06/08/2012 01:00 pm ET

Twitter And The Power of Building Brands And Relationships

I came to Twitter in the fall of 2008 after finishing my first book, “Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months.” When I tried to set up a Twitter account, I discovered that my name was taken. My book publicist, Cathy Larkin, suggested that I develop a name that would instantly convey what I stood for. We kicked around a few ideas and then she suggested @SmallBizLady, which I loved. And the name just stuck.

My Twitter activities have helped me make money online and offline, develop lifelong friendships and find some of the best staff members anywhere. It’s all about understanding the Twitter rules of the road. You must listen first, add value to the conversation, and then build your community — all before you can create commerce. As a matter of fact, if you do the first three really well, you will not need to sell at all. Your target customer will beat a path to purchase your product, book, services, workshops or whatever you sell. It’s all about engaging in conversations that add value for your target customers or cause.

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