Using Twitter is a bit like navigating wild rapids. The ebb and flow is constant. And once you have decided to ride the rapid, you need to make sure you are ready to keep up with the flow. Before you do that, you need to be mindful of some good practices so that you can keep up with the momentum. Otherwise, you will be clinging to the first "I haven't got time", "I don't understand this" rock and your account will be just one of thousands of inactive twitter accounts. A tweet has a short shelf life. Remember your tweets will be one of 500 million posted every day, so what was tweeted on Monday is very likely to be very dated by Friday. Hot topics however, can enjoy an extended shelf life by virtue of the fact that news rooms and twitter users will keep it live like a hot potato. As part of this everyday rapid that is Twitter people will seek to grab your attention with eyecatching one liners to get you to click on a link or some powerful imagery that will stop you in your twitter tracks. YOU need to get good at this too. The idea is that you learn to write stimulating and thought provoking statements in 140 characters or less so that your content has some chance of being read, favourited or retweeted. The ultimate prize is of riding the Twitter rapid is to drive traffic back to YOUR site. So make sure your site is ready for visitors!
- If your Twitter account has been created for your business, then make sure your bio reflects this and include your web address and any key #hashtags that relate to your industry.
- What is the #hashtag? Put simply if you typed in #socialmedia in the search bar - every tweet, picture, person using that in their tweets will appear in real time. It helps cut through millions of tweets by simply filtering out tweets with that specific hashtag. Try using your industry hashtag and see what comes up.
- Follow people. Start by looking at key people you like in your industry - who is following them, who are they following.
- Look at your industry by #hashtag. For example I would use #socialmedia
- Look at people you know - who are they following, who follows them. Are you part of private groups on Facebook or other forums.
- Plan what you are going to tweet. Like all things social media - it mustn't be random. If you have published a blog you want to share the link via Twitter. Don't forget to add industry hashtag so that others interested in reading content about that topic will see yours.
- Twitter allows for posting of visuals. So when you are using imagery be mindful of using something like canva.com which has specific Twitter template sizes. The great thing is that on the image you can add specific wording to complement your tweet.
- Tweet regularly. Once a day is not going to cut it. At least half a dozen times a day - ideally spaced throughout the day. The more you follow the busier your timeline feed is going to be. Remember there are over 6000 tweets posted every second. One tweet a day really is not going to shake the TwitteRichter scale.
- Try not to tweet about me me me. This is where you need to apply a bit of commitment. What blogs do you read? What news articles do you read? Where have you seen interesting content? The likelihood is that this data has sharable buttons on them which means you can tweet them into your twitter feed. What does your business do? How can you translate this into 140 characters and link back to your website/blog? Good time to make sure your site and blogs have sharable icons too, so that readers can share your content.
So in the course of the working week aim to:
- Follow 5 new people a day.
- Say thank you to new followers every day. Go one step further, thank them and share one thing that you like: could be their twitter background picture, or if you have visited their site what did you like?
- Look through your twitter feed every day - what 5 tweets have caught your eye? Reply to that tweeter - say what you thought about that tweet or post. Even if it's - great article or really enjoyed that. I love randomly chatting to people this way and I have built up rapport with others purely by putting myself out there to connect with them first.
- Retweet 2 to 3 useful and relevant tweets, ideally related to your industry or if you feel passionate about a particular topic. I am prolific about my niche topic but I also love elephants so I actively promote a favourite tweeter of mine on Twitter.
- Create thought provoking tweets to drive traffic back to your site.
- Create imagery that complements your line of business. As mentioned, canva.com is a wonderful starting point. Either use theirs: there are plenty of free images or you can purchase from within their site. If you have your own images, so much the better. And now is a good time to start a collection of photos of your own.
- If you are blogging share your blog link to Twitter. Be creative at how you use 140 characters to share your link.
- Repeat above steps over the next 4 weeks.
There's a lot that you can do with Twitter, but I am guessing that this might be quite enough for now. I will leave you with one thought because once you get into these good practices you will need to start using a scheduling facility. Hootsuite.com
Do let me know you get on!
You might also want to read : Twitter Lists
You might also want to read: How Small businesses can make better use of Twitter