The term firing on all cylinders is another way of saying things are working and flowing smoothly. For a company or business online this could mean a variety of different things. You could streamline your processes to optimize profits or you could find ways to boost sales and services. I’ll be focusing more for boosting sales and services.

Not long ago my compadre in arms talked about how Walmart’s Official Blog is completely failing at the moment. If Walmart has the horsepower to do just about anything it pleases how can it be that its blog is failing? It isn’t for lack of resources but lack of firing on all cylinders.

I am a fan of using a system called the Trade Ring for boosting sales and referrals from other similar (not same) businesses. You promote them and they in turn promote you helping all ships to rise together. Create a trade ring for your online contact points.

Everyone uses the Internet differently. I like to focus on blogs and Twitter as my main methods for connecting with others (slowly growing Facebook and LinkedIn). I am sure some people love to spend most of their time navigating Facebook for online news and interaction. The combinations are endless in the different ways you can mix and match online outlets.

Here are some ideas for different things you can do to bring these all together.

Website

Typically an online business will have a website. Most offline business do too. You don’t want to have a plain Jane website that is more like an online brochure than an information and connection portal. Instead, really step back and look for the different ways branching out online can help your business grow more profitable, connect you to your clients or connect clients closer to each other.

Consider adding a blog for starters and then start engaging in other ways to connect with your clients. Take a couple minutes to ask 10 of your clients if they read blogs, use Facebook or Twitter and so on. It should only take a minute to figure out where you could focus your attention for the quickest return on time and investment.

Blog

Starting a business blog is a great way to enable people talking about your brand, product or similar to be social on your site. A blog is a perfect way to build a brand online that doesn’t involve building a brand on someone else’s site or service. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are great but it’s a great idea to make your homebase somewhere you can call the shots. Blogs are excellent for this.

The idea around blogging is to create content by sharing ideas, thoughts or just about anything. A terrible idea for a blog is to use it as a permanent archive for all of your press releases. No one cares about press releases. If fact, I delete every press release that hits my inbox unsolicited or that is not over the top personalized. Use your blog as a tool to engage with others and help people when they have concerns.

Just maybe you’ll hear how someone did something totally different with your product that actually works. Now you can use that idea to help market that product to a completely different market. Who knew pantyhose could be used to buff your shoes.

Don’t forget to add your social media links to your blog/website with plugins like Sociable. Feed the circle from every angle.

Newsletter

Newsletters are becoming quite the norm now with just about every business. One of the largest problems with running a newsletter is not allowing people to take part in the conversation or to take action. If you are blasting out a newsletter with a weekly special you are running but don’t invite people to give current or past feedback about the product you are missing a great opportunity for them to interact with you. Don’t forget to include links to those lovely online profiles (Facebook/Twitter) or your blog. Make is a useful and desirable resource for your subscribers and they will continue to purchase and share with others.

Twitter

Not everyone gets Twitter and how it can help their business. There are a couple different ways Twitter can really assist in your online ventures. The first way anybody or human hgh business can use Twitter is to determine new trends or information in your industry or to find current consumers and interact. I said interact not shout at them. Shouting is the opposite of interaction and doesn’t encourage a response. Try to encourage a response.

Sites like search.twitter.com will let you search all day everyday tweets that people are sharing that revolve around your niche. Jump in there and see what’s going on. Take a long hard look at what people are saying about a niche and think of ways you can improve it. If you are an established brand, look at brand perception and see how you can start engaging the talkers to increase positive interactions.

This leads into helping those who use services like Twitter find and follow you. I typically start by interacting with someone a number of times and then follow/friend. Report is established and more than likely they will reciprocate. Sites like Tweepsearch.com help you find others who are in the same niche or you can use search.twitter.com to see who actually mentions your niche, then engage. One downside with search.twitter.com is only the ability to see current tweets and discussions not bios or past discussions.

Facebook

Due to the closer knit community that people of Facebook have, ideas and brands that one person likes might often be liked by others. So if someone follows your new startup brewery in Fargo and you become a fan, that will be seen by your friends. Chances are that your close friends would also think the idea of a new brewery in Fargo is intriguing, leading to more and more people becoming a fan. Because of this things can spread really quick over Facebook. The downside is, if you’re boring or shouting few will listen or interact.

The key to Facebook for a business is to get people to interact. The more who interact, the more times you’ll be seen by their friends and the more likely you’ll gain even more friends. See how this works? Pretty simple, eh?

