Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

Social Media Engagement Tips: Twitter Alone is Not a Strategy

By Dennis D. McDonald, Ph.D.

For additional titles in this series see Social Media Engagement Tips: Don’t Give Up on Email Just Yet and Social Media Engagement Tips: Don’t Drop the Ball .

I admit it — I use Twitter. If I’m at my desk I check in throughout the day (I don’t access it by phone but by browser). Right now I follow 690 and 1,432 follow me, so I’m certainly no “A-lister.”

I do find it useful (and admittedly, entertaining). I use it to post news about new blog posts of mine, to respond with wry or sarcastic comments to the tweets of others, and to post links to interesting stuff I notice as I scan the news throughout the day. Occasionally stuff I post gets “retweeted” so that makes me happy (though I have not attempted to calculate the ROI of re-tweeting). I’m regularly pleased by the links provided by folks whom I’m following that provide insights into topics I’m tracking. Following Twitter will never replace Search, I believe, but it’s a useful component of what in the technical publishing world we used to call “current awareness” only here the currency value is dependent on whom you follow.

I do get silent satisfaction from blocking spammers and get-rich-quick schemers as I have a fundamental dislike of adding ANOTHER advertising channel to those I already avoid; I hate shopping with a passion. Getting bombarded with ads I don’t care about reminds me too much of shopping.

I don’t channel my Twitter feed into Facebook or Friendfeed; there are too many overlaps there. I’ve decided that I really do want to keep my various online networking venues separately defined. In other words, I’m not as concerned about data and identity portability as I once was. I enjoy the different personalities of the various online networking opportunities. I’m willing to put up with the occasional duplication in registration effort.

So what’s my Twitter strategy? Basically, I use Twitter is a conscious extension of my online presence, not as an end in itself. I have a professional website, I already participate in a number of permanent and temporary online networks, plus I actively pursue face to face meetings as well.

The central focus of my online presence is my web site, which is a core element in promoting my services. I constantly advertise recent blog posts with targeted emails (“I think this might interest you …”) and I use Twitter to link back to my web site as well. In fact, probably the most important element of my Twitter profile is not my ghastly picture but the link to my professional website. I regularly track where incoming links are generated on my web site and my Twitter address is steadily creeping up in importance.

So, yes, I have a Twitter strategy, but it’s not a standalone strategy. I’ve thought through how I use it in connection with my other networking and promotional activities, and in the process  I’ve learned to think carefully about who might be following — or listening.

Copyright (c) 2009 by Dennis D. McDonald.

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