#tweetsmart: 25 Twitter Projects to Help You Build Your Community – #bookreview

#tweetsmart: 25 Twitter Projects to Help You Build Your Community
By J.S. McDougall
(O’Reilly, paperback, list price $19.99; Kindle edition, list price $9.99)

Okay, you’ve finally ventured onto Twitter. Or, maybe you’ve been tweeting a while and now wonder what else you can do with 140 characters besides report that you have just brushed your teeth and are ready to seize the business day like a donut-chomping tiger shark.

#tweetsmart: 25 Twitter Projects to Help You Build Your Community offers useful suggestions that can help businesses, nonprofit organizations and social causes quickly gain more customers, donors and followers.

None of the 25 projects – such as Twitter BOGO (buy one, get one) — are rocket science. And some of them will not help your particular situation. But several of the Twitter projects likely will be immediately useful and easily adapted to your needs. And you will have fun and gain followers in the process of putting them to work – that is, if you don’t make the classic business Twitter mistake of trying to turn every tweet into a sales pitch.

 “Twitter is not a marketing channel—and you should never view it as such,” J.S. McDougall cautions.

“Twitter is a community. Folks join Twitter to meet new friends and to discuss their interests with a wide variety of people—most of whom they will never meet in the real world. No one will ever tell you that they joined Twitter to make themselves available to more advertisers. Advertising on Twitter—sending out one-way, uninteresting, very short commercials for your stuff—will annoy people and you will be blocked, reported, and unfollowed. All of that is hard to wash off,” the author warns.

McDougall says his book’s 25 “community-building projects” can help you “build an interested and engaged community for your business. The payoff that comes from having such a community around your business is increased sales, referrals, and opportunity for feedback and improvement. It is vital to understand the difference between your goal and your payoff.”

The book includes a Twitter-integrated QR code at the beginning of each chapter. If, while reading #tweetsmart, you happen across a project that you think might help or interest a friendly follower on Twitter, you can scan the code with your mobile device and tweet them a recommendation.

Friends helping friends…entertaining friends…informing friends…advising friends…connecting friends with other friends — these are all at the heart of how Twitter works best.

Definitely not: “Today only! 25% off SoopahSwoosh nuclear-powered toilets! Click the link, buy now & FLUSH!”

Si Dunn is a novelist, screenwriter, freelance book reviewer, and former software technical writer and software/hardware QA test specialist. His latest book is Dark Signals, a Vietnam War memoir available soon in paperback. He also is the author of a detective novel, Erwin’s Law, a novella, Jump, and several other books and short stories.

The Twitter Book (2nd Edition) – What newcomers & veteran tweeters need to know #sm #bookreview #TwitterBook

 

The Twitter Book (2nd Edition)
By Tim O’Reilly and Sarah Milstein
(O’Reilly,
paperback, list price $19.99; Kindle edition, list price $15.99)

It’s easy to spot a business that’s starting to use Twitter for the first time. They think “tweets” are a great and inexpensive way to push out information and reach potential customers worldwide. So, over and over, they tweet how great their new product or service is, and they include a link where you can get more information, place an order and add cash to their bank account.

But a funny thing happens on their way to easy fortune and fame: Most Twitter users shun them; many actually block them; and some get snarky and snarl about their lame tweets.

Twitter, the authors point out in their newly updated book, is mostly about sharing information, being helpful to others, and generally being interesting and entertaining.

Yes, there are ways to sell stuff using Twitter. But one of the quickest ways to failure on this widely popular social media outlet is to just barge in and try to be an electronic door-to-door sales person.

The recently published second edition of The Twitter Book is fun reading and nicely illustrated. And it is a good guide for learning how to use Twitter without the “common gaffs and pitfalls” that many newcomers commit.

Many experienced Twitter users likely will find helpful tips and techniques in this book, as well.

If you are thinking about trying to put Twitter to work in your business, the two authors offer some sage advice: Listen first. For a long time.

“People already on Twitter will expect your corporate account[s] to engage with them,” they write, “so before you start tweeting away, spend a few weeks or so understanding the ways people talk about you. Get a sense for the rhythms of conversation on Twitter, and think about how you’ll hold conversations.”

That listen-first and “rhythms of conversation” advice applies to all other new users of Twitter, as well.

And it wouldn’t hurt if some long-time Twitter-istas paid more attention to what others are saying and less attention to tweeting their every thought (or half-thought).

One more benefit of The Twitter Book:  It can introduce you to some of the third-party services and tools now available, such as TweetGrid, Monitter, Seesmic, and TweetDeck., which provide more “features and flexibility” than the standard Twitter web interface offers.

Si Dunn