What I Learned About Twitter At Agent Reboot

From Katie Lance:

Twitter is about AMPLIFICATION. Used properly, it amplifies your message, your reputation and your visibility. The question is: what does ‘used properly’ mean?

It means, first, connecting with the right people. If you are in real estate, that’s a pretty localized business. How do you connect with local people?

    Sign into your Twitter account
    Go to search.twitter.com
    Click on ‘Advanced Search’
    Next to ‘Places’ put your town or target market name
    Experiment with the other search parameters

As you scan through your results, identify people who interest you (Persons Of Interest?) or who might be interested in what you might share. FOLLOW THEM. You’ll find that many will reciprocate by following you. And, oh, by the way, why not start following everyone who follows you?

So, you’re building your network on Twitter, creating a long list of people, mostly in your local market who will receive your tweets. What’s next?

Tweet Value. By that I mean make certain your tweets are short, relevant, interesting. Don’t overtweet and don’t constantly tweet. Tweet Value.

Maybe the best way to communicate what ‘Tweet Value’ means is by reproducing Katie’s list of Twitter ‘Don’ts’:

    Irrelevant and stupid content
    Tweeting listings
    Constant self promotion
    Spam
    Automatic responder messages (turn it off)
    Not responding to messages

Now, let’s talk about your Twitter Profile. You have exactly 140 characters in your Profile to describe who you are and what you do. Spend a little time on this. You want the people who view your profile to see you as someone who will ‘Tweet Value’, not junk. Something like:

‘Selling the Downtown San Diego Lifestyle for 17 years. Cyclist, Kayak-er and Dad to my kids. My wife rocks!’

That’s an active guy who loves his family and has a depth of experience in my geography. Probably worth following.

Finally: Twitter can be chaotic. Heck with ‘can’ – it IS chaotic. It screams for organization. Check out:

Hootsuite.com or Tweetdeck.com

Either of these apps can help you organize your Twitter experience into something manageable.

How to Rank on Google: One Thought

Yesterday, at Agent Reboot, I learned something I didn’t know – lots of things, actually.  But this one thing was so simple and so powerful . . .  and it was presented in less than one minute.  It’s a tiny sliver of Google history.

Google was started as a search tool for locating academic theses online.  The two guys who wrote the initial code and algorhythm wanted to discover the ‘importance’ of each thesis on any given topic so that all theses on the topic could be ranked from most important to least important.  That’s ranking – just like your website position on a page of Google results is a ranking.

Here’s the important part:  in coming up with a criteria to establish the relative ‘importance’ of any thesis, they settled in on citations.  Every time a paper was cited by another paper, its ranking improved.  If John Doe’s paper on ‘Negatively Charged Sub-Atomic Particles’ was cited in hundreds of other papers, then it was deemed to be pretty darn important and thus ranked higher.  My paper on ‘How to Dust a Lampshade’ was cited by absolutely no one and thus ended up at the bottom of the heap.

There’s a clue on how to improve your Google rankings:  it’s what we call ‘Backlinks.’  The more often your website is mentioned and linked on other sites, the more important Google deems your site to be.

So, what can you do to improve your ‘Backlink’ status?  You could go out and buy links – there are services that will link to your site from all sorts of places – but Google is not stupid.  She can spot that stuff in a second and you risk being Google-slapped and relegated to the dark corners of the 12th page of results.  Don’t do it.

A much better strategy is to FIRST:  have relevant, important, interesting and always changing content on your site.  Have something there of continuous value to others, something worthy of a link.  That can be a challenge on a typical company website (but not impossible), so thankfully there are other ways, notably:

Interact when you surf.  When you read something that causes you to react, comment!  Most times, commenting requires you to list some basic contact information and (usually) your website.  BINGO!  That becomes a link, a breadcrumb the Google spiders will follow right back to you.

I’m a pretty typical Internet user.  I’m on that spider Web every day and I’m always searching, reading, absorbing, learning.  But it’s very rare that I go to that next step:  interacting.  Why?  I am afraid I’ll get pulled into a discussion that will sap time and energy AND I’m afraid doing so will open me up to spam and/or viscious computer attacks.  The first concern is probably real but all that means is that I have to be disciplined and focused . . . and always aware of why I’m dropping this particular breadcrumb.   The second concern is something I don’t know much about.  But I do know how to deal with spam (use a filter) and I have a good, regularly updated virus and malware process.  So that shouldn’t stop me – or you – from taking your web experience from passive reading and watching to interacting and building your own online reputation.

Now:  I double-dog-dare you to leave a comment to this post and include your website address when you do!  Let it be your first breadcrumb!