Twitter is a mystic beast for those who have only ever dabbled in social media, and may only have a Facebook page. Having a quick look at local dentists alone showed me that about 20% of them had Twitter accounts, but more than 60% had Facebook pages.
To help you bridge the gap and step into the Twittersphere, I’ve got some tips for you on what to do once you have your account created. Think of this as Twitter 101 if you will.
- Twitter is call social media for a reason, your main purpose is to connect, chat, share and help others.
- Twitter is essentially blogging, but with a 140 character limit. It can be called micro-blogging.
- You don’t “own” your posts, so I’d recommend being mindful of what happened to your business if Twitter disappeared tomorrow. Keep your main content/suggestions on something you do own, like your website, and simply use social media to syndicate it.
- Be human and authentic, don’t automate. The auto-reply messages seem quite slick, but for regular Twitter users, they’re a huge annoyance because they’re invariably a sales pitch. This is why they’re often ignored.
- Automating your tweets, sending automatic direct messages and automatically re-following others is like sending a cardboard cutout of yourself to a business networking meeting. It’s about the quality of your social network, not the quantity.
- Twitter is like an introduction to another person and each social media platform is like another layer of getting to know each other. Just because they don’t follow you back, doesn’t mean they never will. It just means that you’re still a stranger to them and they need to get to know you better before they commit to following you and adding your tweets to their already cluttered news feed.
- Software like Hootsuite is a great way to sort through your tweets, retweets and direct messages. I wouldn’t recommend automating your posts though. Twitter users expect a prompt reply and if you post something and they have a question about it, you should be available to respond.
- Most people think that they should sell themselves on Twitter. In fact, the opposite is true. You’re better of posting engaging content the majority of the time with the occasional pitch. People who post about what they ate for breakfast or sell all the time lose followers.
- If you’re going to post content that belongs to someone else, give them credit for it, don’t pass it off as your own.
- To get connected with others in your industry, select the hashtag(#) button at the top of your page and type industry relevant content. In my business, I might search for #seo, #marketing, #ppc, #ghostblogger, #dentist, or #orthodontist to find people that would be relevant for me to follow. Once you follow them, you’ll start seeing their posts in your news feed.
- Read a good book lately? The odds are good that the author is on Twitter. I always follow authors in my industry and tweet about it when I’m done with a tip I’ve learned from their book. They love the flattery and often reply.
When you’re ready to start your first Tweet, here are some suggestions:
- Post a link to an industry relevant article
- Retweet posts from people you’re following
- Converse with others by replying to their tweets, or call out to them by using their Twitter handle in your post, like “Hey @MktgResultant, great blog article about what to post on Twitter!”
Once you’re settled in set-up, it’s a great idea to insert your Twitter feed into your website. This allows visitors to see up-to-date content about your business and it helps build your following. If they see that you’re on Twitter, it makes it easier for them to become a follower.
Adding social media icons to your website are a great idea as well. I would recommend adding them into your footer though. Avoid inserting them in the header because you want your website visitors to stay on your site, not leave! If it’s in the footer, it allows people to join your following if that’s what they’re seeking.
Overall, when you visit your personal Twitter home page/news feed, it should feel like you’re stepping into a room full of friends and acquaintances in the business world. Engage with others as you would in person and you will prosper in the Twitterverse.