Of all the social media tools I use, Twitter is the one that consistently turns up trumps for me.
It helps me find experts, it connects me to experts, it lets me speak to experts who I have never met. I can target markets precisely, I can target companies precisely, I can target individuals precisely. It’s instant, it’s current, it’s responsive.
Unlike other social media tools, with Twitter:
1. Every Tweet arrives at every follower’s feed (no changing algorithms to annoy you)
2. You can follow anyone: this is helpful when you are targetting potential customers
4. It allows you to organise people into ‘lists’ to help you organise and structure your conversations
5. A tweet can contain a link, photos or videos for extra engagement
6. It’s easy to uncover the experts and follow the right people
Nothing expresses your brand on Twitter more than your account name. This name appears next to your tweets and is the name that people associate you with on Twitter. Use your own name or your business name and be sure to make use of the two images you can upload. One is your profile photo which will appear next to all of your tweets and the other is a background photo where you can upload your company logo or other relevant images.
2. Complete your profile
I often find in training sessions that people have not completed their Twitter profiles or have had a half-hearted attempt at it. This is the most important element to get right from the start. This is your brand, your image, the window to your content. Make it engaging, interesting, succinct and pertinent. The profile instantly tells someone if they want to follow you.
3. Start following people
Who or what do you want to find out about? It could be competitors, businesses you admire, individuals you admire, experts in your field, local businesses. Decide how people can contribute to your knowledge about industries, markets, business sectors or whatever you need to know about and then follow them. If you plan in advance about why you want to follow certain people you will have a much better Twitter experience. Those good people will then follow you back and you are on your way to a productive and informative Twitter life.
4. Start tweeting
Of course, you have to have something to say. Don’t use Twitter as a platform to sell your wares. Use Twitter as a chance to share your own expertise and that of people you admire. It might take a while to find your voice on Twitter. Maybe start by commenting on relevant topics or events you come across, re-tweet other people’s tweets that you find valuable or offer to help someone if they have asked a question. Practice and see what response you get. Keep things simple.
5. Provide content
As well as joining in conversations and re-tweeting, the most valuable thing you can do on Twitter is provide great content. If you write a blog, make sure you tweet about it, not just to promote it, but to let people know what you are writing about. As well as your own content, whether it is a blog, white paper, presentation, podcast etc, share links to other content you have come across that you think will be valuable to your current followers and potential new followers. Always think about what your audience wants and needs and provide the right content to serve them.
6. Drive traffic to your website
The aim of using social media is to drive traffic to your website where people can discover your business and the services you provide. Create a tweet around a link to some great content on your website. If it is well written and interesting, people will stay and look around for more. If you have a call to action on your landing page or a contact form to complete so that people can stay in touch for future content, so much the better.
7. Share photos
Visual media is becoming more important for engagement and tweets with pictures or photos receive far more re-tweets than those without. It also makes your tweets more interesting and attention-grabbing.
8. Share videos
As well as images, consider sharing videos on Twitter. It could be a video from your YouTube channel or a Vine video, which although only 6 seconds long, can convey a simple message very clearly. It adds a bit of action to your timeline and attracts attention.
9. Go mobile
Being able to access Twitter on-the-go is essential so that you don’t miss anything. Get the Twitter App to be able to perform nearly every Twitter activity on your phone that you can do on Twitter.com. Twitter is an immediate and responsive tool so you need to be able to react to your followers quickly.
10. Organise followers into lists
Lists on Twitter are incredibly useful. It’s hard to keep up with what people are saying all the time, especially if they are prolific tweeters. Make separate lists of the people you want to track such as specialists on a current topic, competitors, suppliers, particular types of businesses, etc. Once you have the lists set up, you can see tweets from the list members as a separate timeline on Twitter. It helps you to distinguish these people from the Twitter crowd and keep up with what they are saying.
11. Expand your audience with hashtags
Hashtags help to group tweets together about a particular topic or theme. They are often used for conferences or events so that attendees can track conversations being held at the event. Finding and looking at hashtag topics can lead you to new people to follow who might be experts in that area. You can also create a hashtag for your own business to help people find your company.
12. Pinpoint local customers
Twitter can connect you with people across the globe but it can also find you local businesses to talk to. Ensure that you add your location to Twitter and using advanced search, you can find people who are tweeting locally. You can then follow the ones of interest and start interacting with your local community.
Twitter can bring valuable engagement for your business. It provides the ability to give and receive guidance on relevant topics and themes, brings you into conversations with experts and builds your reputation globally as well as with your local community.