The Lowdown on Twitter
Unless you’ve been living in a plastic bubble for the last 10 years, you’ll have heard of Twitter. There’s a difference between knowing it exists and using it to its full potential, however.
In case you have been living in that plastic bubble, Twitter is one of the many social media sites. It’s used both by individuals and by businesses. Tweets, rather than being the noise that birds make, are short messages sent to followers.
Over the last decade, Twitter has become increasingly popular. It’s a novel way of communicating, in messages limited to 280 characters. Such a short limit means users have to get creative with their use of language.
Twitter allows networking through ‘following’ other users. When you follow someone, you receive their tweets. It’s good Twitter etiquette to follow back, unless your new follower is a bot or troll.
For business users, Twitter can be an excellent marketing tool. When you’re forced to be creative with your words, your advertising can be much more effective.
Over 17 million Twitter accounts in the UK
Faced with statistics like that, can you really afford not to join the “Twittersphere”? Yet is it enough to just have a profile and send a few tweets? Probably not. You’re certainly not going to generate much business that way. We’ve put together 10 tips you can use to maximise Twitter for your business.
Our 10 Twitter Tips
1) Personalised Profiles Rule
When you set up Twitter for the first time, your avatar (profile picture) will look like…well, an egg. Does an egg represent you and your business well? Um…unless your business is selling eggs, then probably not (and even if it is, set a profile photo!) So, it’s important to set a profile picture and cover photo as soon as possible.
Twitter also allows you to post a short bio. This is your chance to stand out, so get creative. Can you sum up your business and/or yourself in a sentence or two? It’s worth the effort to get this right, trust me. You can see mine below.
2) Manage Your Feed with Lists
While it’s great to be able to see tweets from all those you follow in your feed, it can get really busy really quick. It’s easy to miss Tweets when your feed is cluttered. You don’t want to miss Tweets that might give you sales leads, or vital industry news.
The solution to this problem is a feature called lists. This neat little tool allows you to categorise the people you follow into lists. This makes it easy to have a kind of hierarchy, so you don’t miss important Tweets. It’s easy to switch between lists and setting them up is a breeze. It’s well worth taking a little time to keep things organised.
3) Make Your Content Enjoyable
This one’s important. Lots of business use Twitter like it’s one big advertising campaign. But the trouble is, your followers will get tired of just seeing advertising Tweets. Sure, Tweet about your offers. Just make sure that’s not all you Tweet about!
Content is King on Twitter. Make it interesting, not just to your potential customers, but to others, too. Of course, your content needs to be relevant. Tweeting about celebrity gossip on your business profile probably isn’t a great marketing strategy. But there are lots of ways of generating interesting Tweets. You just have to get creative about it.
4) The Power of Videos, GIFs and Images
Businesses using Twitter as part of their marketing strategy need this little secret. You’re looking for retweets to get the word out about your business, right? In that case, you need to understand the power of videos, images and GIFs.
Take a look at your own Twitter feed (the people you follow). If you’re anything like me, some Tweets will just leap out at you. Others, well, you can scroll on by without really taking notice. Videos, images and GIFs catch people’s eye. Especially when their feed is crowded. Figures suggest that people are 34% more likely to retweet Tweets with videos, images and GIFs. Avoid just posting text-based Tweets.
5) Scheduling is Key
If you’re new to Twitter, then you could be forgiven for posting several Tweets at once. Just don’t do it again. It’s not good for your business.
It’s much better to spread your Tweets out over the day. Now, before you get alarmed by that, you don’t have to remember to log on and Tweet at these times. There are free tools that you can use to schedule your Tweets. Some of them will even help you to find out the best times of day to Tweet. That’s a great strategy to drive your business. It all depends on your target market. Different demographics tend to access Twitter at different times. Knowing this will help you schedule your Tweets for the most effective time.
6) Shorten Your Links
When you’re posting links in your Tweets, beware of long URLs. Not only do they look unsightly, but they’ll eat away at your available characters. When you’re working with so few characters anyway, it’s good practice to shorten your links.
There are plenty of free URL shorteners that will do this for you. You’ll probably have seen shortened links before, and they’re a common feature in the Twittersphere. Shortened links look better, and they give you more characters with which to express your creativity! If you’re posting links, just take into consideration the characters even shortened links use up.
If you want your Tweets to promote your business, then one thing you can’t do without is followers. Whilst you probably won’t ever get as many followers as Donald Trump (54.5 million at the last count) there are ways that you can increase your followers.
One of these ways is to take part in #FollowFriday. This works using hashtags (#). When you follow someone using the #FF hashtag, people will follow you back. Your network of followers can grow pretty quickly this way. Your reach will expand, and you’ll have more people that you can try to engage with.
8) Twitter Chats for Like-Minded Followers
Twitter chats are a great way of networking with others in your industry. They’re also a way for you to expand your knowledge. When you engage in chats with other Twitter users, you’ll probably gain more followers, too. Twitter chats mean that other people see your Tweets as you’re chatting, and they may follow you.
Twitter chats are a way of discussing ideas, practices and other things. They’re a great opportunity for a good debate, too. As a business owner, it’s always a good idea to expand your network, and Twitter chats make this relatively easy. Joining in chats around products or services that you sell can also generate new leads.
9) #TakeItEasy with Hashtags
Spend any time on Twitter and you’ll soon realise that hashtags play an important role. Of course, it’s good practice to use relevant hashtags in your Tweets. Hashtags will often gain you new followers, and new business leads.
That being said, there can be too much of a good thing. Hashtags when used well are effective, but don’t risk ‘overstuffing’ your Tweets with hashtags. That kind of practice can backfire pretty quickly. Market research has shown that when businesses Tweet with a single hashtag they’re 69% more likely to get engagement. Multiple hashtags can damage your marketing strategy.
10) Learn the Shortcuts
I’ll hold my hand up and admit that this is a new one for me. Did you know about Twitter’s shortcuts? No? Then I’ll explain. If you press the ? Key when you’re on the Twitter website, a menu with over 20 shortcuts will appear. Try it out!
You can save yourself a whole load of time and money by using them! With a couple of key-presses you can get straight to settings, send a Tweet, view your lists, access your messages, open your profile, and much more. If needs be, you can even block or mute someone with a press of a key!
So, there you have it. 10 tips to make using Twitter for your business a breeze. Try them out and see what results you get. Hopefully these tips will open new avenues of business for you and grow your network. Good luck!
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