Twitter can be a confusing tool for new users; I’ve heard people say, “It’s annoying I can only Tweet 140 characters.” The more you use it the more your experience can potentially improve and great business benefits can be realized.
Start with your Bio:
You’re allowed up to 160 characters for your Twitter Bio, you should use an elevator pitch for your official business account, or if your using multiple Twitter accounts for your company, e.g. one for customer services another for corporate updates, you should state this on your bio.
Profiles should be more personalised for employees’ accounts and a “personality” should be painted/represented. For a business account, you can use a picture of your company logo in the profile picture, remember this image shows up for every tweet you send out and creates brand awareness or recognition on your followers’ timelines.
Company founders or employees may use accounts to tweet about business; again there should be company guidelines here to prevent damage. Employees may want to have a little more fun with their bios, introducing their job roles, but also a bit about themselves, “ humanising” their profiles! It’s also engaging for them to use a picture of themselves, a headshot, looking directly at the camera and smiling. Keep it authentic, human, real.
The header image can also be used for additional branding or to tell a story about the personality behind the profile.
Make sure to fill in the location field in your profile and update it as necessary. You can filter tweets by location from search.twitter.com, and there are Twitter search applications that focus specifically on local updates, such as Twuzzer and Nearby Tweets. This will help people in your location to find you.
Tell a story, what’s your calling?
Unless you’re a large company with a well-known brand and reputation and it’s already clear what you stand for, the best way to get relevant followers is to tweet information relevant to your product, industry and market, using hash tags for keywords relevant to your target market. When people search hashtags, they’re likely to find your tweet and follow your company or account.
As an employee or person tweeting, again you should stand for something, tweet messages that represent what you’re about, what you stand for again you can use hashtags, my main purpose on Twitter is to liaise with entrepreneurs, small business owners, authors, digital markets and B2b marketing professionals. My aims are to generate business partnerships, leads and to learn. My tweets are based around a theme. You can also be humorous, or use competitions to engage follower and potential followers.
As an author I also use Twitter to learn from authors, the marketing industry, to speak to journalists and to promote my book.
To increase followers and to take advantage of the wide reach of Twitter, your Tweets should not be protected, see more about that here. Sorry to state the obvious, but what you put out on the “Twittersphere” should not be confidential to your business or potentially damaging in the long term. You may want to develop company social media guidelines if you have several people Tweeting for your brand.
Search.twitter.com and other social media search engines, such as Social Mention, sort tweets by time, with the newest information up top. If you want people to find you by conversation topic, you’ll need to use relevant keywords in your tweets, and use them often. I’ve noticed people who tweet the most, with relevant terms tend to get large amount of followers.
Share pictures, share videos, try Vine. You should also add call to actions to these mediums so that you can capture data for marketing follow up e.g. an email address.
Your own hashtag:
You can create your own hashtag. I’ve seen this done well for company events. The organiser creates a hashtag and anyone attending that event can participate in the conversation, before, during or after. During the event, it’s quite engaging to display tweets relating to a hashtag on a screen, tools like visibletweets present tweets related to a hashtag in a creative way. Before the event you need to promote the hash tag on your entire event collateral.
My personal aim is not to get millions of followers; it’s to get relevant, quality followers who will benefit from following me and vice versa. Building your network is the most challenging and time‐consuming part of using Twitter.
Expanding your network doesn’t happen immediately; you need to commit and take the time to use Twitter effectively. I’ve heard of people buying followers, my question, why? Other than having a large number of followers to boast about, does it really benefit the user? Besides, this breaks Twitter’s rules.
By tweeting messages relevant to my above audience, I’m able to attract followers who help me to achieve my goals and vice versa, we’re likely to have common goals, and so the true benefit of social media; collaboration, is realised.
I also follow people who fall within my above target audience. There are dozens of directories of Twitter users online, including Twiends, WeFollow, and Twellow. Add yourself to as many directories as you can find under the proper categories, and you will begin to see some users following you from these sites.
If you’re a company, follow those who follow you, follow your customers, prospects, thought leaders, the competition, partners, industry bodies and media contacts.
As a person, follow business thought leaders, competition, industry peers, news outlets and accounts that will help you with your line of business and objectives.
Twitter will also recommend followers based on your follower list and who they follow, there’s a smart algorithm at work.
You can also import your email lists, this may include your partners, customers and prospects.
Twitter handle everywhere:
Be sure to promote your company Twitter follow widget on your website, blog, add your handle to your business card, PowerPoint slides, adverts, pens, notepads- you get the idea. That way you get followers who are genuinely interested in interacting with your company.
You can cleverly segment your followers or the accounts your following by using the “list” function on Twitter this help you to organise tweets by categories, e.g. media, authors, companies, customers. By segmenting audiences, you’re able to narrow down the content you want to follow most closely, in a simplified view. Lists can be used in a number of different ways. Create one for your co-workers, event attendees or your customers etc.
Twitter is like a networking event you would not walk into a networking event and start screaming out sales promotions. What you would do is engage with people and update them with useful/valuable information or Tweets. As well as promoting my products, events or promotions, I like to share valuable free information with my followers. One of the biggest mistakes of social is to make it all about you. The focus should be on being useful, inspiring or entertaining with occasional tweets that promote your own material or talk about personal things. Saying that, Dell and other companies do have accounts purely for promotions, however, they make that known and people follow specifically to benefit from sales promotions.
Using replies or mentions are great ways to interact with followers, be it customers, potential partners or suppliers. To truly engage with Twitter you should be doing quite a bit of this as opposed to solely tweeting, again, this is how you can really leverage the power of this networking tool to achieve your aims. Perhaps suggest a follow Friday #FF, recommend someone you follow to your followers.
Twitter enables the opportunity to speak to anyone, anywhere in the world, providing they have a Twitter account – it’s a powerful networking tool! You can also send direct messages, although sometimes people do not respond, as it’s common for users to set up automated “thanks for following” messages and so this function is sometimes perceived as spammy, what a shame. Nevertheless try your luck!
When you see a tweet relevant to your business e.g. breaking news or relevant to you as a person, you can favorite it or retweet it, this is also a way to engage with others, to let them know you exist and that they can follow you! They will look at your recent tweets (another good reason to keep tweets public and relevant) your bio and make the decision whether or not to follow.
You can also request people to retweet your tweets, by simply adding, “please retweet” to your tweet this may work well, for example, if your promoting a large industry event or breaking news.
Listening, learning, searching:
You should see Twitter as an opportunity to learn. You can learn about what people are saying about your company, the industry or topics related to you as a professional. You can do this quite simply by using the Twitter search function to find information or following tweets on your timeline.
Traffic, Leads, business, follow up, engagement:
You can link to the below from your Twitter profile:
- Your blog
- Company website
- LinkedIn Profile
- Product landing page
- Twitter landing page
This is your opportunity to do more with Twitter, to go beyond the 140-character “limitation”, to capture contact information and to develop relationships for sales or for business development/networking purposes. Don’t waste this opportunity.
You can also post links in your Tweets, which is common, taking the follower to more information, whether that’s a product update, news, a blog or anything from the above list. Twitter will automatically shorten a URL, but there are tools like bitly.com, that offer URL shortening, redirection services with real-time link tracking.
Twitter’s user interface isn’t the easiest to use to manage your social interactions. There are many popular web aps to help you to manage your twitter account, Hootsuite helps to create various streams from Twitter all in one place i.e. mentions, tweets, tweets from lists, and scheduled tweets. Yes, you can schedule tweets. If your managing multiple social media accounts, Hootsuite can be great for social media management.
So off you go, tweet like a pro! What would you add?