It’s still too soon to call the demise of Twitter, although personally I feel as they continue to make updates that aren’t enhancing nor strengthening the platform. Most recently, they’ve removed the visible counts available through their social buttons on sites. I can’t imagine why and it appears that it could be having an adverse impact on overall engagement when you look at Twitter’s traffic across key measurement sites.
Enough complaining… let’s see the good stuff! The wealth of real-time data on Twitter is unparalleled online. While Facebook may be the conversation online, Twitter continues to be the heartbeat in my opinion. Facebook highlights and filters the majority of data, so usage and engagement are severely skewed. Not so on Twitter.
What Makes Twitter Different
Twitter is a stream of data that continues to fly by. The more accounts you follow, the more rapid the stream. But it’s unfiltered, not targeted, and always visible. And unlike other social platforms, the accounts you wish to speak to are approachable. Just throw an @douglaskarr and you can grab my attention and write directly to me. Where else is that possible online? And if you’d like to do some research, just search for the term using a hashtag, like #marketing.
Get Started with Twitter
- Signup – and try to find a great Twitter handle without underscores and complex combinations. Not all the great handles are taken; we’re always surprised that we’re still able to find accurate handles for our clients. I’d highly recommend having both a personal account and a corporate account rather than overlapping the two. With a brand, promotions are a bit more expected than on personal accounts where you just might irritate folks trying to follow you.
- Set Up Your Profile – no one trusts or follows an egg icon, so be sure to add a photo of yourself for your personal account and a logo for your company. Take the time to customize your color scheme and find a beautiful background image that will capture peoples’ interest.
- Keep your Bio short and sweet! Trying to stuff URLs, hashtags, other accounts and abbreviated descriptions isn’t very compelling. Here’s my tip – what’s your expertise and what makes you unique? Put them in your bio and folks will find and follow you through searches.
Download the Twitter Apps
Whether you’re on desktop, smartphone or a tablet, there’s a native Twitter application waiting for you! If you want to go all out, you can download and get started with TweetDeck – a full-width platform with all the bells and whistles.
Time to Tweet
- Tweets – Twitter has chatted about expanding the character count of tweets beyond the 140 characters. I sure hope not, much of the art and attraction of Twitter is the quick consumption of a well-devised tweet. It’s like writing a haiku; it takes practice and some thought. Do it well, and folks will share and follow.
- Use Hashtags – double your engagement by selecting at least one hashtag, two is better. If you want to do some hashtag research, we’ve listed a ton of platforms (RiteTag is really cool!). Using effective hashtags will get you found as Twitter users are researching the platform.
Grow Your Twitter Reach
- Search for your industry’s leaders on Twitter, follow them, share their content, and engage with them when you can add value to the conversation.
- Search for your customers on Twitter, follow them, help them, engage with them, and retweet their content to create a better working relationship.
- Don’t be a pest. Avoid automated direct message platforms, writing to people unnecessarily, and using grow your follower schemes. They’re irritating, and they artificially inflate your numbers without truly showing you how well you’re performing.
Promote When You Provide Value
- Got an event coming? Schedule out Tweets that countdown to the event with tips on how your followers will benefit from attending.
- Provide discounts when you can, Twitter loves a great coupon code or discount.
- Don’t just promote, provide value. Listening to followers’ issues and providing some tips publicly will pay off in dividends.
- Remember that Tweets fly by… when you have something great to share, share it a few times over.
Integrate WordPress with Twitter
- We love the TweetThis Shortcode Plugin for WordPress Tweet This! because it allows us to put quotes that can easily be published on Twitter just by clicking the link. Download the plugin from WordPress!
- While the retweet counts are no longer published next to Tweet buttons, the ability to share your content on Twitter is still worthwhile. We really love the Shareaholic plugin for its fast loading and great layout options.
- And if you’d like to autopublish your content to Twitter, the Jetpack Plugin publicize feature does it perfectly!
Remember, Twitter is a marathon, not a sprint. Grow your following organically and over time you’ll see the benefits. Much like compounding interest, you’re not going to retire after your first few tweets. This infographic from Salesforce provides some additional insight… I’m not sure you’ll be a pro (if there is such a thing), but it is good advice.