Overnight you can have a brand’s fanpage explode from a couple hundred followers to thousands. But all of the friends/followers in the world won’t continue to participate or care about your brand if you don’t give them reason to get involved. Provide feedback loops for ideas and concerns. Allow the negative feedback to come and address it head-on and in front of everybody. Your fans will love you for the transparency you offer. They will feel/grow more connected and want to share their positive experiences with everyone.

But remember to bring those discussions and ideas back to your own turf. You never know what the gods of the social media industry will one day deem something as inappropriate for their community or best interest and shut it off.

Look for the right social media numbers or metrics, not just more followers or fans.

LinkedIn

Not quite as fancy or flashy as the other kinds of social media sites, LinkedIn definitely has its place. If you are looking for a group of people that could help move and shake things for you, look no further. You can make a connection with hundreds of the top people in just about any industry overnight. LinkedIn networking might have a little different purpose than shooting a few tweets back and forth with someone, but where else can you find this level of talent so easily?

Taking the time to build and nurture a relationship over LinkedIn is a constant work in progress but in the end can drastically change your strategic partnerships and connections helping to boost awareness for your brand. Think about the ways you can use powerful business connections to your advantage and how you can in turn help others. There is a huge opportunity to establish long lasting partnerships. I would compare this to those awesome roommates you had in college, you know, the ones that attended your wedding and your 50th birthday.

Conclusion

Find the ways to find and interaction on a high level with your customers. Meet them where they hang out and bring the focus on them. They will in turn find ways to give back in many different forms, whether it’s promotion, ideas, thoughts or sales. How have you used these sites to connect yourself with your clients?

Step by Step Guide on How to Make Money With Twitter

By the end of this post you will be able to make money via Twitter marketing.

First off, I am tried of people saying they can’t figure out how to make money by using Twitter. There are over 60 million people on the thing and you can’t figure out how to monetize Twitter off of that? Seriously?

I am not going to go over the wrongs or rights of the different Twitter marketing ideas presented here or how to play the Twitter game. To each their own.

I have been a part of these ideas at some point in order to bring you this list. I do not continue to use all of these Twitter marketing techniques. Some were purely for trial/error or experimentation.

Twitter is a communication tool

Twitter’s sole purpose is to help people communicate, period. If you are broadcasting on Twitter like an ad machine you’ll constantly need to add more and more Twitter followers to your list to sustain the click-thrus in order to make money. This is a waste of time and never ends.

Work on building relationships and stroking egos. A Twitter account with 200 loyal and dedicated followers will do more than an account with 100,000. I promise.

With Twitter’s open and easily accessible API there are a 1,000,001 programs enabling you to find people who would be interested in you, your product, site, business or whatever.

Gain Niche Traffic from Twitter

It used to be that you could create a Twitter account for the purpose of promoting your website and masses of people would flock to everything tweeted by everyone. This is not the case anymore.

People have begun to find a balance in the things they like to see and experience on Twitter and will drop over-promoting assholes in two seconds flat.

With that said, if you use Twitter and your account properly, you can find a goldmine of like-minded people for your niche site. As you establish relationships with these people they will in fact click-thru to your site.

Most of these click-thrus to your site will not click on ads, but they will click on affiliate links and reviews. If you are running a niche site about lawn and garden and promoting this site with Twitter, don’t expect to make any money from Adsense. If you are linking people to product review pages with some good bits of info and some Amazon affiliate links, you’ll do much better. If people click on the link in a Twitter stream, they are going there to read the content, not click on a Google ad.

Search.Twitter.com is a goldmine

The old fashioned way of searching for people on Twitter is still possible by running search queries through search.twitter.com and watch the stream. With the advent of Twitter programs, much of this can be done with many additional features allowing you to cover more ground at one time.

I use CoTweet a lot for my Twitter marketing and for managing my various Twitter accounts. Currently CoTweet is in beta and you’ll have to beg them to let you in. The best thing you can do with Twitter is find people who are like-minded for your website or community.

With websites like twellow.com/twellowhood and others you can find lists of people who have related interests. Tweepsearch.com will allow you to search people’s Twitter profiles/bios and so on. If you’re into lawn and gardening, search people’s Twitter bios for gardening and check them out. See if you have anything in common and begin a conversation.

Having your pulse on your Twitter community enables you to make decisions about topics, trending topics, possible products to review and much more. If you see some person talking about xyz widget very favorably and that widget has an affiliate program or is sold on amazon.com, imagine what you can write a review about…

Then go back to the thing you know best and rank that review in the serps for all the organic traffic for people to find and buy.

