Oooook. I have been feeling very anxious about this week’s Top Ten. Overwhelmed. Do you understand the sheer amount of info out there on these topics? Check out Pinterest. Just do a quick search for “social media tips”. I’ve even set up my own Pinterest board just for this stuff. There is a TON of info on how to use social media for your business. And my goal? To whittle it all down to just a few key points, and to keep it simple so that I, and all my readers, can use it. Sounds like a pretty lofty goal, right? Yeah, it does to me too.
So even though I think I might be crazy to continue this, here goes…
Top Ten Social Media Sites for Small Business Part Two
I’m terrible at Twitter. I have an account, obviously, but I go long periods of time without actually tweeting anything. I have a whole bunch of other social media accounts tied to Twitter so things still get tweeted, but most of it’s automated and therefore much less personal. But before we get into why this is a bad thing, let’s get the basics down.
Twitter = France?
Twitter is kind of like a foreign country in the social media world. It even has its own language. Here are a few terms that you will absolutely need to know (and know how to use) to be successful on Twitter:
These terms, of course, are just the beginning. If you’d like to dig a bit deeper into the Twitter-language, go here. Some of them are really silly, but a lot of them are very useful.So you want to start a Twitter?
But why? Why is it important to my business to do this whole tweeting thing? Whoa there buddy, hold your horses. First thing’s first. You need to set up the account before we can delve into any deep philosophical questions like that.
First you need a user name. This is how people will find you, and should be easily recognizable. Mine is @madebymegshop, so a Google search for my Etsy shop will come back with my Twitter in the results. People can also easily search for me on Twitter. This is different from the display name. I used my actual name for that.
Then you need a profile image so people know that you’re not a bot (not an actual person, in other words). You can use your business logo here, but I’ve chosen to use a picture of myself. Personally, I like knowing that there is a real, live person behind the business, but that’s just my preference. I’m not alone though. According to PC Magazine, uploading a photo that shows your face can result in as many as ten times more followers. It just adds a more personal touch, in my opinion.
You also need a good description of who you are and what you’re about. Again, this shows potential followers that you’re real.
Finally, you can include the link to your website. If you don’t have a website, link to your blog or your Facebook.
How the heck do I use this thing?
Hell if I know. Really. But because I’m relatively masochistic, I’ve been doing my research.
First of all, you need to develop a following. This is obvious, right? I mean, you can talk and talk about interesting, valuable things all day long, but if no one is listening it’s kind of like the tree falling in the forest with no one around. No one cares, because no one is seeing it. If you’re brand new to Twitter, this means you need to start following people. You can follow blogs you read (most have social media buttons on their homepages to make this easy), real-life friends, and people who run other small businesses (even your direct competitors). If you know what your target market is, go ahead and do a hashtag search for a term that relates, and follow users who talk about it. But don’t follow every account that you come across, because there is a limit to how many accounts you can follow. I hit the follow limit fairly quickly, so I use a service called JustUnfollow to weed through the accounts that I follow, and get rid of the ones that I can live without.
Once you’ve followed some people, you are going to want to build those relationships by interacting. You can do this by mentioning them, retweeting them, or DM’ing them. And if someone takes the time to mention or retweet you, make sure you respond. It’s actually pretty easy, and I think I’ve got a good handle on this part. Interacting is what normal people do in real life, right? So this part should come naturally.The Deets
So you have a Twitter account. And you have a following. And you’ve made some good connections. You’re done, right? NO! You aren’t done yet! There are some details that you need to keep in mind here…
*Keep your tweets short and sweet. You are only allowed 140 characters, and you want to leave room for other users to reply or retweet. Also it’s been proven that tweets that are less than 100 characters long have a 17% higher engagement rate. You want that, trust me.
*Know when to tweet. Just like on Facebook, there is an optimal time/day to tweet. On Twitter, your best days to tweet are Saturday and Sunday, with Wednesday and Thursday showing the lowest rate of engagement. You do want to try to tweet several times a day, but know that your most important tweets should probably be focused around the weekend. And on those days, it seems that the best time to tweet is between 5pm and 6pm.
*Use relevant hashtags, sparingly. You want people to be able to find you, but you want to make sure that the right people are finding you. Try to only use one or two hashtags in each post.
*Don’t be afraid to ask for retweets. You will easily and effectively amplify your message if you do this. But make sure that you use the word “retweet”, instead of just “RT”.
I’m spent. I hope that helps build a greater understanding of how to use Twitter, but really, I’ve just skimmed the surface. There is much, much more info out there that can help you get into it deeper. I’ve found that Pinterest is a great place to go for that info, or at least a good place to start.
So, do you use Twitter? Any helpful tips you’ve found to make Twitter work for your business? Any questions that I didn’t answer? Feel free to comment, and I will certainly help if I can.