Is Twitter Dead? Can I really use it for my business?

Is Twitter Dead? Can I really use it for my business?

Dear Sally,

I am amazed that I have lots of followers on Tweeter. I am sure it is because of you. I have not posted much on Twitter. Can you tell me what is the best way to handle the account. Shall I start posting more? Shall I follow those who follow me or be more discerning? LOL!

Isn’t it nice to have this problem?  Thank you again for all you support.

(Client)

 

Hi there,

Thank you for your excellent questions. I am so pleased that our little conversations over Twitter have resulted in more followers for you.  Twitter is an odd little social media platform. The idea that you can say what’s on your mind in 140 characters or less can be quite challenging at times – especially for storytellers like us! Fortunately, when it comes to Twitter, anything goes – from bad spelling and custom-made abbreviations to acronyms and shorted links. As long as what you write can be read and interpreted by your audience (called “followers”) you can actually squeeze quite a bit of information into this short little message, using a little creativity.  Within the past few years, the folks at Twitter have really opened up the functionality as well. You can now post photos and videos on your profile page, and it will automatically shorten long URL links, which actually gives you more character space to play around with for your messaging.

For those who think it may be too late to start a Twitter account or wonder if it’s dying – think again!!

Love it or hate it – Twitter will be around for quite some time. For celebrities, it provides the perfect platform to update fans and followers on all their daily antics. For news and events, it’s a fast method of shooting out captivating headlines globally, in record time.  For others, Twitter is a quick and easy way to connect with friends – both the real, in person ones and online virtual acquaintances.  But that`s not all. Over 20% of all Twitter messages – called “Tweets” – are about products or brands. That means companies are using Twitter to promote their products and services like never before.

You have hit the nail right on the head with your questions. When starting Twitter and building up your list of followers, you want to know if you should – post more? add everyone  who adds you? Be more discerning? What are some of the best practices?

Here are 5 simple ways to get the most out of Twitter

1. When to Tweet – Frequency

First, to help you build a network of steady followers, you’ll want to post your Tweets” as often as you can. Start by Tweeting messages a few times per day, each and every day. Set up a schedule so you can invest a few minutes each day to posting an update (tweet) on your Twitter profile. Most mobile devices have apps you can download for free that makes it quite easy to tweet a message right from your smart phone.  (Note: You’ll want to be sure that if you are including links to your website that it is mobile ready – meaning your website will either automatically convert to a mobile version of your website or is responsive, and will automatically adjust itself to show on a smart phone screen.)

2.  Who To Tweet To (How to attract followers)

The messages you “tweet” will only be seen by people who are following you. That means, you can tweet 10 times a day but if you have no followers, no one will see it except you!

If you are new to Twitter, you will want to begin by inviting everyone you know to ‘follow you’.  Post your Twitter link on all your other online platforms – your website, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, etc. Include a message “follow us on Twitter” in your email signature with a link to your Twitter profile. Twitter also has some great apps that will allow you to include your latest tweets on your website, with a link to your Twitter profile. This lets your website visitors know that you are active on Twitter and read your latest tweets. If they like what they see, they may click it and choose to follow you.

Seek out Trendsetters and Cheerleaders

cheerleader_megaphone_launchnowTrendsetters and cheerleaders are people who have many followers. When it comes to new technology, Trendsetters are the first ones on the scene. They line up to be one of the first to own the new iPhone. They call ahead and pay a premium to reserve the first edition of the latest video games. Money is no object when it comes to being the first with the latest and greatest in technology.

Cheerleaders are natural born promoters. They are passionate about sharing news, events and stories from others. Oprah Winfrey, Dan Rather, Jimmy Kimmel and other journalists make it their business to be cheerleaders but there are thousands of others in the twitosphere who are natural born cheerleaders as well.

Many trendsetters are also cheerleaders –more often, trendsetters are self-serving. Owning the latest and greatest is not enough; they need to shout it from the rooftops that they own it, share pictures of it and of themselves using it. They give reviews and like to recommend and advise those of us who were not as quick on the draw. They share the pros and cons of why we may want to join them – or not, although in most cases, they will not admit they made a bad purchase until it has been replaced by the next greatest thing since sliced bread! lol

Both these types of people will be more likely to share your tweets.

Whether you choose to add as many people as you can or start slowly and be more discerning about whom you choose to follow is a unique and personal decision. When I first started out on Twitter as @IAmZelda, I searched through people with common qualities to my own, (marketing, copywriters, spiritual people, etc.) and added them to my list of people I was following. As a result, most of them followed me back. As I began tweeting, others – most likely people in their networks, started following me and in most cases, I choose to follow them back. I was mildly discerning in that I did not follow anyone I felt was providing services or products that felt unethical to me or that were not of a G-rating.  Within three weeks of tweeting once a day about 3-5 times per week (on average), I had about the same number of people following me than the number of people I was following – about 600 followers in total. Had I worked it every day and tweeted more frequently, that number would have been more. After that time, the frequency and number of tweets I put out were significantly reduced – and so was the number of new followers I obtained. Since Twitter is not one of my main social media channels I choose to invest a lot of time in, I must admit that I do not tweet every day. Even still, the number of followers has grown slowly and steadily. I have noticed that when I do take the time on Twitter, it always results in a few more followers.