Review Products and Services

Information is key to determining what you can write about and make some money. If people who are not invested in a product or service are still interested and talking about it, that is a potentially good product to review.

Do your homework. Write a review of whatever and rank that for people to find. When you publish the article/review, it is natural to Tweet that out to your followers, and if you have the right followers, they will do the same to help promote you. This isn’t where the money is made, but it helps so don’t count it out.

The sure money is using the info gleamed from Twitter to determine what people want and have an appetite for.

Selling Ads on Twitter

There are dozens of ad companies that are jumping into the sponsored tweets game such as ad.ly, Sponsored Tweets and Twittad.  These companies are trying to help you make money from Twitter by tweeting ads to your followers. I prefer Sponsored Tweets and ad.ly as they seem the most legit and expanding their services super quickly in this new game. They also offer referral programs so as people below you make money, so do you without having to blast your own community with ads. It’s a wicked little circle.

Selling ads will make you money, but unless you have a high CTR from your followers your rates will drop fast. You might only make a few hundred before your good karma runs dry with your followers. So unless thousands of people can name you from Adam online this will be short lived. If you and your Twitter account are the go-to place online for a niche, you’d probably have better success selling ads.

Twitter Referral Programs

Most programs online made for making money have affiliate programs attached to them to help spread the word and love around. You can find tons of these programs made just for Twitter that help you find and follow masses of people closely related to your interests. Buy the program, use the program, write a review, rank, make money and rinse/repeat.

Just about every day a new program comes out, so opportunities are plentiful for making money with referral programs. Just take a look at the program/software and see if it looks useful and well put together, then give it a try. Not all are good, but you should be at least be able to break even from the crappy ones so you don’t really lose anything while trying.

I have made great residual income from this, and for the time invested it is a no brainer.

Buy Ads

If you’d like to find targeted Twitter users for your website or product you can do so using the same companies listed above for selling ads on Twitter. But another overlooked idea is buying ads for product reviews.

If there is interest in a product you see on Twitter, quickly write a review of that product. Then you can post some Google Adword search ads pointing to your review and scrap a lot of affiliate commissions way before you rank for the product. Then, as you rank you can determine whether or not to discontinue the ads.

A lot of the software being offered online has high payouts, even $60 per lead. If the ad costs $.10 per click to run because it is you and two other people doing it, then how many clicks can you afford per one sale? Following me here… There is money for the taking just need to keep your eyes open to the opportunities.

Make Money Managing Others’ Twitter accounts

This is where things change in approach big time for users, branding, interactions and so forth. Most companies that would want you to manage their Twitter account will want results that help their brand. This is a no nonsense, person to person interaction for the purpose of getting more people through the door.

This is not simply setting up a Twitter account and then proceeding to blast anyone following you with specials and ad-like tweets. You’ll quickly lose their interest and they will begin to ignore anything you do.

This becomes about building relationships and reinforcing why this particular brand/company is worth spending money at. I have had great success with this form of interaction including a steady 60 clicks per tweet out of 2,000 followers. This does not seem high, but for Twitter and the number of followers this is good given that maybe 300 people out of that 2,000 probably see one tweet at any given time.

With services like bit.ly you are able to easily track clicks, find the best time of day to tweet different specials or promotions and much more. Simply take any bit.ly url you see and add a + to the end of it to see the stats of that tweet. I love when my tweet and 2,000 followers gets twice the clicks of our trust agent Chris Borgan, LMAO.

Unless you know some businesses that need this service, it is a tough sell. In fact, if they cringe at the sound of social media or Twitter, just move on and save yourself the time. The best way to get in the door is to prove yourself online with Twitter and talk to local/regional business owners at any kind of public setting. Offer up a challenge to them and if they bite, you just might have a new client.

Know what your demographic is and hunt them down on Twitter. Use Twitter search, use Twellowhood for people in specific areas, Tweapsearch for interests, look at patrons’ websites and followers and approach them as well. Finding people is the easy part, taking time to interact with them is a different story.

The most important thing with this type of promotion is to be real, honest and interact with everyone, even if it has nothing to do with your product/service. We all love when people remember us and make us laugh. Use their name, create experiences people will remember and have a good time. This will work.

Making Money With Twitter Conclusion

Like everything in the world, there are a 1,000 ways to skin a cat (no offense, Beamer.. ) and the same holds true for Twitter. Find what you know best and use Twitter as a tool to assist you on that path. Not all people are into Internet Marketing, so they could manage a Twitter account vs. writing reviews and ranking webpages and visa versa.

Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow: If you don’t like seeing it on Twitter, don’t do it and you’ll be safe. If you love getting auto Direct Messages, then feel free to do that. If you don’t, then DON’T. If you wonder how people will react to what you do on Twitter, just look at how you reacted to the same thing a few days before (honestly).

If you treat your followers like gold and worth $100 each, you’ll have high CTR, referral purchases, interactions, people through the door and so on. If you treat them like a penny on the ground, you attract the same, which won’t help you a bit. Use your head and you’ll do great.

Twitter Bird Feeder Review

*Update 10-8-10: I am getting reports that BirdFeeder is not working right now (or since the last Twitter API update). I would research that the issue has been resolved before purchasing this product.

As you probably have noticed, I have been on quite the Twitter kick lately. Twitter is a powerful tool that allows marketers to take a lot of guesswork out of building a brand. As such, I have been exploring many different programs to help and automate the tedious parts of Twitter and give more time to networking and relationship building. You may recall I talked about Twitter Hummingbird and its features just a little while ago. Now I’m going to explain Twitter Bird Feeder.

First Impressions of Twitter Bird Feeder

The people at PaceSys Software stopped by and left a comment on my Twitter Hummingbird Review post saying they believed their program mopped the floor with Hummingbird. So naturally I had to check out Twitter Bird Feeder. I was disappointed they didn’t offer me a free full version of the software, but life goes on.

The trial version allows you to follow and unfollow 250 people before it stops working. I’ll tell you first off that’s all you need. I was hooked instantly and bought it right away. These $175 programs really start to add up. Here are some of the best features Twitter Bird Feeder has:

Manage Accounts

You can add, manage and update unlimited accounts with Bird Feeder Pro ($175), the version I have. Bird Feeder offers a cheaper version of the program for $59.95. This version limits you to 5 Twitter accounts.

manage

Twitter Bird Feeder Manage Window

Follow by Search

Unlike Hummingbird, Twitter Bird Feeder allows you to search and follow people with more precision. You can do the normal search and follow through Twitter’s search but can also select to follow by location.

Right away you’ll notice some neat features to the left on the program where you can select to skip people still rockin’ the default picture on their profile. Also, Bird Feeder has a built in time delay for following people, allowing you to have a more natural or delayed approach. Along with that, if you leave the program running, you can schedule Bird Feeder to automatically follow and unfollow people at a set time (handy while away from the office for a while).

Follow By Search

Follow By Search

Follow by People

I follow people the most with Bird Feeder by selecting to follow the friends or followers of people I know on Twitter. If someone is a friend of one of my friends, chances are he or she would follow me back. You can choose to follow a person’s friends by newest or oldest. Again, using a time delay or set time and only following those without default images.

Another option is to follow by people’s usernames, first names or last names. This is really handy in the event you want to follow 1,000 Heathers or every Josh on Twitter to rub it in that you are the only real Josh :). I actually use this feature a lot.

followbypeople

Unfollow People

Like Twitter Hummingbird, you can protect people you want to stay followed to even if they aren’t following you back. Then we see some improvements over Hummingbird with Bird Feeder such as unfollowing a specific number of people, time delay, scheduling and the ability to unfollow people after so many hours or days. For instance, @therealjosh is at a point where I can follow 1000′s more than are following back. This gives people more time to follow me back in return because I unfollow people every 3 days.

Having the ability to unfollow people by length of time and/or by newest/oldest is a huge improvement over Hummingbird. This feature alone would be enough to justify the switch from Hummingbird to Bird Feeder. Like most programs on Twitter, it remembers who you have followed and unfollowed as to not follow them again. But be very careful when switching from Hummingbird or another program to Bird Feeder. You might get your account suspended by re-following many of the same people again. Oops.

unfollow with bird feeder

Account Tab

This is pretty straight forward. You can view your account stats and update your tweets.

account

Conclusion

I would recommend buying Twitter Bird Feeder over Hummingbird in a heartbeat. It is a little cheaper and has many more features. Plus, if you use less than 5 Twitter accounts you’ll save a ton of money. Twitter Bird Feeder also has an affiliate program that offers up to 25% of sales. Although this is not as good as Hummingbird, you can feel better about the program you are offering to others. I will be switching my endorsement to Bird Feeder over Hummingbird. I’ll continue to promote both and rank for those terms, hopefully persuading people to pick Bird Feeder.

I hope you saved some money and time by reading my reviews of these programs and making a more informed decision on what you want to use to help automate Twitter. Tell me your thoughts about Bird Feeder if you have used it before.

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