John S. Rhodes on TwitterI’m going to tell you how to use Twitter. This is primarily meant for people who want to use Twitter to drive web site traffic. So, it’s mostly about marketing but it is useful for anyone.

I encourage you to start with this: 10 Simple Twitter Secrets. It’s a blog posting I wrote back in August 2007, well before all the “Twitter Gurus” started popping up. It’s a amusing to find these “secrets” in $27 reports.

Next, take a look a this blog posting: How to Search Twitter. If you think you know everything about finding people and good stuff on Twitter, you need to reconsider. There are many tools outside Twitter that give you incredible power. (Twitter search will become more powerful than Google?) There is incredible value inside Twitter that you can extract, if you know what you’re doing.

At this point you should have a solid foundation. You know the basics of Twitter and you know how to tap the hidden value through search. Now it’s time to look at how to use Twitter to drive traffic. Furthermore, I’ll explain how to boost the power of your social network using simple tactics and tools.

You need to take an inventory of your business assets. For example:

  • Do you have a blog?
  • Do you have any products for sale?
  • Do you have an affiliate program?
  • Do you have any special skills?

Once you’ve compiled the answers to these questions you have created a pile of business assets. This step is crucial. So, please pause a moment to reflect on those questions even if you don’t write down answers (highly recommended).

What you’re going to do now is search for people who talk about you, your blog, your products, and so on. Use Twitter search tools to find “links” with other people. If you’re not Following them, start now. Also, start to use the @username functionality to connect with these people. If you’re lucky, these people will start Following you. Once that happens, direct message (DM) them and start real conversations. Interact with these folks. They are the backbone of your Twitter social network. I can’t stress this enough: be sincere, honest and 100% legitimate. Avoid spam and automated tools. They’ll work against you.

Now that you have built a Twitter network, start finding ways to help these folks. For example, run a survey or poll. Be sure to @username and direct message them. Find out what they want and what they need. For example, you might DM me ( about a new usability quiz or online marketing survey you’re running. Interact!

This activity will give you business intelligence. You’ll also find that people will re-tweet your messages without asking. They will help you because you’re helping them. Because you care, they care. Before long, a small (but loyal) group of these Followers will become friends. They can also become affiliates and joint venture partners. Knowing what you have — business assets — and what they want will be critical. You’ll be using Twitter to build your business and conduct business. This activity will naturally drive traffic without any special magic.

The process I described above sounds so simple. It’s almost childish. It might feel too manual or it might seem like a brute force tactic. But the truth is that this is so legitimate and since, that it’s got more traffic power than a tidal wave. You will see a constant stream of traffic with an occasional flood when some of your Tweets go viral — trust me, this happens. The interactions with my trusted network suck people in. There is excitement and buzz; traffic MUST flow.

As I write this blog posting I have well over 2,000 loyal Followers. Make no mistake: This 2K+ group of Followers is 10x better than an ill-be-gotten or manufactured group of 20K Followers. My Followers are legitimate and they are powerful. We work together to drive traffic, share ideas and make great things happen for each other. That is the “secret” of Twitter.

I’m going to leave you with one final bit of advice on how to use Twitter. This is what many readers — probably you! — care about. You can dramatically increase traffic with Twitter just by asking for it. Here’s what I do:

  • Post a tweet which includes a link
  • At the end, I say “Please Stumble” or “Please Digg” or “Please RT” or “Please share”
  • I direct message 3-4 people who care about the topic and ask for help

That’s it. Because my Twitter Followers actually care about what I write and have to say, they help me. Likewise, when they ask for Stumbles, Re-Tweets, Digg’s and so on, I help them. We don’t promote junk and they don’t promote junk. (When they do, I tell them bluntly and we move on.)

This is all possible because I’ve developed such a strong, loyal and LEGITIMATE (read: no trash!) group of Followers. We actually care about each other. As a result, we all benefit.

I’ll end by saying that using Twitter is a social exercise. It’s not about code. It’s not about using tools. It’s not about anything but … people. If you want to use Twitter for traffic you have to rethink how you interact and socialize with other people. Most of the lessons above are basic and eternal. It’s too bad that so many people forget that it comes down to humans talking to humans.

If you liked this blog posting, I’m glad! I’ve got plenty more to say: Follow Me on Twitter!

~ John

p.s. Show me some love please? Please Stumble, Digg, Tweet and share this blog posting if you want other people to know how to properly use Twitter. Thank you for your time and for helping.