Twitter Tips and Tricks for Your Business
It’s no secret that businesses use Twitter as a way to help them establish branding and reach within an industry. If you are a business professional or brand that isn’t already on Twitter then it’s time to get with the program! Whether you are using paid advertising methods on Twitter or building your brand organically, there are still some amazing benefits to be had from building a following and consistently interacting with them through engaging content. Here are a few Twitter tips and tricks that can help you get started.
In order to make the most of your Twitter account, you first have to understand what you’re working with. Let’s start with a breakdown of some of the basic terms/actions/fundamentals of the “Twitter Ecosystem”.
The Anatomy of a Tweet
According to a research study done at Carnegie Mellon University in 2012, it was shown that 25% of tweets are not worth reading, 36% are worth it, and the remaining 39% are, well… meh. So what is the makeup of a good tweet, and are there Twitter tricks that can help you fit into the 36% category of good tweets? Before we can answer that, it’s important to understand the basics of tweeting in general. Aside from knowing that tweets can only be 140 characters or less, here are some of the other important aspects of a tweet.
Upon signing up for Twitter, this is the first thing you’ll create. Your username is also known as your Twitter handle. It’s always preceded by the “@” symbol. You can choose between upper case and lower case letters, numbers and underscores in your username. People often wonder how they should choose a Twitter handle. Do you use your real name or something else? This really just depends on what you’re using the Twitter account for. If you have a brand or business or are looking to position yourself within an industry, then it’s best to choose a handle that is as close to your brand/real name as possible. If your first choice for a username is taken, try using an underscore or an abbreviation to keep your branding intact.
This is the display name that comes up every time someone searches for you. It also appears front and center on your profile (right above your “@” handle). One Twitter tip is that you can change your display name to more accurately reflect your brand at any time, even if your username or “handle” is something else.
When it comes to branding, you should ALWAYS take advantage of factors that you have control over. Your background for your Twitter page is one of those things. Don’t use one of the template backgrounds that Twitter offers, but instead choose something unique to you or your company. Get your designer involved and have some fun with it. One great example of this is the Geico page. You can see how they have tailored an image of their fun-loving Gecko to the left side of the page but kept the colors consistent throughout their profile. It’s simple, yet impressive.
Your profile is a short write-up of what it is you do and what you’re interested in. Make the most of it, it’s one of the greatest Twitter tools for business. People almost always look at your profile to see if it says something meaningful/relevant. If they quickly glance at your profile description and it doesn’t say anything about what they are interested in, they’ll likely move on. Be aware that the text is always in white. Try to use a profile header image with contrasting colors or your profile can turn into a visual nightmare for a potential follower. While it’s never a bad idea to humanize your profile picture by inserting an image of a person, be careful not to have too much going on in the picture or you’ll lose some of that branding. If ever in doubt, err on the side of simplicity. For more information on making great twitter headers, click here.
While this part of a tweet is becoming more and more irrelevant as Twitter’s search features get better, it still can be used to designate “groups” of searches. Hashtagged keywords will show up as clickable search terms. Hashtags are inserted into a tweet by inserting the “#” symbol before a term (i.e. #contentmarketing, #showmethecookie, #srslysoblessed – you know who you are).
Inserting someone’s Twitter handle in the middle or at the end of a tweet will notify them that they have been mentioned in your tweet. This is usually done to give credit to someone for writing or sharing the post initially. Proper etiquette would be to precede the person’s twitter handle with a “via” or “by”. (i.e. via @bkacontent)
Starting a tweet with an @mention signifies that the tweet is a message directed to that person specifically, and only they will be able to see it (unless someone visits your twitter page directly). Use this function to engage in a direct conversation with another person on Twitter. However, make sure to save really personal tweets for Direct Messages. If you are talking to someone but the tweet is meant for a wider audience, simply put a “.” in front of it (i.e. “.@matt_secrist is a content creation guru.”) or place the @mention later in the tweet.
Whenever you insert a URL into a tweet, Twitter now shortens the URL automatically so you have more real estate to work with. Don’t worry, you’ll still get a count of how many characters you have left to place in the tweet at the bottom middle of your tweet box.
Retweeting is an important Twitter tip, as it can lead to more interaction and added content on your page. You can either manually put the letters “RT” at the beginning of the tweet, or you can click the small “retweet” button located under a tweet you really like. This will post the tweet out to your followers, but it will show the information of the person who originally tweeted it.
To make the most of your retweeting, add something to the beginning of the tweet to give it some character and differentiate it from the masses of boring tweets out there. People are more likely to interact with someone who is “real” rather than a retweeting robot. Be careful with how often you retweet; it can quickly become annoying to your followers if it is done too frequently.
If you like a tweet, but you don’t want to necessarily retweet it, you can click on the small star icon below the tweet to “favorite” it. This is a micro gift you can give to anyone you are trying to network with. If you favorite someone’s tweet, it will notify them. This could end up being enough to get them to notice you in return. It’s a great way to pat someone on the back or stroke an ego. However, be careful you don’t use it so much that you start looking creepy.
Twitter Tools For Business
To be fair, there are a LOT of different Twitter tools that could be used to get results. Here are just a few:
This is a CRM tool specifically meant for Twitter.
This tool can take 2 or more profiles and triangulate them to see what followers they have in common. This is a great Twitter trick to discover people that follow companies similar to yours.
This is a great tool to use in order to schedule out your tweets. You can sit down for an hour each week and find stories you’d like to share with your followers and then schedule them out across the next day, week or month. This is a great complement to your social media strategy.
