Marketing Podcast I’ve been on Twitter since 2008, off and on. Yes, I’ve blown hot and cold on it over the years…bingeing occasionally and then letting the account go dormant for a few months.Over this time, the pattern has become clear.Twitter is like my vegetable garden. When it is fed, watered and nurtured it grows, but if left unattended for any time, it withers and dies. Since I am now on a full-on nurturing binge, I want to share with you why this garden is flowering and producing a bumper crop of traffic.Before you start or re-start your Twitter journey you need to know what your purpose is. What are your goals? Who do you want to reach? What content do you want to share?Your goal should not be to get a booking from a tweet – that is not how it works and self-promotion is a big ‘no’. It should be about engaging with people, being seen as an influential person in your location, networking with peers, the media and other influencers and in general being part of the conversation.Look at twitter as networking at a conference rather than you being the keynote speaker on stage delivering a sales pitch. Use twitter to develop a 2-way conversation.Tweet: Learn how to use #Twitter for #VacationRental #Marketing Let @Cottageguru know what u think http://ctt.ec/ft0f7+ pic.twitter.com/HOwHUdCky8 Benefits of being a Twitter ExpertBeing committed to the Twitter platform and creating a powerful strategy has a lot of benefits – these are just a fewFree marketingSharing your own content and bringing traffic to your site or listingNetworking with other owners/agencies and learning more about the industryConnecting with, and getting noticed by the media. The days of the press release are numbered. The bulk of media people hang out on Twitter looking for their next story – if you are there you stand a much greater chance of being seen. First things first…Your first task is to create a great profile – no Twitter egg for an expert!You need a great picture – preferably of you and not a logo or pic of your property since most people want to engage with people and not brands.Spend time on the bio – this can be SEO-rich but more importantly should say who you are and why you are worth following. Include a couple of personal facts and show what you can do to help your followers.Don’t forget to include your URL – this can be to any other platform or even your listing, but preferably to a site where your followers can find more content. You will want them to explore your site when they get there, not just click away, so it should be attractive to a range of people.Here is mine: Following and followersSeek quality rather than quantity so start out by making a list of the types of people you want to follow. This could include general and travel media and bloggers, other VR owners and agencies, industry experts, local tourism providers, social media people etc. Lists are a major part of making Twitter work so make sure you start out by creating unique lists and assigning the people you follow to them. EngagementDo not self-promote – if there is one thing I want you to get out of this post and podcast, it’s that self-promotion does not work on Twitter. It is about engagement, sharing and being interested in others. Of course, you can continuously post a link to your listing or website – there is nothing to stop you doing that – but the results will speak for themselves. Jeff Bullas describes the Two Keys to Being Influential on Twitter here. Consider them the 2 Commandments of Twitter engagement. 10 Steps to being a Twitter expertLink to your own relevant blog postsTweet great content your followers will find valuable – links to websites that will help plan their vacationRetweet others such as tourism providers, restaurants and local attractionsEngage with followers – comment on their posts, and create relationshipsTweet regularly and consistentlyAvoid self-promotion – allow organic attraction to happenUse images – these get more traction and engagementRepeat your messages over and over (with caveats) …you need some great content to do this. Twitter has a half life of about 30 seconds so your carefully crafted post will disappearPlace a Click to tweet or retweet button on your blog so visitors find it easy to share your contentPin a tweet to the top of your profile – this could be a tweet about your best blog post – change it up with seasonal tweets. For example: write a post about how to cater for Thanksgiving in a vacation rental then pin it a couple of weeks beforehand. If you are serious about making Twitter work for you and would like me to mentor you to help increase your following, email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org . I am offering two free Twitter mentorships during November and December where I will work with you to transform your Twitter account into a traffic generator.