Ah, Twitter. Although the interface hasn’t changed much (until recently), the way people are using it certainly has. If you think back to Twitter a decade ago, you may recall it being somewhat of a public diary or to-do list. People would tweet what they are eating, where they are doing, how they are feeling, what bus they are currently on – everything and anything. While there are some who still update the Twitter world with every single thing they are doing, the majority have shifted focus and Twitter has become a powerhouse for networking, building a community, landing job opportunities, branding, and even virality.
Twitter has become one of my favourite social platforms and I continuously work on building my community, networking, creating valuable content, etc. Wait, wait…here is the shameless plug. Because there is so much value in Twitter, I decided to create a little guide on how to maximize and optimize your Twitter presence. Here are a few tips, tricks, do’s and don’ts when it comes to the wonderful Twitterverse!
First things first, complete your profile
We live in a time where bots and fake profiles are extremely prevalent and usually it’s easy to tell. The profiles are often missing information or have some weird spammy message in the bio. In order to let other users know you are in fact a legitimate person with viable value to offer, it’s important to complete your profile. This includes:
- A profile picture: either of yourself or the logo for your brand. It’s important to make sure your profile picture represents you. I’m sorry, but the Joker pics are a little….just don’t do that, please.
- A header image: like your profile picture, this should be something to represent you and what you have to offer. Not sure how to make a Twitter header? Try Canva – there are a ton of templates + they follow the dimensions Twitter set out so no pixelated images!
- A bio: you’re allowed to be selfish when it comes to your bio. Your bio should briefly cover who you are, what you do, what you CAN do for others, and any achievements. You can include a hashtag or two, but don’t go overboard. #no #one #likes #reading #this #btw
- A link to your website: I don’t really HAVE to explain why this is necessary. If you don’t have a website, you can also link to another social platform of yours – yay for cross-promoting!
- Your location: no, not the exact coordinates of where you are. The city you are in will suffice. This is especially important for businesses. When people stumble upon you on Twitter, they shouldn’t have to dig around to find out where you are.
- Your birthday: um, cool birthday balloons, duh.
Have a plan of action
Have you ever tried to build a piece of Ikea furniture without the manual? You think everything is going swimmingly and by the end of it, you have a desk with three legs and a drawer smack-dab in the middle. Manuals act like plans and when it comes to social media, having a plan is crucial. When devising a plan for Twitter, ask yourself the following:
- What market do I want to cater to?
- What demographic will get the most value out of my content?
- What tone do I want to have?
- What type of content do I want to share/create?
- What am I looking to get out of Twitter?
Take those questions, write them down, type them out, whatever medium you want to utilize and answer them. The answers to these questions will help you construct your Twitter strategy. For example, here is what mine would look like:
- What market do I want to cater to? Fellow marketers and business owners
- What demographic will get the most value out of my content? Digital marketers, creatives, startup founders, small business owners, Millennials, Gen Y
- What tone do I want to have? Casual and informative – sharing valuable information in a light-hearted, humorous manner
- What type of content do I want to share/create? Insights, marketing jokes, blog content, more visuals (infographics, graphics)
- What am I looking to get out of Twitter? Networking and community building
The answers don’t have to be long. The information above was enough for me to create a strategy, build my community, and build up my voice in the space. I cannot stress enough how important it is to plan.
Okay now ask yourself WHY you are on Twitter
Every plan has an end result, ergo, your plan should align with goals – short-term and/or long-term. Having goals in place gives your plan purpose. Do you want to gain a ton of followers? Do you want to utilize Twitter to promote your product/service? Do you want to create content that MAY go viral? Whatever it is, make sure you are aware. Set a timeline. For example, I want to get to 100 followers by the end of next month. Having a timeline for your goals will push you to work harder towards them. Think about it: in school, you were given deadlines for work. If you weren’t given these deadlines, would you ACTUALLY do the work?
