How to Use Twitter (in my humble opinion) - Tip #1 - Start or Join a Conversation

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Austin Texas Homes, LLC 453249

When I started using Twitter back in the fall of 2008 (I had joined many months earlier, but barely used it up to that point), I was a little stumped by all of the lingo and the fast pace of the platform:how to use twitter

What is a "retweet"?  Why do I have to use an "@" symbol in front of everyone's name to talk to them?  Is anyone really listening?


Over time, I became much more comfortable with the platform, and it has been invaluable to me as a business tool.  I connected with my radio co-host there.  I recruited some people to work for our company.  I had real-world dollars in my pocket because of the things that I learned there and the people I met, some of whom I got to know in person as well.

In an effort to share some of the things that have worked for me, I am starting a series of posts about Twitter and its usage.  If you're looking to learn how to use Twitter as a legitimate tool to grow your business and your base of connections, you will probably want to follow along.

Today's tip (as you probably noticed in the title above) is this:

START OR JOIN A CONVERSATION

One analogy that I've heard and used to describe Twitter is that it's much like a big party.  If you are hanging out at a party, you will probably be part of many conversations throughout the event.  Sometimes the conversations get a little more in-depth, and sometimes they even get private.  Other times, you're just kidding around with friends and having a good time.  Most things that you can do with regard to networking in person can be done on Twitter as well, although I am not suggesting that Twitter or any other social media tool should replace face-to-face meetings.

HOW TO START A CONVERSATION

I know that this seems really rudimentary, but we've had so many clients ask this that I thought it would be pertinent to include here.  Think of how you start a conversation in person.  Do you mention a blog post you just wrote?  Well, maybe, but only if you describe it somehow and then chat about it afterward.  The same applies with Twitter.  Simply broadcasting your posts to the tweetstream with no commentary is valueless, in my humble opinion.  You can include them, to be sure, but only as part of a larger plan.

Try these ideas:

  • Mention a cool article or video you have seen
  • Take a poll
  • Ask a question of any kind ("what is your favorite TV show/movie/80′s song?")
  • Say something funny  - anything truly funny will usually get a good response
  • Promote others by retweeting stuff you find interesting or wise

HOW TO JOIN A CONVERSATION

Unlike being at a real-life party, Twitter offers you the opportunity to join conversations with little chance of personal rejection.   If you spot something of interest, respond to it, as in, "Me, too.  That book changed my outlook on life in general."  If you see something funny, respond accordingly, "I laughed so hard just now that milk came out of my nose."

If you see a discussion about something that looks interesting or about which you can converse, just jump in and participate.  The worst case is no response at all, and you haven't really risked much, right?

Again, I recognize that this is pretty basic stuff, but I'm trying to illustrate that Twitter isn't mysterious or difficult.  It can facilitate things if you use it the right way.

I hope this is helpful for you.  I would love to hear your input below.   Thanks very much for reading!

Next Twitter tip (coming soon): Promoting others

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If you're looking for a home in the Austin area, you can also visit my primary website at www.austintexashomes.com.  Thanks!

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Re-Blogged 5 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Tiffany Torgan 07/06/2010 03:50 PM
  2. John Cannata 07/07/2010 07:15 AM
  3. Susan Gaieski 07/07/2010 08:44 AM
  4. Gloria Valvasori, Accredited Senior Agent 07/07/2010 02:46 PM
  5. Pat O'Reilly 07/13/2010 01:34 AM
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Rob Lang
At Home Kansas - Lawrence, KS
Local Expert in Lawrence Kansas Real Estate Homes

These are good tips for people starting up an interactive use of Twitter.  Thank you for sharing this post.

Jul 07, 2010 02:52 PM #48
Rainmaker
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John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate

I'd like to add a little clarification to "Start a conversation." Simply autoposting your AR blogs to Twitter IS NOT starting a conversation. I've seen more than a few Rainers on Twitter where their whole stream is "Just posted on ActiveRain ..." Not good.

Jul 07, 2010 02:59 PM #49
Rainmaker
232,829
Ken Barker Realtor® GRI, E-Pro Certified
Dilbeck Real Estate - Burbank, CA

I agree with Robert #38, time is of the essense and there is so much to choose from and stay atop of. Twitter, tweetdeck, tweetlister, facebook, linked in, AR, google alerts etc...

kaboom overload. But great post and I am bookmarking and waiting on your series.

Jul 07, 2010 03:17 PM #50
Rainmaker
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Aaron Vaughn, REALTOR© 512-845-4204
eXp Realty - Canyon Lake, TX
My knowledge is your power | eXp Realty

Boss: Great advice on using Twitter. I am going to have to follow this closely, because I am worthless with Twitter -- and not much better on FB for that matter. =)

Jul 07, 2010 04:14 PM #52
Rainmaker
355,183
Damon Gettier
Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert - Roanoke, VA
Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE

Jason, pleae do not over estimate your audience. Your beginners post was not too elementary for me!  Thanks for writing and I will try to follow along.

