Are you considering entering the noisy world of 140 character updates, retweets, and hashtags? Welcome to part 2 of “What social media channels should I be on?”, all about Twitter.
And what a perfect coincidence that I ended up writing this post when #SaySomethingGoodAboutTwitter was trending.
#saysomethinggoodabouttwitter short & sweet – it forces people to express their ideas concisely!
— rikki ayers (@beradmedia) March 7, 2016
Twitter can be a really effective tool, but it definitely requires time, effort and strategy to experience results. I have a love-hate relationship with this channel, and have actually considered shutting my account down because of how addicting it is. If you’re a news junkie too, consider this your warning.
I have found Twitter to be really valuable in connecting with companies, bloggers, and other professionals who I am either a fan of or want to work with. Twitter’s also the first place I go to first for critical news. For example, I live on an island located on the Pacific rim of fire, and when we get earthquakes here people start tweeting about them like crazy. News media actually quote tweets in their reports!
I found my first marketing job, saw local topics that helped me avoid highway closures before I got stuck in traffic, checked out snow condition reports, and discovered new restaurants all on Twitter.
But, is it right for you?
Who’s on Twitter and why should you be there?
There are 320 million people using Twitter, and 100 million of them are active daily on the channel. 65 million users are based in the United States, and 83% of world leaders use Twitter. That makes for a very busy space, but an important one if you target people in politics and the media.
Another popular use for Twitter is to contact companies’ customer service teams. Have questions about a new product? It’s often easier to contact software and tech companies on Twitter than it is to find a phone number on their website. If you’re in SaaS, Twitter is an important channel to monitor.
If you’re a blogger who wants to connect with other bloggers, sponsors, and advertisers, Twitter can be an excellent tool. Not only can you drive traffic to your blog on Twitter (in my experience, click rates are less than from Facebook), but you can use tagging to notify other users of articles you think they’d be interested in. Just don’t be spammy.
Best practices for better use on Twitter
It can be tempting to just start tweeting random thoughts in your head…but what’s the point if no one reads them? Make use of hashtags, tagging, and trending topics in your content.
Twitter hashtags help to organize streams of conversations. While some people are following just to try and figure out who’s at the conference, others are trying to find out what the wifi password is. Others are looking to meetup after the last session for a cold beverage and some business chat, and yet others are trying to find more information on the speakers and topics. There’s a lot going on all at once. Here are some ways you can save time and use Twitter strategically.
Hashtags (#word) are key to getting your content seen. People use Twitter’s search engine to find content on specific content, so it’s important to use hashtags your target audience uses. See what competitors or ideal clients are using in their own posts. Check out RiteTag and Hashtagify.me for help.
Tag other users
Tag other Twitter users by typing their username into your post (ie, @beradmedia). I do this when I’m sharing someone else’s content. It’s a friendly way to say, “hey, I think your article is awesome!”. You can also tag users who you think would benefit from seeing your content, if you want feedback, or if you mention them in your blog. If they like what they see, they’ll like retweet your post, exposing your content and username to all of their audience.
Use trending topics
Have a look at the second left sidebar on the Twitter homepage and you’ll see a list of trending topics. If you have something related to the trending topic, join the conversation by using the trending hashtag in your update. This is a great way to get more eyeballs on your content, because more people are searching and participating in these conversations.
Don’t push it too far though. If you’re posting something that barely relates the conversation, then it’s very apparent to most people you’re just trying to use the trending hashtag to promote your work, and that looks real spammy. And, as a user, it’s annoying to have to sift through all the crap in order to find a real piece of the conversation.
Share your content over and over again
Especially when you’re getting started out, you’ll feel like your content is drowned out by all of the other stuff going on on Twitter. Twitter posts typically “die” (don’t get any action) after 20 minutes, so if you have something important to say, find many different ways to say it. Use a social media scheduling tool to schedule your blog posts twice or more a day. Just don’t use the same copy over and over again, and make sure you mix it up by sharing other people’s content as well.
Keep your posts short
Use link shorteners like Bit.ly or Google (Hootsuite and Buffer do this as well), and keep posts to around 100-110 characters (about 10 words). This gives room for people to retweet you (share your post) or add anything else they’d like to mention.
Twitter might seem overwhelming, but if used the right way, it can be of huge benefit for your business.
Have questions about whether Twitter is the right social media channel for your business? Let me know in the comments, or head over to the Totally Rad Entrepreneurs Facebook group.