It’s been 18 months since I first posted JTPratt’s Guide to Twitter. Twitter is more mainstream now than ever. When you see the Today Show and Sportscenter saying “follow us on Twitter”, you start to understand that maybe it’s not something you can ignore anymore. I got a lot of comments from that post, and I’ve ready plenty of blogs where people think twitter is still a fad, a waste of time – something they can’t figure out how to make any money from. It doesn’t help much when someone like Shoemoney posts he makes $15,000 per month by tweeting. This is not normal, and I’m not here to tell you how to be the next person to “cash in on the twitter money making machine”. Rather, I’d rather point out that by not using Twitter you’re missing out on starting a “conversation” with potential customers and clients.

Twitter is important. If you don’t have a Twitter account you should get one for your blog, business, or brand. If you don’t think so – it’s because you still don’t understand how powerful it is, or what you can do with it.

Twitter is also fun, trendy, and “what all the cool kids are doing…”. Let me give you a few examples to show two years later what it has evolved into, and why it can no longer be ignored.

Backlinks, backlinks, and more backlinks

First of all, your twitter profile page links back to your web site. This is possibly the most important backlink you can get – and I’ll show you why. In backlinks, just a handful of high pagerank links can be worth more than thousands of low or no pagerank links. You might think that your twitter profile page has no significance – but then you’d be wrong. A twitter profile starts out as unranked in google, but let me show you a pattern I’ve uncovered lately…

jtpratt.com: pagerank 3
twitter.com/jtpratt: pagerank 3

wp-dir.com: pagerank 2
twitter.com/wpdir: pagerank 4

shoemoney.com: pagerank 6
twitter.com/shoemoney: pagerank 7

johnchow.com: pagerank 5
twitter.com/johnchow: pagerank 6

johncow.com: pagerank 4
twitter.com/johncow: pagerank 6

Do you see a pattern here? Your twitter profile can easily (over time) outrank your web site home page (becoming one of the most important backlinks you have). In addition – if you link to your posts and pages from this high pagerank page, this is an unbeatable source of promotional juice!

Connections and Networking

When you start out on Twitter you have no followers, and you’re following no one. Do you honestly think that by following 10,000 people means you’re going to be able to spam them with affiliate offers and make a wheelbarrow full of cash? Everyday life doesn’t
work like that, why would twitter be any exception?

Instead of following a bunch of zombie losers who’s only goal is to over-inflate their “followers” in search on money that will never come in – focus instead of people that you can learn from. Find and follow people that know more than you, and use twitter for what it was intended for: a conversation. Where else can you find and connect with experts this quickly and easily? My advice to you is to think of and use Twitter as a business tool – not a fad. Don’t use Twitter tools that give you useless facts and garbage charts. It doesn’t matter what someone’s follower to following ratio is. What matters to me is how many tweets they have and if they actually look like I can learn something from them. Would this be a good person to network with? If so, chances are they would be good for my business and brand, and their followers probably would be too.

Check out a Twitter app called Klout.com. It allows you to gauge in a very scientific way what kind of twitterer you are connecting with. Take for example the twitter request I got the other day from Chris Voss. I don’t know much about him other than he has a lot of followers and he’s on a lot of lists. Here’s what Klout has to say about him:

klout-chris-voss

It says that Chris Voss is a “Persona”, someone that’s built a personal brand around twitter. He doesn’t just have a ton of followers, he engages with his audience. I think that Klout saying he’s a “Personal” is dead-on, he’s almost a Twitter celebrity – isn’t he? But what does that really mean, is he really a valuable person to follow? Let’s see what other stats Klout has gathered about Mr. Chris Voss:

klout-chris-voss-stats

The initial stats are suprising to me. His “Klout score” (1-100) is very high, but his “true reach” is zero. True reach is measured by the number of followers following less than 2,000 people. I guess Klout feels you can’t follow more than that number and really read their tweets anyway, and most people with that many followers are promotion whores and maybe not as important. I guess that’s a subjective stat – but interesting nonetheless. The @mentions and retweet scores are a compound of the Klout scores of the people that mention Chris Voss and retweet him. Klout has other stats available on that page:

klout-chris-voss-stats2

These stats can help you understand how often someone engages with people, how often they are retweeted, how often they are mentioned, etc. I should point out, it says these stats for Chris Voss are from July 27, 2009 – updated ones would probably be much different. I think it’s very interesting to see that usually people that are “connectors” give lots of very useful information, but they don’t engage a lot with people on twitter. People that are very high “Personas” tweet CONSTANTLY, but usually very few of them get retweeted. Maybe it would be best to try and be somewhere between a Persona and a Connector. Check out the Klout stats for John Chow and Shoemoney – I think they’re very interesting (both are Personas).

Next let’s take a look at the Klout profile for Laughing Lizard:

klout-laughing-lizard

Laughing Lizard (Mark Ghosh) of weblogtoolscollection.com is “Connector”, a constant source of information. His opinion is respected, and his judgement is trusted.

You can also compare Twitter users as well:

klout-compare-twitterers

So far we’ve used Klout to investigate someones Twitter stats, but it has another use, and that’s it’s ability to find people to network with.

klout-topic-search

Just do a Klout “Topic Search” like I did above and find influencial Twitters to follow quickly and easily. You can also use a Twitter App like Tweep ML to find lists of Twitterers on topics related to your business or brand – and follow them all at once!

Conclusion

Just like everything else I’ve ever blogged about, you get out of Twitter what you put into it. You can easily use it to connect with potential customers and clients, build an audience, engage with people in your market, and more. Follow people that are worth following. Tweet information that’s worth tweeting. Use Twitter as a tool to improve your online marketing efforts, and treat all claims that “it’s the next cash cow” as if it was Carlton Sheets trying to sell you “twitter with no money down…”.

Also, I would like to thank Avinash Kaushik and his recent post of Social Media Analytics: Twitter for pointing out new tools for measuring true Twitter metrics.