Chances are you’re screwing up on Twitter. Don’t take it personally. I did for a long time, too. Then about a year ago, I learned two things that changed my Twitter account and activity for life.

  • Understand how to use Twitter to create real conversations with people.
  • Make sure you're getting the most out of Twitter by understanding the @ symbol and how it affects your potential reach.

Chances are you’re screwing up on Twitter. Don’t take it personally. I did for a long time, too. Then about a year ago, I learned two things that changed my Twitter account and activity for life.

Instead of hoping people followed me and just tweeting marketing and business tips to my 55 followers, I took it upon myself to learn the best practices and implement them.

1. Use Twitter search

One of the issues on Twitter is that people follow big brands and people who were famous long before Twitter and try to copy their content strategies.

You are not Nike or Beyoncé. This doesn’t mean you’re doomed for failure, it just means you have to take a different path to Twitter success — that path starts with Twitter search.

Twitter search gives you the ability to find people who are talking about things that are particular to real estate. In the picture below, I wanted to see who was talking about moving to Phoenix, and I wanted to know in real time. So I punched the phrase “moving to Phoenix” into the search bar at the top right of Twitter, and voila!

twitter conversations

Now, before you head off to Twitter to start messaging these people, it’s absolutely essential that you read the next section.

If you are planning on heading to Twitter to tweet at people saying things like, “Hey @timmy, if you ever need a trusted real estate agent in Phoenix, contact me at 555-555-5555,” then I sincerely regret putting out this article.

Because not only have you not understood the point of Twitter search, but you’ve also subsequently annoyed a bunch of people. Succeeding on Twitter search means creating real conversations with people.

So how do you do it:

  1. Never attempt to sell anything but your personality. Just engage with people by saying, “Hi @timmy, I love it here in Phoenix; it’s such a great town with so much to do! Not to mention great weather :).” If you send a tweet like this to someone they will check out your profile and see that you’re an agent.
  2. Follow everyone who gives you a thoughtful response. Seriously. This one is so easy, and yet most people don’t do it. Build your network on Twitter, one engaged person at a time.

2. Understand the @ symbol

The @ symbol is either your greatest tool or your greatest weakness, depending on how it’s used.

Let me explain.

If you tweet at someone and your tweet begins with an @ symbol, only those people who follow you and the person you are mentioning see the tweet.

Here’s an example:

twitter wrong

Everything seems right with the tweet above right? Wrong. I have 1,450 followers, let’s say 50-60 of those followers also follow Inman. So in the tweet above, I’ve essentially cut my potential audience by 96 percent on that tweet.

Instead, my tweets should be formatted something like:

twitter right

If you notice, in the tweet above I placed a period in front of @InmanNews. This little trick now makes sure all of my followers have the chance to see this tweet.

Try it out, and send me a tweet @cavejordans — just don’t forget the period beforehand!

Jordan Scheltgen is the founder of Cave Social. You can follow him on Twitter @cavejordans or connect with him on Facebook

Email Jordan Scheltgen.

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