So you’ve been a loyal Facebook user for five or six years, updating almost daily. It seems your feed has been slowing down lately, and you’re not sure that you’re reaching as large of an audience as you used to. You really like Facebook, but you’ve been hearing so much about this Twitter thing that you’re thinking about dabbling in it to see what Twitter is really about. Sound familiar? I’m Jens, social media manager with SocialNicole. Although I started working for Nicole some time ago with some very basic knowledge of social media and its importance in the business–and personal–world, I’ve learned a lot in my time with Nicole about Twitter, specifically, and how to get started using Twitter to its full potential. Starting on Twitter might seem like a daunting task, and as politely as I can say it, I think a lot of people are starting off with the wrong goals in mind, especially if someone is coming from the perspective of a former Facebook enthusiast. Here are some tips on how to start using Twitter, and how to tweet your way to success.
5 Tips to having a successful Twitter from the start
1. Determine your voice
This part will be different for everybody, but it’s essential to determine the persona of your profile. Some people or businesses tend to want to appeal to everybody by having many voices tweeting at once, but this is not effective. So what does a voice mean? Let’s say for this post that you’re a small business that grows and sells flowers. You have many options on how to craft a voice. I know 140 characters per tweet isn’t very many, but voice and tone can be transmitted through tweets over time. For example, will you be using “I” language, such as “I met a great guy selling flowers today! #MPLS” or will you use “we” language, like “We have flowers for every occasion”? I know it might seem difficult, but it’s good to be consistent in whatever you choose. Additionally, it’s good to think about what level of formality and solemnity you’re looking for. Perhaps you’re a flower shop with an audience of 20-somethings in the metro area. You might consider using more casual language or a more easy-going persona when you post your own content AND when you interact with other Twitter users.
2. Follow people within and surrounding your audience
Follow people? But my business wants followers, not to follow other people! The term “social media” is more descriptive than it may seem. Social media is social, and one big mistake is when users create content but rarely talk to anyone else on Twitter. It’s easy to believe that unless you’re “making a sale,” a social interaction on Twitter isn’t worth your time, but Twitter is not a platform to specifically sell your product or service–the primary goal of Twitter is to bridge the gap between you and your audience in a new way, not to sell your product. While you may not want to follow other flower shop profiles (if we are sticking with the flower business analogy) in the same city as you–since they would be immediate competition–there are plenty of people to follow on Twitter who will help you find people with whom to interact. Here are some examples:
Flower enthusiasts in your city – people who would be most likely buy your product
Flower sellers in other cities – if your product is only being sold locally, following similar businesses around the country or even the world may inspire you without worrying about direct competition
Any sponsors or partners – if you’re the official flower distributor for a business in your city, follow them! Your partnership will only strengthen if you interact on Twitter
Compost businesses – think about who is making your product happen, or who has overlapping audiences with you. Check out who they are following to see how you can widen your circle.
People who talk about flowers – if you search your product or service in the Twitter search bar, you will see many tweets and people. Some are just mentioning it for the first time, but you will see that some people talk about your interest often.
3. Sort the profiles you follow into lists
While this step isn’t essential, it is helpful to sort your new followers into lists. There will be a list function near the “follow” button on their profile. The person you follow can see what list you add them to, so it’s best to pick group names that inspire them or flatter them. For example, you might have a group called “Flower enthusiasts” instead of “people I want to buy my product” or “Minneapolis leaders” instead of “people who sponsor my business.” It’s best to do this from the beginning, so you don’t have to go back and add people later!
4. Talk to them
Once you have your new communities set up in your Twitter, you will get a couple of new followers out of it. These new followers are exciting, but they are not the idea or goal of Twitter. People often get caught up in the number of followers they have, when what they should be focused on is how many of those followers are part of their target audience and how to listen to them. Your goal is to talk to people with whom you wouldn’t normally get to have a relationship. Sort your feed by lists if you have to, but reply, favorite and retweet people on your feed–and often! Spend a half hour doing it every day. It might seem tedious, but it’s the best way to use this social media the way it’s meant to be used–to be social. Don’t think of your Twitter as a profile that gets you new clients. Think of your Twitter as a way to join a local/national/global conversation about your interest, product or service.
5. Generate content
Finally, once you’ve reached out to others on Twitter, you can think about joining the conversation by adding content of your own. This can come in many forms, and this will be dependent on your voice that you determined earlier. You may want to post links about the social benefits of flowers, but you always have to keep your audience in mind. If your audience is young people, it’s good to tweet about events going on in your area that young people would like. It doesn’t all have to be about your product–in fact, it shouldn’t be. Nobody wants to follow someone who just talks about themselves all the time. Talk about your audience and their interests. Post often! Many businesses post one tweet per day at most and call it good, but the life of a tweet is only about an hour at best, so your window to reaching your followers will be very limited if you don’t post often. You could easily post as many as 10-20 tweets spaced out over the day. You may think that nobody wants to see 10 tweets from a flower company, but if you spend at least 9 of those tweets talking about your audience and directly to your audience, they won’t mind how often you post. 🙂 — If you have any more questions on how to start a successful Twitter, comment below or contact us for more tips. Better yet, follow us with your new twitter at @SocialNicole and tweet with us! We love answering questions on Twitter, so ask away!