Social media has evolved a lot over the past decade. Some of the changes users enjoy, while others grimace at the thought of learning a new way to do our status updating, chatting or tweeting. Twitter has rolled out a few new things recently that can make the experience a bit more enjoyable for users.
The first thing to do before even signing up for an account is to know why you’re using Twitter. Will you be socializing with friends and family or marketing yourself or your brand? If you plan to use your Twitter account for business, you need to know what you are getting into and if you have the time to dedicate to Twitter.
Here are some questions to answer before creating your Twitter for Business account.
- Are there any regulations in my workplace or sector?
- How much time do I have to dedicate to keeping up with Twitter?
- What kind of content are others in my industry sharing?
- What kind of original content can I handle producing?
- What resources do I have to help create content?
- Who are some people I can follow that produce worthy content?
- What is my goal for Twitter?
- Do I have a reliable website or tool to help track conversions?
- What hashtags are effective and what is a reliable way to find what’s trending?
- Can I be active and engaging with my account?
If you can answer these questions with some detail, you are in good shape. It’s a terrible idea to start your account without a mission in mind. Keep flexibility in mind as social media changes daily.
The biggest factor to consider with Twitter (and all social media) is time. Social media may be free but time is money and being active takes a significant amount of time. Twitter is the most fast-paced social network with an average post lifespan of an hour. Read Write published a great article about the Twitter Lifespan, The Short Lifespan of a Tweet. You need to dedicate time to creating 8-10 posts minimum per day.
Remember that being “on” Twitter is much different than being “active” on Twitter. If you want to grow on Twitter and build a reputation, you have to do more than simply tweet. You have to active in conversations, stay up to date on relevant topics and hashtags, recognize others by Retweeting, and answering all mentions and messages.
Starting Your Twitter Account
Coming up with a creative and memorable handle (@username) is absolutely essential. Your handle represents you and your brand. Think of your handle as your tagline. Keep it short, yet descriptive and always appropriate. If you’re marketing your business or brand, try to get a name as close to it as possible.
User tip: your handle needs to be easy to remember so try and avoid symbols and limit your use of numbers.
Just as important as your name is the image you use as a profile picture. Because the space is small, it’s a good idea to use a close-up head or a logo for your company. The header photo is important too. Remember to not use images that some may find offensive if you’re looking to be taken serious and that includes material that may be copyrighted by someone else.
User tip: people respond better when they feel as though your are an actual human so sharing pictures is necessary even if you go the more private route with your profile picture.
Include the URL to your website in your bio. A landing page is ideal for use in posts and your profile. Leading to your website home page is good but specifically directing traffic is always better. If you are promoting your services through content consider using your services page. If you are promoting your content use your blog page.
User tip: Remember more and more people are using mobile devices to surf the web and social media. Make sure your site is prepared for that kind of traffic.
Posting with Twitter
This may be a no-brainer, but learn how to use Twitter. Twitter.com has plenty of information to help make the experience an enjoyable one. While you’re on the site, learn the terminology. Know what things like retweet (RT), trending topics (TT) and favorites are and use the verbiage properly.
User Tip: do you research on your industry and find influencers to follow. Finding the thought leaders in your industry will allow you to set a good benchmark.
#, formerly known as “Pound Sign.” This # is not tic tac toe board or pound sign. It’s a hashtag. Hashtags are the single most important factor to gaining traction with your content. Hashtags are the content curation tool to getting a word or phrase trending on Twitter and in front of millions of eyes. Use hashtags to find others with common interest and interact with them. It’s a great tool for finding potential clients or followers. Don’t overuse the hashtag. A good rule of thumb is one to three per tweet. Check out our blog, The Power of the Hashtag.
User Tip: Hashtags don’t wok well with punctuation or numbers. Don’t create the crime of the bad hashtag.
Tweets are meant to be short at no more than 140 characters. Many times it’s a good idea to keep your content even shorter. Don’t solely focus on promoting your brand. Provide your followers with funny quips, news headlines or other nuggets of your daily life. We all like a little variety. 90% of what we remember comes from visuals so create info graphics, meme’s, gifs and personalize your images.
User Tip: Tools like pic monkey, word swag and canva are awesome tools that allow you to personalize and create visual aspects for social sharing.
Respond to your followers. Even if you don’t follow them back, when you get a notification that someone has responded to something you’ve posted, retweet it and give that follower a shout out. It shows you’re human and may even help get more followers for you. Social media was created for social interaction so your interaction is essential.
User Tip: Set guidelines for responding and dedicated time to spend on Twitter. Don’t substitute automated systems and expect to appear human. Impersonal messages and irrelevant topics will cost you followers.
Being interactive requires more than posting. This is where automated marketing gets tricky. Obviously, automation is necessary unless you have the budget to pay someone just to perform Twitter marketing but please use it with caution. Hiring an agency is a great plan if you need help managing your social media accounts but don’t have the need or funds to hire a full time, experienced employee. If you are going to hire an agency there are some important questions to seek answers to before signing over your reputation.
Tips for Hiring an Agency
- Check out the agency twitter account. Check followers, interaction, consistency and growth.
- Ask what kind of research the agency will do to help boost interaction and growth on your company’s account.
- Set clear expectations about content creation and strategy setting.
- Look at other accounts managed by the agency. Look for consistency. Do the accounts seem human and personable? Would you share the content produced? Is the same content being published on other channels?
- Make certain you know who will be posting. If the agency outsources social media or content creation be sure you do equal research on who is actually posting on your behalf.
User Tip: It’s important remember than every single post is a representation of your brand so experience, knowledge and originality counts. As with all social media, Twitter is a separate marketing channel in itself so creating a mass post or the same content as Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram isn’t going to cut it.
Be sure you are actually engaging your audience. Be relevant, be interesting, show personality, be respectful and original. Come up with catchy, but not complicated words to hashtag and create a little buzz. You can also use the Group feature to pay attention to people, industry or topics that interest you.
User Tip: set aside time each week to do a little research to create relevant and worthy posts. Writing your own blog is kind of a big deal. Sharing content is great but you need to provide some meaty, original work to prove your worth and establish yourself as a leader.
Timing is everything with social media. Business to consumer brands report 17% more engagement on weekends while business to business engagements are better during the week. People tend to check their feeds throughout the day and having fresh, eye-grabbing content listed at those times is key to getting noticed.
User Tip: Monitor your social media stats, posts and audience to find ideal posting times. This is a trial and error process, a lot of it.
Finally, be nice. Don’t troll other users and don’t poke fun at celebrities or others. You never know when you’re posts may end up as a part of Jimmy Kimmel’s “Mean Tweets” segment.