We all know Twitter. We all know we should be on Twitter and we all know that we need to use Twitter to grow our business and get our good, useful message out to the world. But how do we do that?
Patience, grasshopper. You need to learn to walk before you and run, and in this case, we are going to teach you what NOT to do first. Here’s the wrong way of doing things.
The WRONG way
Have a company Twitter account without the name of the person(s) doing the tweeting
Using this nameless corporate account to post corporate updates or thinly veiled corporate updates masquerading as tweets from a real person. No one cares. This makes you come off as some out of touch “mega” corporation and that is just not going to get you anywhere.
Post links to your press releases
No one wants to read your press releases and they really aren’t too interested in connecting with a business either. They want to make a personal connection, and they want to know they’re dealing with the real deal.
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Don’t follow others
Twitter is interactive. That’s the whole appeal of it. If you don’t follow others, they won’t follow you. You just can’t start an account and wait patiently and expect to become the next Twitter sensation. It just doesn’t work that way. Waiting for things to happen on Twitter is about as effective as waiting for the phone to ring when you’re looking for love (or anything else, for that matter).
Don’t contribute to the discussion
Twitter is a medium where people can interact, share ideas, followers and more, but who wants to do that? Why get involved and do things to grow your business when you can just sit there? You’re just setting up a Twitter account and maybe you’ve actually decided to follow people who follow you or maybe even follow people who’ve never heard of you, but get involved beyond that? That’s just crazy talk.
Sure, you could be a trusted source of tweets, dispersing them at regular intervals, but why? You’d rather tweet randomly and inconsistently. Why regularly post your tweets say every four hours when you can post ever ten minutes for two days and then disappear for a month! That’ll get them interested, right?
Well… not so much actually. To be fair, this is a playbook that people actually follow, intentionally. They really believe that doing these things will work. Problem is, they don’t. It’s a one way ticket to irrelevance. If you want to guarantee that no one will know or care about you on Twitter, by all means go ahead and use them.
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The RIGHT way
So if that’s what you shouldn’t be doing, what’s the right way? Well, there is no wrong or right, there is only what you should be doing to get the results that you want. That’s what we mean, by “right.” That being said, here we go:
Being a real, authentic person
Your Twitter account should really reflect who you are. It should have your name on it, and ideally a picture of you or your brand to let people know you’re the real deal. This is the biggest thing ever to remember about Twitter. You must be real.
You can be as weird or as out there as you want, just as long as that represents who you really are. Otherwise, you’ve got yourself a one way ticket to becoming the “Vanilla Ice” of Twitter.
You ever hear the expression “the friend of my enemy is my friend?” That’s a bit of an extreme example, but the point is that on Twitter, you need to seek out the people who are in your niche and engage them. Find the people who are out there, doing whatever it is you do and become friends with them. Retweet their posts if you find them useful (we’ll get to that in a second). Ask them questions, start a conversation.
This will raise your profile and their followers will become aware of you, and may follow you back as well. That’s all part of becoming relevant in your niche.
Be present and consistent
If you want to lose weight or change your body, you don’t need a radical diet or exercise plan. You just need to find the right program for your goals and be consistent about it. Same goes for Twitter. Some people only post once a day. Some people post once an hour. Both are valid. Figure out what you want your schedule to be and then set it and stick to it. This will help you become an ever present and consistent force on Twitter
Use a scheduling tool
So you’ve decided you want to post every four hours, 24/7. Are you really going to have to sit there at the keyboard at 4 am? Not if you use a scheduling tool. There are various services that offer this feature, but we’re big fans of Sendible because it just works and they’re very responsive.
Also Sendible works with most any social service out there, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, etc. With Sendible, we schedule out what to post and when, and then it automatically posts at 4 am (or whenever), without interrupting our beauty sleep. Just remember, Twitter and Facebook are “social media” so schedule your Tweets with caution.
Do a fun giveaway
It’s a fact. People love free stuff. Could be anything from the latest product your company is promoting to a signed picture of David Hasselhoff that you found at your neighbor’s garage sale. Just make sure it is fun and tailored to your audience, and ideally is tied into them working to promote your product or get you new followers.
Encourage people to interact
This is what social media is all about. Getting people talking. Post an article and ask your followers what their opinion is on it. Post a poll topic, get people to vote on it. Post a picture of your baby and ask people to rate it. Anything! Just get them talking and get them talking in a way that helps you achieve your goal(s) that made you join social networking in the first place.
All that comes first, before you can promote or sell anything. Once you’ve built a loyal, consistent following, in time you’re going to become the go-to source for information in your niche. And that’s when you can start running promotions and campaigns that lead to sales (read: making money), more business, etc. Just don’t stop doing what got you TO that place in the first place – participating!