Build up your value – let the people know what you have to offer
Okay, tea. Some people think that this should be done after building your audience, but I believe it should be done before and during and well, always – always provide value. For the sake of this step, let’s say before. Let me set the scene:
You just created and optimized your Twitter profile. You have a plan in place and a short-term goal set. Your goal is to connect with others in the field, mainly authoritative figures. You begin reaching out to them to introduce yourself. Not a bad idea, right? They see your tweet, click your profile and um, you have nothing. I mean, you have a bio, a picture, and a header, but no tweets. Or worse, you have that tweet Twitter tries to get you to put out when you update your profile picture. They see there is nothing and jump right out of your profile.
Without content, it’s hard for people to determine what value you have to offer them (okay, that sounds really harsh, but you know what I mean). Before reaching out and interacting with every single person you want to, put out some content. Doesn’t have to be a lot, just enough for other users to see that you actively have value to provide.
What should you tweet to get the ball rolling:
- Create a strong pinned tweet. I recommend a video either introducing yourself and what you do or discussing your business and how what you have to offer can benefit others.
- Share insights and include relevant hashtags
- Retweet relevant content – don’t make everything just about you
- Content you have created: blog posts, infographics, videos, etc
Find your peeps
So you now have a profile with actual content on it. Woohoo, you’re getting there. Just a side note, the hardest part of any task is starting so congrats on doing just that!
Building your audience is a critical and long-term step. Why long-term? It’s something you will consistently work at, even if you don’t realize it. Building your audience doesn’t mean following every single person who uses the same hashtags you do. Who you follow should provide value to you. How do you find relevant people to follow?
- Search keywords or hashtags
- View your recommended (if you set this up when you made your account)
- External sources – Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, for example. If you found people on here, check if they are on Twitter as well!
- Take recommendations from other users (for example, tweet out: hey looking to follow some fellow #socialmediamanagers, any recommendations?)
It’s important to also understand that things don’t happen overnight (except sleep…THAT was such a dad thing to say). Your following will take time to grow. The more value you provide, the more people will begin to see your presence in the space. Don’t follow people because you want a follow back. Follow for value and provide the same.
Start some meaningful chit-chat
Engagement. Oh, this is a word that we marketers just LOVE. No, not a wedding engagement, although we get excited about those too! Engagement, in this case, pertains to interactions you have with others and their content and vice versa. Like, comments, reactions, conversation – these are all components of engagement. The worst thing you can do is sit back and wait for others to engage. Ya, you might get some engagement, but this is just downright lazy. Interact with others, start conversations, share your insights/opinions, share other people’s content. Don’t treat Twitter like a one-way street.
On the other hand, be mindful of who and what you are engaging with. The more your audience grows, the more likely it becomes that you will encounter trolls or those who disagree with you. When it comes to trolls, ignore them completely. They just want to get a rise out of you. When it comes to those who disagree with you, be respectful of their opinions and share your side. If they are hostile, rude, or say anything inappropriate, it’s better not to engage.
Side note: Twitter chats are great for immersing yourself in the community, sharing your knowledge, meeting new people, and learning. They are my favourite element of Twitter, just saying. If you are in the marketing space, here are some really good ones!
Consistency is key…cliche, but true
Whether you have started building momentum or haven’t done so quite yet, remaining consistent is SO SO SOOOOO important. A major mistake I see people make all too often is abandoning their efforts if they aren’t getting the results they want right away. Why is this bad? One, you are killing any chance you have of building a presence on Twitter. Two, you now have a “dead” profile attached to your name or business which isn’t a good look in the eyes of consumers. Understand that it takes time to build up your Twitter. Be patient!
Understand Twitter’s Analytics
Twitter has its own analytics dashboard and thank goodness. These analytics hold a lot of power and can allow you to better understand what is working, what isn’t, who likes your content, etc. What info can you get from Twitter Analytics?
- New followers
- Profile visits
- Top tweets/top followers
- Options to compare time periods
- Engagement rate
- Follower interests, gender, income, language, behaviour
- Popular events
Why should you pay attention to these metrics? They can help you understand your growth, your audience, and whether or not your content is working. When it comes to understanding your audience, analytics can give you a great idea of what they are receptive to, making it easier for you to gear content towards them. On the same note, analytics can help you understand your content. If you notice a specific type of content, such as video, is getting significantly more engagement, it may be time to up the ante on video. Oh, also the Twitter Analytics are super easy to understand. No complexity there!
