First Steps to a Healthy Twitter Account for Your Business

Twitter is an integral part of your content marketing arsenal and shouldn’t be disregarded as merely a social media gimmick. It is one of the biggest platforms out there with more than 100 million monthly users worldwide and holds the real potential to turn followers into customers. What’s even more interesting is that Twitter has many advantages over Facebook. You can easily engage with an audience that are yet to ‘follow’ you, which unlocks an incredible audience-building asset. It’s a platform that you can build from the bottom up and while it is an inherently simple interface, there are a few tools and applications that can be utilised to boost your Twitter engagement.

Getting to know the ins and outs of Twitter is hugely useful in understanding its potential as a powerful marketing tool.

Getting Your Profile Started

Twitter allows a level of personal modification that Facebook does not – something akin to the old MySpace platform. This means that before you start building an audience, you will want to make sure where they land is eye-catching and in line with your brand model – something that is recognisably you. This means taking care of the following:

Profile picture – This can be either your brand or company logo or a more personal picture. We’d recommend the latter. Twitter is a very personal social media platform and is a great for your audience to get to know a little more about those behind the products. This isn’t the case for everyone, in many ways it depends on your company size, but it could be an effective way to turn your audience into loyal customers. Keep in mind any old personal picture won’t do – something engaging and in line with your brand will be the most effective.

Custom background – Twitter allows custom background which will straight away tell an audience something about your brand and will intrigue further investigation.

Biography – Make sure your bio is short, snappy and descriptive. Work out how to best describe who you are, what you do, and what people will get out of following you on Twitter in the most concise and engaging manner. You only get 160 characters!

Tweets – From the get-go your Tweets need to be engaging. It is well-known that great content will get you a long way, and your Tweets need to reinforce that what you have to say is worth listening to. However, remember that Twitter is a social media platform and people like to see engagement not just sales pitches. Mix it up and engage with people.

Spying on the Competition

If you’re struggling with how to approach using Twitter in your certain field, having a look at what your competitors are doing is a great place to start. No matter what it is you do, there is a good chance someone out there is doing something similar.

Taker influence from the best, not just the most relevant, and take note of other people’s creativity and candour. There’s no shame in it – we are all influenced by each other. Note their mistakes too – what seems to get a good response and what doesn’t – and steer clear of those traits.

Twellow is a great tool for finding others in your field and building your audience based off their activity.

Gaining a Following

Twitter is incredibly powerful in its ability to help you gain a widespread audience, and there are a few great tools ways supplement this growth.

Twellow again is a great way to gain followers in a way that is both geographically relevant and market focused, it is also free to join. Manage Flitter is a great way to filter out followers who are not worth follow and to engage those who are. There are many ‘fake’ accounts on Twitter, but thankfully there are tools like these to weed them out.

Another great way to grow a targeted audience is to make sure your Twitter handle is across every other platform you use. This means making sure it is readily available on your other social media accounts, on your website, and on your email signature. This will mean that everyone that you have direct contact with will be able to access your account with ease.

Twitter’s search feature is an extremely useful way to find your audience in very specific ways. You can search for particular terms and discover who is Tweeting about that topic. Depending on what they are Tweeting about, you can either follow them and hope that they follow you back (using this technique there is a good chance they will), or if they are asking a question that you have an answer to, you can divert them directly to your site with a reply post.

Using Twitter lists is a good way to create a feed which is specifically tailored to your industry. You can create a list feed of up to 500 users, and the only thing in this list will be Tweets from them. This is an excellent way to find out what is being talked about in your industry, to generate content ideas, to retweet or to respond to questions and share your resources.

Finally, monitoring and using hashtags is powerful tool for reaching a much wider audience. By attaching the hastag (#) prefix to a word or phrase, your Tweet will automatically be linked to that word throughout the entire Twittersphere. Popular hashtags are shown on the left side of your Twitter feed. If you have a relevant addition to that topic, this could mean you finding a worldwide audience which can result in many new followers.

You can also search for hasthags and be presented with a feed specifically on that topic. Using generic hasthtags can be a great way to gradually build a relevant audience. For example, if you ran a subscription service for dog owners, adding #dogs or #doglovers into your post would be a great way to reach a specific audience. You can also tailor your hashtag searches to your location to reach a more specific audience.

Watching the Way You Interact

The way you interact with people on Twitter can have a marked effect on your growth. Like we said before, it is one of the most personal platforms out there and one of the most effective ways for your audience to discover more about your brand. This means there has to be an element of charisma to your interaction with others. Steer clear from pitching products or services directly without first establishing a relationship – this comes across as spammy and with yield a negative reaction from your audience. Engage with new followers in a friendly manner first and they will instantly recognise a connection with you and your brand and in turn be more responsive to your Twitter activity.

This of course will become difficult when you begin to get more followers and may eventually become too difficult to manage. Management systems like Social Oomph and Hootsuite are extremely potent tools for managing new followers on Twitter, schedule posts and reply to messages.

Watching The Way You Tweet

When it comes to the content of your tweets, there are a few things you can do to boost your audience’s engagement. Unlike other social media platforms, Twitter is very limiting in the amount and type of content you can post. In many ways that is part of its charm and one of the key reasons why it is such a popular platform. Despite the brevity of your posts, here are somethings you can do to optimise what you’re writing.

Make people laugh: Humour is a great tool for promoting a positive response from your audience. People love a laugh, use it to your advantage.

Share content: Adding links to other content in your Tweets are a great way to engage people and encourage them to share your content. Make your audience do the work for you.

Tweet at the right time: It’s simple – the more people that see your Tweets, the more chance of engagement and sharing those Tweets will have. Tweeting in the afternoon is usually the best time roughly around 5pm.

Keep it simple: You only have 140 characters for your Tweets so keep it simple. Avoid using long words and find the most concise way to say what you need to say.

Post less: Over-Tweeting can be damaging to your readership. Only post the best content, not everything that crosses your mind.

Share media: People love images and videos. Use them wherever possible and you will see a marked growth in positive responses from your audience.

Social media is an unprecedented tool for content marketing and your digital strategy. While the whole process of gaining a following and posting constantly may seem a little daunting at first, getting started is a relatively simple process that, if you follow correctly and build upon, will see you relish in the results.

by Radi Safi

Radi Safi is the Creative Director at IYBI. In 2012 he launched Happy, a music blog and media company.
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