5 Ways NOT to Use Twitter for Freelancers

Since I’ve spent the last two days on the big computer project for this year, i.e. switching from desktop to laptop with all that entails (something I will blog about once it’s done), and will be involved with that for a little while longer, I’ll only share a great short article today I found over at the excellent FreelanceSwitch on how to use Twitter wisely for business purposes. It certainly helped me get started right with this nifty little tool…
You can read the original article, published by Melanie Brooks on July 14th 2011 here.

Twitter is a great social media resource for any business, freelancing included.
It can help you brand yourself, build a network of like-minded users,
promote your work, and share news about your business. As the social
media manager for three print publications, I spend a fair amount of
time on Twitter each day. And I’ve learned a thing or two about Twitter
Twitter offers you 140 characters to share information, but there’s
much more to it. No matter if you are new to the Twittersphere or you
already have a Twitter handle, here are five things that can kill you on

A Bad Profile Photo

Your profile photo on Twitter has got to be simple—there is no room
for anything complicated. The best idea is to use your logo. If you want
to use a photo of yourself, make sure it’s professional. Using a photo
of you passed out at someone’s bachelor party is NOT a good idea.
I would also discourage changing your profile pic too often. You want
people to recognize you and your brand. Keeping your Twitter profile
picture simple and stable is the best way to go.

Sharing too Much Personal Information

It’s OK to post personal information on Twitter; we’re not robots.
But if you are building a brand for your freelance business, be careful
what you divulge and complain about—you don’t want to alienate potential
clients and no one likes to listen to a Debbie Downer.
Some people have a separate professional and a personal
Twitter account, which are used to stay in touch with two very
different audiences. Your friends might find it funny that your
2-year-old just puked into your favorite pair of loafers or care about
how angry it makes you that your husband doesn’t help with the laundry,
but your business contacts are not going to care. As a freelancer, you
want people to care about what you say and follow you on Twitter for the
right reasons.

Following Everyone

Following 1,000 people on Twitter and having just 50 followers of
your own doesn’t look great. In fact, it looks desperate. The people I
follow for the wedding magazine I work for are chosen deliberately. I
follow people in the wedding industry like photographers, event
planners, florists, bakers, and reception venues. And since the wedding
magazine has a specific geographical target, I try to follow the best
vendors and industry experts in that area. It doesn’t make sense for me
to follow hospitals, bio tech companies, or a 45-year-old married guy
who drives a tractor trailer for a living—that’s not my target audience.
I also follow companies who advertise in the wedding magazine in the
hopes that they follow me back. I also try to follow people our sales
team targets as potential advertisers. You never know what you are going
to learn about potential clients on Twitter. It’s good to show them
you’re interested and engaging.

Ignoring Your Competitors

You know the saying “keep your friends close and your enemies
closer”? It applies to the world wide web, too. If you are not following
your competitors you are shooting yourself in the foot. Instead of
snubbing them, follow them! It’s a great way to keep tabs on what other
people are doing in your industry and open doors for networking

Installing the Twitter Application on Facebook

Facebook and Twitter are different beasts. For marketing purposes,
your Facebook status update should be updated a few times a day, max.
Tweets should be used more frequently. If you tie them together you run
the risk of annoying your Facebook followers with too much information;
you don’t want to alienate your followers. Your aunt and your college
friends aren’t going to want to be inundated with your business Tweets
on their Facebook page.
Think about why you use Twitter and what you want to accomplish
before tweeting. Sometimes what you don’t tweet is just as important as
what you do.

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