When Twitter launched in March 2006, a lot of people didn’t understand all the hype. What can I say in 140 characters? How can this be beneficial to my business? What is a hashtag?
But in the past seven years, Twitter has garnered a lot of much-deserved respect. I’ve been a fan of Twitter since the beginning. Because I have a background in journalism, I loved that Twitter forced people to become more succinct writers by giving them a character limit and forcing them to choose what was most important to say. I can also use Twitter to help get Imagebox’s message out to the world, and use it on a personal level as a great networking tool.
You can learn to love Twitter, too! Get started by following these six easy steps:
Be a Follower
You’ve been told all of your life that the key to making an impact is to not follow the crowd. I’m about to tell you the opposite. But when it comes to following other users on Twitter, you need to follow those who will find the content you are Tweeting useful, informative or entertaining. In order to gain followers yourself, you have to be a follower of others!
As long as you consistently Tweet content that is related to your business, it is easy to browse Twitter and find that information useful. Follow industry thought leaders, similar companies, influential users in your area and anyone you think may be a good lead. Once you start building a following, users will start finding you on their own. Be sure to always monitor new followers in order to see if they are worth a follow back.
Share Others’ Content
The rules of Twitter really aren’t much different than the rules you used to follow on the playground – it’s always good to try and make friends. Get friendly on Twitter by retweeting and responding to other users’ Tweets.
Local businesses can benefit greatly from responding to other local businesses. You never know when an online connection will open up conversation for an offline partnership. For instance, when our team tries out a new restaurant, I regularly Tweet praise for the business using @imagebox. And when I see a great piece of local news, I like to comment and retweet it.
Retweeting quotes, articles, photos and more that you think your followers will enjoy is also a great way to spice up your feed, encourage engagement and make friends!
Use Hashtags Effectively
Hashtags were created to help make topics easier to search, and when used correctly, they can do just that. They help you take part in a bigger conversation. An example, every Friday at 10 p.m. EST, users can include the hashtag #pinchat to take part in a conversation about Pinterest. When you search this hashtag, you’ll find only tweets that are relevant to that conversation. Check out this list of Twitter chats for small businesses.
Hashtags can also help you find users in your area or users who might be in need of your service. By searching things like #Pittsburgh or #WebsiteDesign, you can see what users are saying about those topics – and join those conversations, too. (Keep in mind that hashtags should have no spaces and no punctuation other than the # symbol.)
If you’re doing social right, you have a lot of channels to choose from when it comes to putting out your messages, and you have a basic understanding of which channel is best for which message. Facebook is great for sharing photos and event details. LinkedIn is a great place to share business news. But don’t forget that you can promote across social channels. Don’t be afraid to link to a Facebook event on Twitter or encourage readers to check out your newest photo album.
Encourage users to follow you on other channels, also. If they love your Tweets, they might just love your Instagram photos and Pinterest pins.
Brand Your Profile
There are plenty of ways that Twitter allows you to brand your profile – don’t miss any opportunity! The first step you should take is to fill your profile information. This means uploading a photo (logos work great here), header image and including your location, website and a keyword-rich bio. It is helpful if you use the same profile photo on each of your accounts so that they can be easily recognizable as your business.
It is also in this section that you can link your Twitter and Facebook accounts, which I do NOT recommend. If you’re saying the exact same thing on Twitter as you are on Facebook, why will anyone be motivated to follow you on both channels? Hint: they won’t.
Once you’ve filled out your profile, don’t forget to click on design and add a custom background or set the background color to match your branding.
Keep Up With It
A huge mistake many people make on Twitter is setting up an account and then never logging in to it again. Twitter is a platform to build relationships on, and just like offline relationships require care and attention, so do those you create online. It’s good practice to check Twitter daily, send Tweets daily and respond to them daily. It’s bad practice to let Tweets go unanswered, also. So if someone reaches out to you on Twitter, try to be swift in responding!
Follow these basic steps and soon you’ll be one of Twitter’s most social butterflies.