There are lots of social media platforms out there and each one has its own pros and cons. Most people tend to work with the platforms that are more user friendly such as Facebook, (nothing hard about using Facebook right?) however, I often hear people saying the same thing to me about Twitter and that is, I just dont get it. If you are one of these people then this post is just for you. Im going to walk you through the basics and why you need to have Twitter in your online marketing strategy.
What is Twitter?
It is easy to see why people just don’t get Twitter as it has had a problem finding its own identity throughout its early development. It started out back in March 2006 as an idea from Jack Dorsey brought it to the table in a brainstorming session held at the pod casting company Odeo. The idea was to build an online SMS platform and in its early days that is exactly what it was. The SMS of the internet which began to get lost in the sea of status updates from other platforms. They tried to define it as a social network but it clearly wasn’t in the same class as others on the market so it took the title of a micro blogging platform for a while. Micro due to its 140 character maximum message length. As it has developed it has become more of an information network than a social network and as such it is much more attractive to the business user.
Why should I use Twitter?
The simple answer is its another string to your marketing bow that should not be ignored. There is a different kind of user on Twitter than on other networking platforms and as previously mentioned they are much more geared towards business. You will come across the the breakfast updates as you do on all social platforms but you can target who sees your posts and which posts you see in your feed by the simple way the platform operates and that is the beauty of using it for marketing purposes.
How it works, the basics.
By default all the tweets you post are publicly visible, though you can change that so that only your followers can see your tweets in settings should you want to. Every tweet you post offers the options of like or retweet (RT) this essentially forwards on the message to your subscribers. Twitter allows you to quickly build a list of subscribers or as they call them Followers by the simple act of reciprocation. In other words, it has become the norm to follow back someone who follows you and visa-versa. This is the reason why building a huge list of followers is a quick and painless process. However, there are road blocks to overcome that have been put in place to stop people from just Spam Following every account they see. You are limited in the number of people you are allowed to follow on a daily basis and you also have to have the right ratio of follow/followers to be allowed to follow more than 5000 people. This ratio is not disclosed by Twitter but it does ensure that people do post quality content to engage their followers or they cannot progress in building a following. The internal search can be utilized to find specific members by name and also allows the #hashtag keyword search to find people tweeting on a relevant topic across the platform. This enables the user to find and connect with the people most interested in their niche market. Twitter lists are a feature that was added to the platform in 2009 so that users can organize their followers into categories and then tweet specifically to that list of followers, a feature that is extremely beneficial when you are looking to find a targeted a group of people to follow.
Getting started on Twitter, a walk through.
Once you have signed up for your account the first thing you will want to do is follow some people in your niche market with the hope that they will reciprocate and follow you back (dont worry as over 40% of active users will). Use the search box and search with hashtags for key words in your niche for example #cycling #fitness or #doggrooming (note there are no spaces in hashtag key chains). In the news-feed you will then see people who are in your niche posting about the keyword you have chosen. Follow them if their post is relevant and click on their image to view their profile. From the users profile you can click to see their followers and follow those users too if you like. (these are people following someone who is positioning themselves as a leader in your niche, they are your target market).
Remember you can follow around 400 people per day on Twitter without fear of a ban/block so go for it with the following if you want to build your followers list fast.
TIP: It is easier to follow people using the twitter app on your smartphone instead of on your PC/laptop as it is much faster to tap than click.
More ways to find people to follow are search for leaders and authors in your field by name. NOTE: even leaders who have passed on still have tribute twitter accounts and a big following. If you want to find more leaders names search for authors on amazon in your niche. You can also search for book titles directly in twitter as most books also have their cult followings. Again here it is worth following the initial twitter account you find in your search as well as its followers because other people using this same method will then add you when trying to grow their following. Remember to always lookout for the Lists tab on users profiles. When users create their lists the tab will become visible next to their followers tab. This is perfect for you when looking for good people to follow because it means the work is already done for you. Click on list, click on the list name, then follow some laser targeted leads. Im sure you can come up with other ideas to search for people to follow but these will get you started.
TIP: Some users will have lists of followers who follow back and lists of most active/responsive Tweeps. Look out for these lists as they are goldmines for you.
Managing your followers.
Twitter allows the integration of third party apps which will enhance the features lacking in the basic platform. Key to growing your following is knowing who follows you, unfollows you and those who do not follow you back there are several apps you can use. The best one I have found is called Tweet Sponge. The free version does not allow you to see who does not follow you back but the paid version (£6.99 in the UK approx $10 for lifetime access) does.
TIP: You want to be ruthless when managing your followers as you are only looking for active users, so follow for a max of 3 days, if they have not followed you back then unfollow them, no need to fill your account with unresponsive Tweeps (people who tweet), you have a ratio to work towards.
Other apps you can use.
There are many other apps you can use on your smartphone to manage your twitter accounts followers. I recommend doing a search and reading through the reviews though I don’t advise any of the apps that build your following for you or even worse using services to buy followers, you want to find quality responsive followers in your niche not fill your followers list up with dead accounts.
What should I tweet?
If you are looking to engage your followers and have them retweet your tweets then you have to offer quality content or pretty soon they will stop following you. Everything that you put out as your own needs to be of value to your followers. Of course creating a lot of good quality content is time consuming so pass on good information or interesting articles that you come across. Sharing a useful blog post that you get value from is a good thing to pass on to your followers and they will stay engaged with you if they receive good content. Most websites and blogs have a social media sharing button now that will let you tweet out the content in a simple click of a button. There is one at the top of this page, try it now.
As a general rule of thumb you want to aim for a ratio of 20% your own content and 80% other peoples content that you tweet out to your followers. This shared content can be articles of interest, Images you like on Pinterest and Instagram, quotes and motivational posts are always popular, and of course entertaining funnies that make you smile will no doubt brighten your followers day too. Social media is a very transparent world so don’t try to be something you are not, you will quickly be found out. Just be yourself and let people see who you are and what you like, the right people will be drawn to you from what you post so enjoy it and don’t get hung up on the ones who move on.
Automating your posting schedule.
To keep your audience of followers engaged you want to be tweeting around 10 to 20 tweets a day. this can be time consuming but is worth it if you want to build a quality following. There are many third party applications you can use to schedule your posts such as Buffer, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and SocialOomph. Each have similar features though some allow scheduled posts on other platforms as well a Twitter. Some will also enable you to send an automatic reply to new followers using the direct message (DM) integrated system though there are a few apps that specialize in the automated message such as Crowdfire and Unfollows.
You can send a tweet to a users news feed using the @username tag in your tweet but if you want a private chat then there is a direct message system built in. This can get filled up with the bot replies from users you follow that have set up an automated reply in their third party apps, but it is worth checking through your direct messages on a regular basis to find the genuine messages from potential clients.
Well that’s about it for the basics. You should know enough now to finally get it and start using Twitter successfully. If you are using a blog to promote your business (and you really should be if you are serious in having an online presence) then Twitter is the perfect tool for getting your posts into the hands of your target audience.
I hope you gained a lot of value from this post. As always please leave your comments below and why not follow me on Twitter too (click the button below) for more social media success tips.