Start keeping track of those you follow that don’t follow you back. This can help you to clean up your account and make sure you’re only keeping tabs on people that are really interested in your brand.
The Art of Tweeting
Stop creating boring tweets! With all the recent emphasis there has been on having amazing social media content associated with your brand, keep in mind that this applies to your tweets as well. “Meh” tweets are a dime a dozen these days. Take the time to add value to your tweets so that they stand out.
We have a few Twitter tricks when tweeting. Instead of a dull tweet like “Quality Content drives SEO – URL…” try something like “You want to write brilliant blogs? You need to read this post by… @handle URL…” Add some personality to your posts and people will not only follow you, but they’ll interact with you too. Some people who are great examples of this are Lisa Barone (@LisaBarone) and Jennifer Sable Lopez (@jennita).
Additional Twitter Tips and Tricks For Business
- Send out more @ tweets! If you use Twitter in more of a direct way, it can add a lot more power to your social media efforts. Try talking TO people rather than just broadcasting AT them. Start doing this and you’ll see results.
- Don’t automate the creation of your tweets. Feel free to use tools to schedule out your tweets (i.e. HootSuite), but don’t automate them. That’s the quickest way to lose the attention of your follower base. Always err on the side of being personal.
- Add value to each of your tweets. Whether it’s a personal message, an interesting picture, or an @mention, it will do you well in the long run. Don’t add to the pile of “meh” content that is already in the world.
- Take advantage of industry tradeshow and event tweets. Even if you can’t physically attend a tradeshow or event that is relating to your industry, you can be there virtually. Not only is this a good way to stay on top of industry changes, it’s also a surefire way to get more followers. Try favoriting, creating lists (see next section) and following frequent tweeters at the show and see the follows you get in return. Not only that, you’ll be hitting your target market and have the real possibility of generating qualified leads.
- Last of all, don’t make your tweets so long that you don’t have room for a retweet. People naturally won’t retweet your stuff if they have to rearrange the information and shorten it down to do so. Do yourself a favor and think ahead.
Should You Use Twitter Lists?
Within Twitter, there is a “Lists” feature. This is a place where you can categorize the people you follow into lists to make it easier to contact people you’ve connected with that are in your industry, that you met at a show, or even just a place for family and friends.
Aside from the obvious uses just explained, using Twitter Lists is a great way to stroke an ego and get noticed by potential influencers you are wanting to network with. Here are a few tips and tricks of using a “Twitter List” in a list format (how appropriate).
- Try using Twitter Lists as a way to connect with influencers within your industry. The way to do this is by creating a list with the title “Most important people in (insert your industry here)”, or even something as simple as “VIPs”. This is also a great way to get noticed at a tradeshow or event. Pat other people’s backs and they’ll start to pat yours.
- Make sure to subscribe to lists that list you. If you’ve been labeled as an influencer by someone else, take advantage of that networking possibility.
- Be sure to consider the story that your list of lists is telling. Make sure there is some rhyme or reason to the lists you make or people will start to see through you.
What’s a Twitter Chat?
A Twitter Chat is a public conversation that is centered on a single, unique hashtag. Using the hashtag allows you to participate in and follow the discussion. Most times, these Twitter Chats are recurring and focus on the same topics so people can regularly connect with other people that have the same interests. These chats are a great way to start a conversation on a topic and get people to engage with you as a brand (#blogchat is one good example). Create your own Twitter Chat, invite a special guest, and have them answer a few questions. Schedule out the chat and see what happens!
Twitter Chat Etiquette:
- Try to stay on topic.
- Make sure to number all of the questions and answers.
- Don’t shamelessly self-promote. The only time this is appropriate is at the very end of the chat and you want to quickly state who you are and what you do. To hop into a chat during the middle of the discussion and include a link to your company is bad form. If other people click that link on accident, it will take them completely out of the chat.
- Anytime you RT, make sure you do with attribution.
- If you show up to the chat late, don’t ask “What’s the topic”. Wait for tweets to come in and respond accordingly.
- Always end the chat with a “Thank you!” Don’t forget.
Generating Busine$$ by Setting Goals
While every company is different, the only really effective way to use Twitter is to set some goals. Here are some great Twitter tips that can help you do that:
- Interact with 3-5 people per day
- Tweet at 3 different times of the day to optimize your social media strategy
- Engage in the community every day
- Join 1-3 twitter chats each week
- Host a Twitter meet up every week with the intention to bring it offline at some point
- Utilize Twitter tools (such as hootsuite) for an hour each week so that content is constantly being posted on your accounts – builds consistency
Tweeting: A Virtuous Cycle
So you’ve set up a Twitter account, you’ve generated some kick “A” tweets, and you’re starting to see the follows flowing in. Now comes the real question… do you follow those people back? You can, and both can receive benefits from it.
When it comes to how to properly reward people that interact with you on Twitter, there are many different opinions on the subject – and no one right answer. Some choose to only follow a few of their followers back, hoping to increase their brand prestige, and help manage their own home feeds. Others opt to always follow back those that follow them as a tribute to karma. The latter can be more risky, but it can also pay off. Whatever your strategy is, make sure it’s consistent with the values and personality put off by your brand.
The Power of Twitter Tips and Tricks
Overall, Twitter is an incredible social media tool that can be used to not only expand your business reach, but to make meaningful interaction with those you already associate with or are hoping to connect with in the near future. You can reach influencers, solicit feedback, qualify leads and do a fair amount of branding when you handle your account appropriately. Whether you’re new to Twitter or an old pro, these Twitter tips and tricks can help you start taking real advantages of the business benefits this platform can offer you.