Twitter is a crazy beast. People use it for so many different reasons — keeping in touch with friends, political organizing, reading the latest news, sharing selfies taken in bathroom mirrors, for example. But Twitter is also a fantastic business tool, if you work to build, grow and engage your community. So…how does one go about doing that?
* Have a strategy — know what you want to use Twitter for. Do you want to drive sales, build your reputation as a thought leader, connect with customers? Having a clear purpose on Twitter can help you build and connect with the people who can help you accomplish your goals.
* Start following people, but don’t blindly follow anyone and everyone. Follow your ideal customers, follow their followers, follow your competitors, follow people with whom you share interests and missions, follow people in your local area, follow influencers in your industry, follow some of their followers, follow people who can help you meet your business goals. Never mas follow people (no more than 100 people per day, if that) or Twitter will think you’re a spam robot (a ‘bot).
* Be yourself, but try to stay in line with your mission. If you’re choosing to use one Twitter account for business and pleasure, be careful about engaging with hot topics, politics, controversial pop culture, etc. I maintain separate business and personal accounts for this very reason. Remember, being yourself includes having a clear photo of yourself — not an egg, not your dog.
* Participate, don’t be a passive observer or a lurker. Ask questions, take part in conversations, answer questions. You can be self-promotional occasionally, but only a small percentage of the time. Above all, be useful.
* Use hashtags (such as #socialmedia) to connect your tweets to specific topics or discussions. Don’t overdo it, one or two appropriate hashtags per tweet and don’t hashtag every single tweet.
* If someone posts content you find useful, actively converse with them. Share the content. Ask others to share your content as well.
* IMPORTANT: Create high-quality, useful, original content to share and be shared.
* Add your Twitter account information to other social media pages as well as to your email signature and your e-newsletter, business card, etc. Let people know you’re active on the network.
* Promote select tweets using Twitter ads. You can specifically target industries, geographic regions, demographics and effectively drive traffic from Twitter to your website or blog for just a few dollars each month.
* Blogs, websites and other social media outlets are great tools to help you grow your Twitter following. Run a Twitter contest and ask people to retweet a follow you then retweet a phrase or link for a chance to win a prize.
* Check in to Twitter a few times per day. Don’t tweet (or reply) then walk away for hours. You wouldn’t do that in a face-to-face conversation, don’t do it online.
* Take it off Twitter– if you’ve got a community of people with similar interests or you find yourself having frequent conversations with certain twitter users, meet up in person (if local) or host a G+ Hangout on the topic you have in common or to solve a common problem.
* Host online “Tweetups” with short hashtags specific to the topic (#XYZMktg, for example). Take on the position of expert in your industry and answer questions or invite industry experts (and participants) to ask and answer questions.
* When at events, use the event-specific hashtag to ask questions and engage event participants as well as those who aren’t on site, but are participating online.
* Take it up a notch and give people something they can’t get anywhere else — be unique and always remember, “What is in it for your audience? What’s the payoff for them?”
Not sure if or how Twitter fits into your social media plans? Contact me at Lynne (at) SocialVisibilityConsulting.com and I’ll help you come up with a strategy (I can even tweet for you). Happy tweeting and feel free to follow me @SocialViz.