Pay to play in the big leagues
Talk to any marketer and they will tell you the same thing about organic reach – it’s on the decline. Okay, now don’t panic and throw all of your money towards ads, however, consider adding them to your strategy. Ads are essentially accelerators, that’s how I like to put it. Think of an amusement park pass. Most amusement parks offer a fast pass – for an extra fee, you can bypass hectic lines and ride the rides before a lot of other people. That’s pretty much what paid ads do. Accelerate your goals.
Before creating paid ads, it’s important to understand your intent, target market, and budget. Your intent is the goal you would like to achieve through paid ads which could be anything from increased follow count to conversions.
Your target market is crucial so take your time crafting this. You want to tailor your ads towards people who can actually benefit from your products and services. Location and language are also important to consider. If you are a personal trainer based in Canada, it wouldn’t make sense targeting your ads to people in Spain. Put yourself in the shoes of a consumer.
What exactly can you do with Twitter ads?
- Generate more leads/conversions
- Grow your following
- Increase engagement
- Increase link clicks
- App installs/re-engagements
- Increase video views
- Boost awareness
What makes a strong Twitter ad?
- Relevancy to your target market
- Use of visuals (image or video)
- Minimal amount of text
- Properly proportioned images/videos
- Enticing CTA
- A caption that drives engagement
- An incentive if applicable
A few things you should probably avoid doing on Twitter
With the good comes the bad – that was pessimistic, yikes! It’s always important to remember that anything your name or company’s name is attached to will always come back to you. With that being said, you want to ensure you uphold a good reputation. Here are a few things to avoid:
Don’t argue for the sake of arguing
If someone disagrees with you or vice versa, it’s okay to rebuttal, but do so tastefully. Share your knowledge and argument, but don’t downright insult the person.
You don’t have to engage with everyone
I mentioned this earlier, but hey it’s just really important to know! You aren’t obligated to answer everyone. If someone is being rude, harassing, inappropriate, or just seems like a spammy bot, it’s best to just ignore them.
Don’t follow people for the sake of following or out of fear they will unfollow you
The days of f4f (follow4follow) are behind us. Please leave them in the past, my goodness. Just like engaging, you aren’t obligated to follow everyone and don’t feel bad if you don’t either. You want your feed to be filled with useful and valuable content. Also, don’t follow people because you want to hang on to the follower. If someone enjoys your content, they will follow you regardless if you follow back or not. If they unfollow because you didn’t follow back, chances are, that’s all they wanted – a follow-back.
Keep personal views offline
Unless you are a political or religious figure, it’s best to keep these views off of the internet. I really don’t have to explain how hostile the world of online politics and religious debates can be. People can get vicious when it comes to these topics plus they are highly sensitive. If they pose no relevance to your brand, it’s best to just keep them offline.
Overusing hashtags or including a link in every tweet
#this #is #not #a #good #look #in #fact #you #are #probably #having #trouble #reading #it
Hashtags are great for discovering content/people and being discovered, but use them wisely. Ensure the hashtags you use are relevant and please, PLEASE don’t overdo it. 1-3 works perfectly.
When it comes to links, people don’t want to have to open a new page every time they see your content. Don’t link to something every single tweet. It comes across as very “I have nothing to say here, but come to this other place where I do.” Which in that case, why are you on Twitter?
Not sharing anyone else’s content
Sometimes I see people/brands just tweeting and never sharing anything else and I always think, aren’t you sick of seeing yourself so much?
Yes, your profile is YOUR profile, but when you refrain from engaging with other content or sharing value others have, you look very disconnected from the community. Like something and think your audience will too? Retweet that sh*t!
I don’t even have to explain why this sucks. Moving right along.
Building a presence on Twitter can be helpful for so many reasons and Twitter can actually become a stream of revenue (who doesn’t like money dollars am I right?). Keeping all this info in mind will allow you to grow and optimize your presence and hit those goals! Of course, if you need help, feel free to give me a shout. After all, social media is my job. I know, pretty sweet gig.
Now go out there and change the Twitterverse my friends!