAL NAME!! 😉

  10. Abdur on April 25, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Abdur from Summize here. Thanks for the nice comment. We have lots of great stuff coming out soon, will keep you in the loop.

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