This is no “12 ways to use twitter or you’re a moron” post, neither is it a post on “how to get a crapload of followers by making a bot”. Here I want to show you how it is possible to provide a useful service on twitter with a bot and use it for your own marketing means.
This is not a technical post but I will say what I use. I have a copy of the Python Twitter API and then I plug it into a MySQL database. The rest should be easy 😉
Step 1: Provide a service Before you even start writing code; think of something that people will want to use. In my case it was to read RSS feeds from various sites such as this one then tweet new post titles along with links to them. Essentially it’s an RSS aggregator that uses twitter. I then created several bots to cover more categories than just SEO. I told some people about the bots and got them using #hashtags and soon people were following them.
Step 2: Engage
It wasn’t long before three things were happening. Firstly people would message the bots directly, I setup a Tweetbeep account to send me emails when people messaged the bots, I could then reply to these folks. The second thing that happened was people started to RT the bots, they were finding it so useful that they wanted to tell their friends what they’d found.
The final thing that happened was that people complained. If you search for #.net on twitter you’ll see one of my bots has muscled out everybody else simply because they tweet so very often.
People have complained about this and I had to respond to them and try to placate them.
Step 3: Profit
At the time of writing the bots have been running for approximately a month and a half, they have accumulated between themselves just over 800 followers. I’ve been going for nearly a year and I have 500 followers. Now lets suppose that I want to push an article on a client’s blog, I have a fair few people that will see the message (especially if I send it several times) and furthermore it’s targeted only to those that are interested in the subject.
This is just how I’ve done it, there are no doubt many many other ways that you can provide a service, engage and then profit in some form.
The important thing to remember is, you should not have your eyes on simply bringing a profit from it, provide something for the community and you will profit from that in some way.