The big news in internet marketing today is all about using social networking sites to build your online business, but an important point to remember when networking socially is that the operative word is “social”.

Of the social networking sites available and there are many of them, Twitter is one of the fastest growing communities for you to plug in to. With a maximum of 140 characters allowed per post, your only option is to be short and sweet about whatever you may have to say. Think of it as a mini blog post. It is a fantastic tool for anyone who has limited time available.

Now you are probably wondering how you go about growing a network on Twitter!

Let’s begin by not complicating how it all works. Remember that networking is a way of making contact with a whole group of people who want to exchange information with you. It is a social process which is why it is called social networking.

Think of it as a place where people gather to meet each other, the same as if you were at a pub or someone’s party. When socializing at one of these places, it wouldn’t occur to you to carry a sign around saying “visit my shop” instead you would share information, ask questions and get to know each other, maybe even exchange business cards.

Maybe during the course of conversation, you would discuss business and what you do, but your main focus would be on making a good impression and getting to know the other person. If you do make a good impression the chances are that when that person gets to know someone who could benefit from whatever product or service you offer, they will recommend you.

This is exactly how Twitter.com or any one of the other social networking sites operates. What you can do is use your profile page to include some information about yourself and what you do and also include a link back to your website or blog.

Do not use every tweet you make as a blatant advertisement for your internet business or affiliate program because if you do you will lose followers who will find you boring. Rather use your tweets to give useful tips or information or add some interesting insights about your speciality.  Be nice, be helpful and generous and then when you do post a tweet with a promotional link, nobody will object to it.

The best way to handle social networking is to not continually focus on you, it is better to focus on other people and don’t talk shop all the time. By using Twitter.com or any other social network site in this way, even without talking business all the time, you will still be branding yourself.

Following other people is the key to building your network on Twitter. So who do you follow?

1.  Follow people who follow others. At the top of every Twitter page is information about the number of followers and also the number of those being followed. Make sure that the people you choose to follow have a larger number of people that they are following, than those following them. People who have more followers than they are following are less likely to reciprocate when you follow them.

2.  A good rule of thumb is to always follow those who follow you, after all conversation is a two way street.

3.  Follow people who share information and are entertaining and link out to interesting websites, as this way you can learn a lot.

4. Find people through search boxes. You can search for people by entering keywords that relate to your field of interest. This will help you to build a great network of people who in all likelihood will be interested in what you are offering.  You can use a service such as Twitter Grader which will generate a list of people who have the same interests as you do.

You will probably find that many of the people who you  choose to follow will follow you back and in this way you will be able to network quickly. Also remember to just have fun. Life is much better when you enjoy what you are doing.

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