This practical guide will teach you everything you need to know to quickly become a Twitter power user, including strategies and tactics for using Twitter's 140-character messages as a serious--and effective--way to boost your business. Co-written by Tim O'Reilly and Sarah Milstein, widely followed and highly respected Twitterers, the practical information in The Twitter Book is presented in a fun, full-color format that's packed with helpful examples and clear explanations.
1. Even if you use Twitter primarily to post information that’s not directly about your company, you can—and should—use it to sometimes link back to your own site or blog. Many companies find that Twitter can become a top referrer to their sites, so avail yourself of that benefit—just do it in a smart way.
The key is to frame the link in a way that’s interesting to your Twitter followers. So instead of saying, “New Blog Post: Mundane Headline, http://yourblog.com,” try something like the examples here, each of which links back to the Bigelow Tea blog.
2. If you’re looking to get the most out of Twitter, don’t fall into the trap of posting an RSS feed of headlines from your site or blog. Although there are services that will automate such a connection for you, they simply help you create an impersonal account that duplicates the main feature of an RSS reader. Why bother?
Four Important Things to Search For
If you want really useful search results from Twitter, you have to spend some time playing with the advanced search options to figure out the relevant terms and topics people are talking about. Here are four topics to get you started:
1. Your name. It may be known as a “vanity search,” but keeping an eye on what people say about you is a smart idea. (Don’t forget that putting quotes around your name can help refine the results. Search for “Jane Doe” instead of Jane Doe.)
2. Your Twitter account name. Don’t miss messages to or about you.
3. Your company, brand or product. Peek into the minds of customers, competitors, journalists and other key constituents. If you’re a local business, use the advanced search “Location” option to narrow down results. Also, if your company name is common, use the minus sign to weed out inappropriate results. For instance, if you work for Kaiser Permanente, search for Kaiser -Chiefs to make sure messages about the band don’t overwhelm your results. (Here, a targeted search yields some relevant results.)
4. Your competitors. Get market intel and ideas.
"...appropriate for those you're trying to convince that Twitter is all the rage. The book reads like a beginner's how-to guide, which means you could even use it as a subtle way to encourage less than stellar Twitter users to improve their Twittering ways."
-- Jennifer Van Grove, Mashable.com
"As easy to grasp as a tweet, this book cuts through the tiresome twitterhype and delivers a bunch of sensible, down-to-earth material on using and enjoying Twitter."
-- Cory Doctorow, co-editor of Boing Boing and author of Little Brother
"As with anything that gains high profile popularity there are plenty of Twitter haters out there, though the role that Twitter has played in the recent Iranian elections seems to have brought more legitimacy to Twitter in the eyes of many. With popularity come books and quite a few are already out there about and for twitter, but my favorite so far is The Twitter Book by Tim O'Reilly and Sarah Milstein."
-- JR Peck, Slashdot.org
"Ever been to Nepal? Me neither. However if I ever do go, even though the aborigines who live there are just like us, I will enlist a Sherpa to guide me through the landscape and the nuances of the culture. That's what The Twitter Book is to Twitter. The Twitter community is, at its heart, filled with passionate people engaged in conversations. It's just like Main Street USA. However, culturally, Twitter is its own country with its own language. Its various conventions like DMs and hashtags sound more like retro phrases from the 1960s than the underpinnings of one of the largest social networks on the web today. However, with a quick study, anyone can jump in, engage and accomplish their goals. With The Twitter Book, Sarah Milstein and Tim O'Reilly give you everything you need to get started while leaving just enough for readers to explore on their own. It's an terrific resource I am recommending to all of our clients and anyone else who is curious about Twitter."
-- Steve Rubel, SVP/Director of Insights, Edelman Digital
"Once again, O'Reilly has put together a great, comprehensive primer. If you're ready to dive into the world of Twitter, I highly recommend this book!"
-- Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos
"Movie stars, media figures, captains of industry and book reviewers are doing it, but how can businesses discern the twits from the tweets? O'Reilly and Milstein present as lucid and intelligent an overview as you'd want or need. The format is concise but quite rich, and there's plenty here to convince skeptics that employing Twitter as a marketing tool is a very good way to engage customers."
-- Richard Pachter, The Miami Herald
"The 234-page guide is so helpful that many readers no doubt will tweet its praises and thank '(at)timoreilly' and '(at)sarahm' - the authors' Twitter handles - for helping people understand why Twitter is emerging as the Internet's most powerful communications vehicle since e-mail."
-- Michael Liedtkeap, Associated Press
"Tim O'Reilly and Sarah Milstein are two of my favorite tweeters, and they've just written The Twitter Book, a pleasingly-designed 240-page guide to making the most out of Twitter."
-- Mark Frauenfelder, BoingBoing.net