I’m going to go ahead and say it right off the bat. If you’re not using the micro-blogging, social networking giant Twitter you are not serious about your business.

Granted, that is a pretty strong, bold statement. I did it for a reason. To grab your attention. Hopefully it worked because what I’m about to share with you is going to help you in today’s social networking world.

Twitter is a social networking site that is called a micro-blog. Basically it means that you can post 140 character updates that answer the question “What are you doing?” This is mostly done in the form of personal updates of what you are actually doing (going to the market, had a killer workout, playing with kids before bedtime, etc.).

However, now that bloggers, marketers, network marketers, affiliate marketers, copywriters, virtual assistants, and anyone else with a product, or service to sell, is now armed with a Twitter account there is more added to the “What are you doing?” question.

Marketing with Twitter conversations.

If you have read anything on Twitter (Darren Rowse has a great Twitter for beginners post and Lynn Terry has a Twitter 101 post both of which I recommend to new, and veteran, users of Twitter) you are going to notice that there is a real focus on interacting, or joining in on the conversations.

But, to people who are not use to marketing their products in the new relational, personable, and conversational style are left being blocked by people they want to follow, being blacklisted as a spammer, or just having their accounts dropped by Twitter. It’s a fine line and today if you’re not one of the elite Twitter users (they think they are anyway) or make a mistake a post a few too many links, you’re toast.

Twitter conversations is a style to master. Here’s some Twitter conversation pointers.

It’s true.

Twitter is very powerful and if you’re joining in on the conversation, honestly, you will see a dramatic impact upon your web traffic, your referrals, your sales, your search engine rankings, your list subscribers… just about everything associated with your online business. So it pays to converse. Just like everything else there are some basic fundamentals that should be mastered to maximize that impact.

1.) Remember that Twitter is a tool for conversations not exactly marketing. It’s a place where you can connect with people and get to know them. By getting to know them you are building trust which leads to referrals and income. But the conversation comes first. It’s the priority.

2.) Don’t follow a thousand people right off the bat. That just looks spammy. It looks like you’re just in it to get as many people following you as you can. (Yes, that is the idea but it can’t be overtly seen.) Follow a few of the people you’re already associated with, if you can, and let your following/followers take an organic growth.

3.) Give and give often. One of the biggest keys to success with Twitter is your ability to give. Give without wanting to receive. As I said before it’s a new marketing world. Before it was all about information that carried a price. Now it’s about helping, caring, and conversing without any thing return. When you follow someone look at what they are doing, what their interests are, what they are talking about now and then give. Give answers to their questions, links to other websites that can give them help, encouragement or praise for helping you, or anything that has nothing to do with you.

4.) Don’t change the subject. Just like you wouldn’t jump into the middle of a conversation between two, or more, people and change the subject, you should not do it on Twitter either. Wait for the conversation to die down or join in with them. Just don’t change the conversation or try to engage on of them in a new one. Keep things fluid and wait.

5.) Reply to people who answer you. They took time out of their schedules to offer a solution, give examples, hunt down links for you the least you could do is say thanks and update them on how things went.

6.) Don’t be a Twitter snob. I don’t know if this is an official term or not but I like it. I use it in reference to those high and mighty Twitter users that tell everyone how to use Twitter but won’t take the time to answer you, reply to you, or even be interested in you enough to follow you for a while. They just build their own followers up so they can build their rep. Don’t be a Twitter snob.

7.) Be you. The biggest piece of Twitter advice anybody could ever take to heart it’s this. Just be yourself. Don’t try to be a John Reese, a Joel Comm, a Robert Scoble, a Lynn Terry, or a Alejandro Reyes. You can’t be. Never will be. You were created to be you. So be you.

8.) Watch the humor. That doesn’t mean don’t be humorous. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use sarcasm. What I mean is to make sure that what you “tweet” can be interpreted the way you want it. There is no visual indications of whether or not you’re trying to be funny, sarcastic, or playing around. People have to take your words as they are. Make sure they take them the right way.

9.) Be active. Well, there is a limit. Don’t be so overly active that people get tired of seeing your picture in their timeline. It does happen. With that in mind, make sure you have a consistent presence or you’ll be steamrolled by other users who are.

Other Twitter words of advice?

By no means is this list of tips exhaustive to engaging in conversations with Twitter. I’m sure that everyone reading this, besides the complete novice, has found something that works, or is even unique to them.

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