While many brands have a presence on the big three social networks - Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – most are still not utilising the platforms to best potential. There’s an abundance of opportunities arising from social media, connections to be made, business to be generated, but knowing where to start can difficult. How do you use twitter for business? What people do you follow? What’s a realistic target to aim for in the social space?
Each of the big 3 is significantly different, and getting the most out of them requires a dedicated approach. The three steps below are some very basic tips about how to establish a twitter presence. Twitter is loaded with potential leads and clients and it’s crucial that you have an active presence, both in an output and monitoring sense.
The basics of Twitter are essentially ‘The Three C’s’:
Once you’ve gone through the set-up process and put together a profile, you need to connect with relevant people in your field. Clients, business associates, industry advisers – locate the relevant people with a Twitter presence and follow them to establish a connection. One method to establish a twitter presence is to find a business similar to yours and go through their ‘Followers’ and ‘Following’ lists and pick out the relevant profiles you want to connect with or monitor. Another useful tactic for how to use Twitter for business is to search by keywords and hashtags relevant to your business - Twitter has numerous search options, including the ability to search by location and date range (there’s a heap of great tips on how to steal your competitor’s followers in this piece). When you follow these connections, many will follow you back, getting you on your way to establishing your Twitter presence.
So now you’ve got a brand profile, you’ve got followers, and you’ve got a blank text field right in front of you. Now what do you Tweet? 140 characters can seem like a novel when you’ve got nothing to say.
The first thing you should be tweeting about is any special offers or things you want potential customers to know about your business. The second thing you should be tweeting is unique content created by your brand. If you don’t have content, you need to start making some, and ideally content that your followers will want to read and share to maximise re-tweet and reach value. Creating great content is a separate process that requires a dedicated effort in your overall strategic plan so I won’t go into it here, but getting readers to your content is the next phase in the process, and where Twitter can help. Put together a concise and enticing Tweet with a link your brand post, include an image or video, if you can (one study found tweets with images are 94% more likely to be re-tweeted) then tweet it out.
You should re-tweet the link to your brand content three to five times throughout the day in 4 to 6 hour intervals – people are online at different times and Twitter's real-time stream moves fast, so it's good practice to send out links a few times to ensure best reach. You can use apps like Followerwonk to check the best times to reach your followers and social management tools like Hootsuite to schedule sends. Each time you tweet it, consider including a different quote from the article or a different catch line to maximise interest. This will help to increase your twitter presence. From there, you should maybe tweet it out three times more the following day, dependent on the article’s popularity – if it’s been highly shared, maybe tweet the link out again and keep doing so at extended intervals till share numbers decline – it’ll be different dependent on the industry, and you’ll work out which works best for you, but the balance you need to strike is between ensuring maximum reach value for the content and not spamming people and potentially losing followers because of it.
You need to be reading as much content related to your field as you can - reading through twenty or more blog posts each morning should become the norm. From these posts, you should tweet out links to great content, making sure you note the Twitter handle of the article’s author when you do. This acknowledges the author’s work and lets them know you’re sharing their content, helping you network with other leaders within your industry. If you are thinking about how to use Twitter for business, a good approach is to send links in new tweets of their own more often than re-tweeting, as it ensures your profile shows up in your followers' feed, giving your brand more exposure (though re-tweeting also has networking benefits). You need to be careful how many items you share to avoid flooding people’s feeds, and you need to ensure the content you share is of high relevance to your followers, not to your business alone, but sharing content and acknowledging and engaging with creators is a critical step to increase your twitter presence. The number of items you should share each day will depend on content quality, but you should aim for three as a base, stretched out through the day.
These are some very basic notes on creating a Twitter presence for your brand, but these key steps will form the backbone of your social media presence. It won’t take long to familiarise yourself and become part of the social space, but establishing your brand is an ongoing process. As with all social media, you are there to build relationships, and as with any relationship, you need to engage, assist and contribute to increase your twitter presence. Your unique content will be key to this, and will strengthen your brand’s position, enabling you to maximise exposure and convert connections into business opportunities.