Why and How to Build your Twitter List

Whyshould Allied Health Professionals bother with a twitter account? I’ll tell you why, its because its the easiest, cheapest and most real time connection to your clients, your peers and your community and chat with a stranger.

Lets talk about easy- 5 minutes is the estimated time it should take to set up an account. Just google Twitter and follow the prompts to sign in. Create a username that is in keeping with your overall branding strategy. If your practice is called “Lifecare Holland Park” then a suitable twitter username would be @lifecarehollandpark. Keep it simple people. Upload a photo to be your Avatar. For a business I suggest a staff photo or a shot of the physical building which your clients will recognise. You can customise your background to match your logo colours and follow the prompts to link any facebook accounts or other social media platforms. That would have taken all of about 15 minutes tops.
Lets talk cost. ZERO Dollars. Yes, zero dollars to have an audience follow you. Unbeatable value and will slot happily into most clinics’ marketing budgets.
Final reason why you should create a business twitter account is because it is in REAL TIME. An example of real time benefit for allied health clinics is when a patient cancels an hour before their appointment. Twitter allows you to immediately tweet your followers with the available time slot and a possible incentive discount. Within minutes you will most likely have filled the time slot and your return on investment (which was zero dollars) will be significantly positive. This one example has the potential to save your business several hundreds of dollars a week, or thousands a year. In addition you are providing another level of customer service to clients who find pre-booking appointments a little difficult.
Now that we have discussed the Why… lets talk about the How? There are some basic rules. Use the proper #hashtag and throw in some good content and you will be building a following within no time. Notice I said build a following. You have got to engage and build a relationship with people to gain this following but when you do its going to monetize itself. Often when content is mentioned, people shut down. The thought of researching, writing and presenting content screams “time consuming”. This certainly doesn’t have to be the case. A tip I use is to visit http://popurls.com/ and enter in the search box the keyword relevent to your field of service. Hopefully, on a good day you will be given a list of relevent articles with links to quality content your audience may appreciate. You can hit a ‘tweet’ or ”facebook” button and share this content automatically. A second tip, visit http://www.twellow.com/ which is the yellow pages of Twitter. You will find it easy to search for people with shared interests in various regions of the world rather easily. Follow those people who seem to have the same interests as you and you will be well on your way.

Your twitter buddies will enjoy reading what you write if they like what you have to tweet! Those tweets have to be more than links to your latest blog posts, more than quotes and not just about what’s great about you or what you are trying to sell. Engage. Hi @twitterfriend what’s up? Hiya (Name) @twitterfriend how’s it going? Yes, talk to people and listen to what they say. Search a topic and location in search.twitter.com in the advanced setting and name your topic then listen. Ah, there’s a good one. They are talking about my favorite new exercise for abdominals. I’m joining in that conversation. Presto, you have new friends. You could also click on the ‘trends page’ and follow a hot topic of conversation that interests you. As I write this blog… Michael Clarke seems to be ranking right up there in ‘trending people’ …? something about being highest cricket runs scorer for Australia.

Follow people that are likely to follow you back. If someone is following 500 accounts and has 20k followers, they aren’t likely to engage with you. People who follow close to the same amount of accounts as they follow are out there to engage and see what you have to say.

The cool thing about Twitter is # tags. If you tag it in the appropriate category anyone that searches that topic can find it. You get to be in the awesome twitter search engine under the topic YOU pick. That takes some time in Google.

My Golden Rules of Twitter…

Engage with people and don’t just try and sell them something

Follow people with shared interests (otherwise it is just too boring to wade through garbage)

Use the right hash tags. (#fb – sends it to a linked facebook account, #in – sends it to a linked in acccount)

If you use twitter the right way it’s a goldmine of traffic that can send your IDEAL client walking straight through your door. If you have a website or blog, then it can eventually be used to get that blog traffic we all crave.

How do you use Twitter for business ? Have you met your ideal client on twitter? Share your experiences in the comment section below. PLEASE.