Alternatively, I started a new Twitter account for a Women’s Christian Magazine – @FaithforWomen.  Again, I sought out a few trendsetters and cheerleaders to get me going. However this time, I was much more discerning in whom I chose to follow. As a result of following less people and spending significantly less time on Twitter, the number of people who follow me back on this Twitter channel is much less. It is growing very slowly but in most cases, these followers are my target customer.

3. What To Tweet – your messagingbirds_on_stick_figure_800_clr_9144

Tweeting for the sake of tweeting is not enough. With Twitter, as with any other social media channel, the objective is to be social –and that means, having a 2-way conversation with others.  If someone likes what you tweet, they can choose to “re-tweet” it. That is like forwarding your message onto their list. When someone re-tweets your message and everyone on their list reads it, some of them may like wha they read and will choose to follow you directly.  For any business wanting to grow your following, posting tweets that encourage ‘re-tweeting’ is a great way to gain added exposure and get even more followers. The most popular things that get re-tweeted are:

  • famous quotes
  • tips & how to’s
  • jokes and funny anecdotes
  • links to ‘free’ events, good, solid learning, special offers, or cutting-edge information

4. How to Tweet

If there is one thing I would love to carve in stone or scream from the rooftops to businesses large and small using social media, it is that social media is intended to be ‘social’.  I cannot count the number of business owners who write to me about or complain in some other means – like a LinkedIn forum, about not getting the results they want from social media. When I look at their accounts, all I see are posts (or tweets) – with little to ZERO interaction. It’s all about them!!  The key to ALL social media channels is to be “SOCIAL”.  That means, engaging in 2-way conversations. Unless you are Jusin Bieber writing to thousands of tweens around the world, nobody cares what you had for breakfast!  If you want to use Twitter effectively as a business professional, there are right and wrong WAYS to tweet, as well as right and wrong ways TO tweet.

To get the most out of twitter, you want to keep it interesting. That means, your tweets should include a combination of different types of tweets (listed above).

Ways to engage with your followers on Twitter:

  • Have conversations with others
  • re-tweet some of their tweets to your audience
  • comment on their tweets, provide feedback or additional comments to what they wrote
  • answer their questions
  • Highlight their tweets as a ‘favorite’

People love the attention of being ‘retweeted’ and ‘favored’. When you do this, many times the recipient will include your link in a thank you comment, such as “thanks @IAmZelda  for retweeting my message” …See what just happened? They included my Twitter name in their comment, which went out to their entire audience. I have had great success commenting on famous celebrity’s tweets, Like Cathy Ireland, and when she answered me back, I gained new followers – hers!

Having a Twitter chat exchange, like we were, is like letting our followers listen in on a private conversation. It strikes their curiosity and will most often lead to more follows as well.

You can also do a search for the term “follow back”. These are people who have put in their profile that they will follow back everyone who follows them. Most of these people have lists so large that the chances of them seeing your tweet messages – before it gets bumped off by the thousands of newer tweets – are slim to none. Still, many do have very large followings, so these trendsetters could potentially help to attract more targeted followers to your list.

5. Mastering Twitter – Using Hash-tags and more

Hash-tags (the number symbol on your keyboard – usually above the number 3 “#”) are used in Twitter to categorize tweets. Let’s say you are tweeting about FengShui.  You can use a hash-tag before the word (ie:  #FengShui ) to categorize it.  When people do a search on #FengShui, Twitter will use this word to filter out every tweet on Twitter and only show them the tweet messages – from you and from others, that include this #FengShui hash-tag. When Dancing with the Stars is on television, they include the hashtags – #DancingWithTheStars and #DWTS in their marketing. Everyone who watches the program and wants to comment or vote will use  #DancingWithTheStars or #DWTS  in their tweets.  Dancing With The Stars can then filter on these hash-tags to only see the comments that directly relate to them.

You can make up your own hash-tags but if nobody is using them or knows they exist, then your efforts will be pointless. Twitter will show you which hash-tags are trending and popular. Look through commonly used, popular hash-tags, find some that relate to your business, and get in on the conversation. Doing so will bring you more followers. Many hashtags are related to holidays, special occasions, or events. Keep up on what’s going on so you can use relevant hashtags in your messages that will engage you with others and attract more followers.

As you get to know Twitter, you’ll discover some fun games that people play.  #FollowFriday is a popular, ongoing Friday hash-tag tweet game that happens every week. People will use this hashtag #FollowFriday followed by some names they are recommending that their followers should add to their own networks.

Play around with Twitter, add pictures and videos, tweet often and frequently, mix it up, and be social.

By using these simple strategies, you will become a master of the Twiterverse in no time!!

Have fun!

Sally

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