One of the biggest secrets to success on Twitter is sharing.  As many Twitter experts say: You are what you share.   People use Twitter (www.twitter.com) for many different reasons.  But for the purposes of this blog, we will focus on engaging with the business community. Please note that ‘engaging with’ should not be mistaken for ‘selling to’!!  Just because it is ‘business focused’, it doesn’t mean that you still can’t have some fun – like occasionally tweeting about a sports event, or recent big news event.  After all, Twitter is about the people, right?  Many people who use Twitter for business, make the mistake of starting off with efforts to boost sales or launch some new product or service.  They do this without any engagement with anybody.  Take note here…Twitter is a communication channel with an OFF button – the unfollow link – and people aren’t afraid to use it.  If people don’t like what you are saying, or the tone you use – then your follower list will start to shrink…and quick!

So how do you tweet  and manage to maintain your business integrity?

Try to mix up your tweets.  Don’t just focus on you – get interested (and get involved) in others and SHOW IT!  People are happy to look and listen to what you have to say, but only in moderation, and then, only if they trust you and have some sort of relationship with you.  So mix up the types of tweets you make, and engage with the community – business will come later.  Here are just a few suggestions for the types of tweets you can be using to get involved:

Informative:  What have you seen? What websites have you seen that are interesting? What have you read?  Which articles were in your daily news gathering process that got your attention? Get the message?  Tweet something that your followers will (hopefully) find interesting.

Re-Tweets:  Did you receive a tweet you want to share? It’s easy to “retweet” it to your followers. Maybe some of your followers will do the same with some of your tweets!

Blog-Post Tweet:  Post your latest blog posts via Twitter, it is a great way to reach a larger audience with the same information and effort.

Help tweet:  Need some help or advice?  Want to know where to stay when you take a trip? Looking to make an important purchase, but need feedback on your options?  Just tweet about it.  People will give you their opinions quickly and honestly.

Humor Tweet:  Something makes you laugh? Share it with a tweet – we all like to see those tweets, especially if they make you LOL! (that’s “laugh out loud” by the way!

Your business-related tweet: This is where you can tell what you do, how you do it, and promote your business.  But be careful how you pitch it!  If you just talk about you and your business, people get bored and will turn off, but show variety by mixing it up and you will be able to engage with a much wider audience. And if they like they way you do it, then people will naturally gravitate to your website, and they may well become customers or new clients in time.

Lastly, you decide who follows you!  This is very important since twitter acts like a big wall. If you have someone following you, check out their profile to see if it’s someone you want following you.  Twitter is just as susceptible to SPAM and Porn as any other system.  If they are not a quality Twitter-ers, then block them.  You won’t hurt anybodys feelings and, when someone checks out your followers, you won’t have one of those embarrassing moments.