Twitter is all the rage, but you don’t need me to tell you that. So, yes, this is another Twitter article. But hang in there, it’s a good one!
Lately I’m hearing mixed reviews about the success companies are having with Twitter.
After my own successes with Twitter, I was a little surprised, so I decided to dig a little deeper to try to find out why some are having success and others aren’t.
Ready for what I found?
I found that the people that are really participating are getting the benefit and those that aren’t don’t see much benefit!
Wow! Imagine that. LOL OK, so there is no surprise there, but it’s still interesting. It tells me there are a lot of people out there that understand Twitter is important but they don’t know why. I suspect a lot of people think just being there is enough – just having a presence is all they need.
I’m seeing great Twitter background pages and great bios and a handful of interesting tweets and then it stops there.
Just being on Twitter isn’t enough. You have to participate. Join the conversation. Create conversation.
It’s like getting all dressed up and heading to a party and then sitting in the corner by yourself not talking to anyone all night.
While you may start the evening like that, just sitting back scoping things out – eventually, if you want to have a good time, you have to join the party.
So c’mon in and join the Twitter party. J
I know we are all busy, I know growing a business online has gotten harder. I often hear “you mean I have to do SEO, be on Facebook, write and syndicate articles, Blog regularly AND tweet???”
My response is no you don’t have to. If you aren’t looking to aggressively grow your business and use all the tools available to you, then you can pick and choose what you want to do. Any of those strategies will work for you on their own, but the key is when combined they work so well together and you get a much bigger impact. It’s building on top of your efforts rather than a single pronged approach.
I know it’s a lot of work. It’s also new. We’ve never marketed like this before. It’s confusing for beginners.
So, here is a quick overview of some of the tips that my clients have found most helpful.
Getting Started: Understand Your Objective
Twitter can serve many purposes and before you get started you want to consider all the ways you can use Twitter and determine which ones you want to use now.
You can use Twitter for:
Personal reasons: For dating, to find friends with similar interests, to keep tabs on the current “chatter’ about a topic that interests you. The possibilities are limitless.
Customer Service: You can create a company account and let people know that they can send questions or concerns to this account and you can respond via Twitter instead of by email. You can update customers on upcoming news or events (sales, problems, news, product recalls etc). If you have an account for Customer Service, you really should follow everyone back.
Public Relations: Develop relationships with media reps, reporters and bloggers. Media are big users of Twitter and it’s a great place to connect and build relationships.
Growing your business: Drive traffic to your website, build relationships, make special offers, monitor your brand (make sure you are searching Twitter for your name and your company name so you can be aware of what is being said about you – respond promptly and accordingly to what you find during your monitoring). You can promote events, special offers and new products, services or tools. You can use Twitter to establish yourself as a credible leader in your industry. (This Guide and the videos talk about using Twitter to grow your business, and does not cover using Twitter for Public Relations, Customer Service or Personal reasons – although most of what you learn here will apply to those.)
What Do You Tweet?
Tweets are designed to update people and share information.
There are different types of tweets, let’s quickly review them.
Retweet (RT): Retweeting (like forwarding) someone else’s tweet.
Thought/Observation/Opinion: Personal commentary tweet.
What you’re reading: People will often tweet what they are currently reading online and will share the link to the content.
What you’re watching: Sharing a video you have watched online (include link).
Events/Plans: Share information on upcoming events or plans.
Promotional: A sales message.
Content promotion: Promoting content that you have written (include a link to it).
Conversations: @Replies or DMs.
Quotes: People like to share motivational quotes.
A great tip: look at your own Tweet history – is the information valuable, does it build trust?
Would you want to follow yourself?
Golden Rule: If you use Twitter as a pure sales tool, you will lose followers quickly. As with all forms of social media, it is about creating a conversation and sharing news – it’s not all about you shoving your sales message down people’s throats.
- The true spirit of Twitter is that of give and take, sharing information and building relationships. If you never RT other people or promote anyone else, it quickly becomes obvious you are all about your own agenda. Make sure you take the time to help others out. It’s just good manners and the favor is often returned!
- Add your Twitter address to your email signature, profiles and business cards to let people know you’re out there.
