Don't forget, there are two types of social media – the type that makes you acquaintances and the type that makes you money. When you're trying to work out how to make Twitter work for business, you have to bear that in mind.
Make sure you create your Twitter account properly before you get started.
How Does Twitter Work For Business
I wrote about how Twitter works and the SEO implications of Twitter but how does Twitter work for business on a daily basis?
So most casual Tweeters have less than 100 contacts, which means that business tweeters need to have reached many more. Having said that, they still have to be able to engage with those contacts so it’s no good getting an autobot to follow thousands of people that you can’t then keep track of – no matter how targeted they are.
And whilst most casual Tweeters will tweet sporadically, business owners need to be active regularly, without being annoying – which is why it’s so important not to just shout at your potential audience with continual status updates that consist purely of links to content.
The best tools for managing your social media accounts – especially if you have more than one twitter account – is a dashboard like Hootsuite. It allows you to have multiple columns to track keywords and lists as well as your various profiles.
Check that you're in the right Twitter account, especially if you're using a dashboard that allows you to operate multiple accounts like Hootsuite.
1. Post Updates - 140 characters only
However, remember that if you want someone to be able to Retweet your status update, you need to allow room for the RT@UserName to go in front of what you write. It is better to keep to just over 100 characters.
If you are adding a link to other content, use the link shrinker in Hootsuite - or something a third party tool like bit.ly if you're on the main Twitter platform - to give yourself more. As with Facebook, make sure that your update is suitable to your audience. A link to your latest blog post or an interesting piece of content that you've seen, a motivational quote or fact related to your market. Give people a reason to follow you by creating valuable and informative content that people find entertaining.
Replying on Twitter
If you reply to other status updates, remember that the post will automatically begin @UserName rest of message. If you leave it like this, the message will only be seen by those people who follow both you AND the @UserName. Put a word in front of the @UserName to ensure that everyone who follows you will see your reply.
2. Who's Following?
You may have it set up so that notifications about new followers appear in your email. You don't have to follow everyone back. If they don't look as if they will be appropriate for your market, then you don't have to. Remember WIIFM - What's In It For Me? Check to see if they're located in your area - if you're working the local market. Or if they would be interested in your product or service. Or if they might provide valuable content that you can retweet.
3. Check Your Messages
Respond to Direct Messages (DMs) - these are not visible to anyone else and are not indexed by Google. Watch out for sentences like 'See what they're saying about you - link' or 'Look at these photos of you - link'. There are lots of viruses going around which send out this message to all your followers so be aware and don't click on links in DMs. Even if they come from people you know and trust.
Remember, many experienced Tweeters will automatically send a DM to those who follow them. Invariably, these will invite you to visit a landing page offering you a free or paid product that they are selling and are aimed at those who are new to Twitter and easily influenced into handing over their email in return for a report. Most UK tweeters will say that they don't and won't just give away their email for a piece of paper but many experts say that this is a very effective method of growing your list. If you would like to send an auto DM, Social Oomph has a free account that offers this.
Replying personally to new followers
If you get email notifications of new followers, you could respond via the email and send a personalised message of welcome.
Or you could set up a New Followers column on Hootsuite and send a personal response whenever someone follow you.
Responding to public messages
Public messaging uses the @ prefix and shows up in your @Mentions area. If you want to be sure that a particular person will see a tweet, you include the @TheirTwitterName in your 140 characters. It is always polite to respond to anyone who sends you a Tweet which includes your @TwitterName.
4. Keywords and Hashtags
#keyword can be used as part of the 140 characters to alert people to what a tweet is about. Twitter etiquette suggests that these should always be the last item in any tweet and that it is not polite to include it in the body of the tweet - even if it does save characters. You can track the keywords and hashtags in your niche using Hootsuite. Set up a column that will keep you in touch with the buzz around those words and join the conversation where you can.
5. Read Your Feed on the home page
This is where it is possible to get sucked in so you need to be ruthless. Check out what people are talking about and engage - even if it's not always about your niche. It's ok to connect on multiple levels but you need to try to stay on topic if possible.
If you see information that you enjoy and you feel would be valuable to others in your niche, retweet. It will help to build your own reputation as well as gaining favour with those whose content you have enjoyed. If anyone retweets you, make sure to thank them.
By putting the RT in front of @UserName as the prefix to the sharing of the message, it ensures that the retweets are seen by everyone who follows you. This gives exposure to the person whose content you are sharing. People like that because it can lead to them getting new followers.
This is why it is a good idea for you to start putting up information that others are likely to want to retweet and get more exposure for yourself.
The 80/20 principle means that you should be retweeting and giving value a lot more than selling your own stuff. And everyone loves to have their content shared.
7. Schedule Updates
Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts for later in the day. Buffer is also a good tool for this. Some experts advise posting the same content at up to four different times per day in order to get your content seen. One post every week is going to be lost in the morass as the Twitter feed flies past.
Some people set their schedules to post every ten minutes, which can become irritating. But you do notice them. This is where you can send not just your own content but a selection of retweeted content from others. Tweriod will tell you when your following is most often online so that you can schedule your tweets at the optimum times.
8. What should I tweet?
The best sales tweets take the format
Call to Action
but the 80/20 rule states that if you send out 10 tweets, only 2 of them should be in this type of format.
The rest of the time you should be linking to your blog posts or interesting images or informative blog posts and images from other people and, above all, retweeting other people's updates.
9. Grow Your Reach
There are lots of tools that allow you to discover other tweeters who are interested in your niche. The Twitter Suggested Users list can give you some good contacts, as well as Twitter.com/search, Wefollow.com has over one million users that have categorised themselves with tags and Twittercounter.com allows you to search twitter descriptions for your keywords. Twellow.com lets you see people in particular areas or industries. Topsy.com gives you results for your keywords.
Twitter Chats for your town are a great way to get your business noticed locally.
Having said all that, you should really be asking yourself what you want to achieve through this activity. Here's a great infographic which will help you to understand whether you should be using Twitter for your business.
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