Done correctly, there is inherently nothing wrong with using a Twitter search to initiate conversation on Twitter. If you are looking to reach out to new people on Twitter, a search or a tool using a search on Twitter is a great way to find people. This can also go incredibly wrong if not used correctly.
Twitter searches can be done through a number of tools or directly through Twitter on their Search Page. Here are a few tips for what to do and what to avoid when using a Twitter search to initiate conversation.
Avoid Most Automation
As a rule, avoid letting a computer program initiate first contact for you. People on social networks are still people and can see through the automation.
Recently, I wrote about Instagram planning to release their photo application to Android mobile devices. I posted about the blog and discussed it with others on Twitter. Within a couple of hours, I received a message from a competitor telling me that I should download their product and provided a link to do so. A quick look showed me that they had been sending the message through an application they created to blast out that message to people using the terms “Instagram” and “Android.” Needless to say, this made me think less of the competitor.
Read More About it
Be able to join a conversation intelligently and read the conversation thread or find out more about the person you are looking to engage. A lack of knowledge can make you look bad. Here is an example of what can go wrong.
On FourSquare, I had checked into the town that I live in. I shared that on Twitter. Within an hour, I received a message that thanked me for visiting from local tourism authority. I couldn’t resist the opportunity for being welcomed to the town that I have lived in for more than 10 years.
Vary Your Approach and Message
Creating a new message for each person you approach online is vital to maintain your online reputation. Twitter will maintain records on up to 2000 of your previous tweets. If you keep repeating the same lines to people, it will be easy to see and you may get a label similar to being a spammer.
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