- Don’t be afraid to open up and show some personality. Be respectful and be appropriate for your audience but don’t be stuffy and corporate. Let people get to know you and what you think and what you do.
- While growing your follower base is important to extend your reach, if your numbers are inflated because everyone is just autofollowing you – then you are not getting a true picture of your reach and your audience. I would prefer people look at what I tweet about and decide if they have any interest in what I say and then have them decide to follow me. I would rather have less followers that are more targeted and actually read my words. Pay attention to who responds to your tweets. You’ll often find a core group of active participants emerge. Focus on building relationships with them.
- Newsworthy (current hot news), tweets about Twitter, lists and links to good Blog posts all tend to get RTed easily.
- If you use Aweber, check the option that allows your message to be broadcast to your followers via Twitter.
Building Your Follower Base:
Let’s take a look at some of the common ways people build their followers.
1. Twellow.com to find people in your industry:
Create your Account: Pay close attention to the bio section. This will help other people find you when they are searching on twellow.
Choosing a Category: Select a category that relates to your industry and you’ll find a list of users. You can then click on people and start checking out who they follow and who follows them. This takes some time but you can find some great people if you put in the effort.
Think about who you want to find. If you sell beads, you want to look for people that mention beading, crafting, jewelry making etc.
If people mention these phrases in their bio, they are more likely very involved/interested or in the industry.
If you are looking for real estate agents, search for real estate agent, realtor etc.
TIP: Spend some time thinking about who you want to target and what words you would use and make a list. You can always add to it and follow new search paths on the fly, but if you develop a list of phrases, it can guide you initially when you are getting started with these searches.
2. Use Tweetscan.com to find out what people are talking about and identify new users:
You can search
tweets to see who is talking about your keyword phrases and then decide if they are a good fit to follow. Remember to consider your follow criteria when selecting people.
Caution: With a new twitter account only follow about 200 people or less per day. If you go overboard your account could be suspended. They want to see it happening at a natural rate.
3. Check out “leaders” or “influencers” in your industry and see who they are following and who is following them. Reach out to “leaders” or “influencers” and develop a relationship:
When you first get started you will spend a lot of time finding followers and observing people. You will start to identify key “influencers” – they will often have large followings, tweet often, get retweeted often and there may even be names you already know within your industry.
Retweeting them, tweeting comments and responses to their tweets and introducing yourself are all good ways to get on their radar screen. Once they start communicating with you, hopefully retweeting you and maybe even doing a little #FollowFriday recommendation, you will begin to gain followers. This is the best way to get followers because it happens naturally. You can also go through their list of followers and following and start following people there.
Your goal isn’t to try to piggyback off them. You still need to tweet interesting and informative messages on your own.
4. Participate in “#FollowFriday”
As you start participating in #FollowFriday, people will start to recommend you back and you will find Friday is a great love fest where people say really nice things and you build new followers.
Some tips for #FollowFriday:
- Be authentic.
- Don’t recommend someone that isn’t quality – if you recommend a bunch of spammers, people will remember it came from you and it’ll hurt your credibility.
- Give reasons why you recommend someone – it’s more compelling than just listing them.
5. RT often
The spirit of Twitter is based on reciprocity. If you RT often, you are likely to get RTed and will pick up followers.
Only RT quality info – people will tire of your tweets if you constantly RT everything under the sun – especially if there is no value in what you are RTing.
6. List your Twitter URL everywhere:
List it on bios on articles you syndicate, signature line of emails, social media profiles, business cards, etc. Put a widget on your Blog or site to pull in your latest Tweets and install a WordPress plugin to automatically pull your Blog posts into your Tweets.
There is still so much more to be said so stay tuned for more Blog posts in the future. My goal for today was to get people thinking about how they use Twitter and how they can get more out of it. Setting up your profile was a good first step. So now that you’ve gotten all dressed up – c’mon and join the party. I’ll be at the bar if you need me. Tweet me to say hello. Oh, if only you could buy me a Cosmo on Twitter! 🙂
Jennifer Horowitz is the Director of Marketing for EcomBuffet.com. Since 1998 Jennifer’s expertise in marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has helped clients increase revenue. For more information and a free book “Optimization Step By Step” visit EcomBuffet.com. Follow Jennifer and stay current on SEO, marketing, social media and more.