Now that you’ve got your Twitter account up and Twittering it’s time to build your network.
Back when you were setting your strategy I suggested you answer two questions: What do I want to get out of my social network and why should others care about my involvement?
The answers to those questions are made up of the words and ideas you’ll need in order to build your Twitter network. Here’s an example.
Q. What do I want to get out of my social network?
A. I want to capitalize on my expertise in cross dressing so I become the preeminent authority on the subject. I want to write informative articles to the cross dressing community, couples therapy community and plus size lingerie and women’s shoe industry. Eventually I’d like to sell a book to a major publisher and appear on Oprah in drag.
Then characterize your target connections.
• Who is my audience?
• What do they look like?
• Where do they hang out?
• What blogs do they read?
• What websites do they frequent?
Look into your answers for key words to use as search terms.
In this example you could build a list of key terms along these lines:
transvestite sexual reassignment queen
drag queen transsexual tranny
ladies underwear crossdresser transgender
judy marilyn cher
With this list of key words, you can now go trolling the Twitter community. As you perform searches with each term, peruse the search results and click the Follow button when you find someone who fits the target connection.
Continue this until you’ve exhausted all your search terms on Twitter.
Now go do the same thing on Google and see what you find. What you’re likely going to see is a combination of merchant web sites and blogs. Take the time to dig into the blogs. You’ll uncover links to other pertinent blogs and names that you can then go back to Twitter and search.
Bookmark the blogs for future reference. We’ll come back to them at a later date.
Eventually you’ll exhaust all your searchable resources. There’s one more fertile area where you can find potential connections inside your network, but you’ve got some work to do first, which brings us to the second question.
Why should others care about my involvement?
This is where you roll out that expertise you’ve been talking smack about.
When you return to your Twitter home page, you’ll be able to see the people you’re following. You’ll also be able to see a list of their feeds, or Tweets, on your home page. Each comment will fall into one of five categories:
• Informative – usually contains an interesting link or fact
• @nswer – a comment intended to answer another poster directly
• Though provoking
• Open question to the group
To get people in your network to follow what you have to say, you’ve gotta engage, providing interesting, informative or at very least, entertaining content, and this is where it happens.
Take the time to read the Tweets coming across your home page.
If you have something pertinent to add to a conversation, chime in. If you can provide an accurate answer to someone’s question, go ahead and answer it. If you found something useful in a link someone provided, let them know.
Maybe what you find will tip you off to information you can provide which may be of interest. At very least, thank the person.It’s necessary at this stage of your network building process to direct your answers toward a specific user by placing the @ symbol in front of their Twitter ID. This ensures that they’ll see your comment, which will likely get their attention enough for them to begin to follow you.
If you have a presence somewhere else on the web, this is when cross pollination begins. By including the URL of your blog, your Facebook or MySpace page in your user profile, you’re giving a curious user somewhere to go to get more information about you after you’ve directed a comment at them or they see your comment to someone else.
“Who is this mother f***er telling me I can’t wear flats with an evening gown? He doesn’t know I’m a statuesque 6’2” in stockings!”
And so it goes.
Be disciplined about your strategy and rethink your key words based on what you learn from your network. Set aside some time every day to nurture your Twitter network but be careful; it can be addictive.
Next time we’ll go a level deeper into how you can expand your network further into the places that will position you where you need to be to achieve your networking objectives.
Full disclosure ~ My brother Jimmy, pictured with me in the About section, is now my sister Jamie…kinda, so I mean no offense to the cross dressing community. More on this at another time.