First, watch and listen. If you want to understand how Twitter works then follow key influential people in your industry, follow competitors and other local businesses to see how they are using the tool and what seems to be working for them.
Use Twitter’s search tool at http://search.twitter.com; this is a simple powerful tool and makes a great starting point for understanding the landscape. Look for your business name, the name of your product or service, your local area, key phrases and words related to your business, competitors by name and location, and so on.By looking at keywords and phrases, categories, geography and influence, you will start to build up a meaningful picture of what you can do with your Twitter activity, and you will see how people talk to each other and what they are interested and comfortable in doing on the network.
Once you are comfortable with understanding the landscape, you can look for ways to join in, to get your message out there, and to find potential ways of extending both your message and your reach. You can target specific people, trends, conversations and locations, all with a view to what you have to offer that can meet online needs or wants. Looking at who follows key influencers in your area or who they follow can often lead to deeper understanding. And concentrate on making meaningful connections – growing your network organically over time will pay back more successfully than making a high number of looser and less interested connections.
Make connections with influencers, with potential customers, with competitors or people offering complementary services; and expect to invest time and effort into building relationships and followers, as opposed to expecting an immediate hard sell.
How do you find your audience on Twitter? Looking for new connections directly should be an essential part of your Twitter activity, and time spent this way will be well spent. Is this something you struggle with? Subscribe to my blog using the subscription box at the top of the page, and you will be one of the first to hear from me on other tips and tricks on getting the most from your social media activity. And if you have a specific question, leave a comment below for a direct response.