Jul 07, 2010 04:14 PM #53
Rainmaker
344,828
Malik Crichlow
GoodBuy Homes NJ Essex & Union County Real Estate specialist - Maplewood, NJ
Maplewood,SouthOrange,Union Real estate

Great post Jason, I will check you out to gain as much info as I can, as for me Twitter is an un-tapped resource for me.  Thanks!!

Jul 07, 2010 04:49 PM #54
Rainmaker
700,261
Cara Marcelle Mancuso
Long Realty - Dove Mountain, Marana AZ - Tucson, AZ
Call a Marana neighbor, I'm THERE! LONG REALTY

Awesome tips for twits!  I posted on Facebook and linked to your blog.  Thanks for the valuable advice.  So much it seems like everyone is talking and no one is listening!  I'm eager to try your ideas.

Jul 07, 2010 05:01 PM #55
Rainmaker
638,544
Maria Morton
Platinum Realty - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758

Jason, you are awesome on Twitter. You are actually the first person I tried to converse with on Twitter. Remember when you sent me a DM saying that you just realized I was trying to communicate with you? LOL I had not a clue how to talk to anyone on Twitter. It took me a month to figure out -even after your reply!(I'm a bit slow sometimes)

Thanks for the step-by-step instructions.

Jul 07, 2010 07:50 PM #56
Rainmaker
233,504
Elliott S. Topkins
Topkins & Bevans-etopkins@topbev.com - Boston, MA
Massachusetts Real Estate and Title Atty

Jason--Maybe I will tee up Twitter agian. My experience with writing posts on AR has been much more fruitful.

Jul 07, 2010 11:29 PM #57
Rainer
153,175
Aaron Seekford
Arlington Realty, Inc. - Arlington, VA
Ranked Top 1% Nationwide 703-836-6116

Good post, Jason. Twitter is nice, but unfortunately it is a cluttered mess. Can't tell you how many times I've seen the fail whale of death in the last week. Facebook is so much easier to use!

Jul 08, 2010 02:58 AM #58
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Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Jason - Twitter is one social network on which I don't have a great handle.  I look forward to your next tips.

Jul 08, 2010 06:10 PM #59
Rainmaker
642,656
Dawn A Fabiszak
Private Label Realty ( Denver metro area, Colorado - Aurora, CO
The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience!

Jason ~ thank you for the lesson, however, I just don't get the preface for it.

Jul 08, 2010 06:42 PM #60
Rainmaker
1,970,286
Tom Braatz Waukesha County Real Estate 262-377-1459
Coldwell Banker - Oconomowoc, WI
Waukesha County Realtor Real Estate agent. SOLD!

Jason

How true, it took awhile for me to get it down but I find people contacting me as a result of Twitter

Jul 09, 2010 04:52 PM #61
Rainer
99,010
Peter Sanchez (GRI,CDPE,E-PRO) 951-684-9999
Peter Sanchez (SELLEXPRESS.COM) - Riverside, CA

good article and thank you for the information. i like twitter. it is a great site

Jul 10, 2010 08:57 PM #62
Rainmaker
56,667
Nicole Anderson
Lake Homes Realty - Pell City, AL
YOUR Community and Lake Expert

Reading this made me want to follow this blog series and learn more. I haven't done much with Twitter but hear great things from the people who use it. It's kinda like LinkedIn...I'm there but not benefiting from it. Thanks so much!

Jul 16, 2010 06:02 AM #63
Rainer
410,603
Stephen P. Panczak, Sr, MBA
Palm Beach, FL
Realtor, Property Mgm't, LCAM

Jason - still try to get the basics down with Twitter. I'm looking forward to your series and learning this new tool...have a great weekend!

Jul 16, 2010 08:59 PM #64
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Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans

Jason... I have had a twitter account since like April of 2009 or so... I am just now starting to use it properly and have conversations, like in the last 2 weeks.  I just joined tweetDeck and that helps when having conversations... otherwise, it's almost impossible to keep track.  Looking forward to your series..  thanks

jeff belonger

Jul 18, 2010 08:20 AM #65
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Joni Bailey
101 Main St. Realty - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®

I have a twitter account but to be honest, I really don't like it. Most of the folks have the same status on their facebook account so it seems silly to read it twice. However, its kinda like a new song. Sometimes I will start off not liking it and it will grow on me. The next thing I know, its my favorite song.☺

Jul 20, 2010 06:24 AM #66
Rainmaker
935,200
Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc
Benchmark Realty LLc - Nashville, TN

Jason - Thanks for the tips. I haven't fully utilizied the tools that we have at our disposal, and twitter is one of them.

Jul 27, 2010 04:51 AM #67
Rainmaker
330,684
Rosalinda Morgan
Brookville, NY
"The Rose Lady"

Jason - I have an account with Twitter but I have only used it to post links.  Thanks for the tips.  Looking forward to read your series. 

Jul 30, 2010 10:04 AM #68
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