Social Media Strategy: Twitter Optimization
What if we were to tell you there’s a free method of connecting with over 500 million internet users, 140 million of whom live in the United States? With no cost other than your time, you can define your brand, gain customers, scope out your competitions’ leads and even perform market research.
Twitter is among the most powerful tools for growing and defining your brand. The micro-blogging platform has grown into an international wealth of user-generated content that could offer insight into what your clients really want or help you connect with industry thought-leaders. We’ve compiled 10 of the most effective ways to get started on Twitter:
1. Schedule Tweets
Make scheduling your social media posts part of your daily routine. Every morning, arrive at your office, pour a cup of coffee and sit down in front of Hubspot, Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to schedule around 24 hours of social sharing and content curation. While scheduling Tweets will ultimately save time, make a point of scheduling separate times during the day to monitor your mentions and retweets to keep your engagement rates up.
2. 140? As If.
Many first-time Twitter users start to panic when they realize they’re limited to 140 characters per Tweet. While 140 is a hard limit, the optimal length for generating shares and link page views is actually about 20 characters less. Experts recommend you ditch 140 characters in favor of 120 to increase your chances of being retweeted and gaining exposure in your followers’ networks. Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella has also discovered that click-through rates fall when Tweets exceed 130 characters.
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3. Build Twitter Lists
Make a point of retweeting others to increase your own engagement rates. The easiest way to monitor some high-quality accounts for great content is to build Twitter lists. While public lists are a powerful tool for building thought leadership and monitoring your favorite Tweeps, don’t forget to build some private lists for keeping tabs on your competition.
4. Think 4:1
Social media strategist Melinda Emerson recommends using a 4:1 as a baseline for content creation versus content curation. Write four Tweets of your own, and retweet someone else once. Sharing others links is a great way to make friends and build relationships, and it’s always a wise maneuver to return the favor if someone retweeted you. Keep in mind that sharing value and protecting your brand should always a top priority, so make sure you’re only sharing the best.
5. Engage Thought Leaders
Engage high-value Twitter users by following them and sharing their best content. Click-through their links and comment on their blog. No genuine relationships are built overnight, and understand that many powerful Twitter users have extremely busy feeds. Keep engaging, commenting thoughtfully on their blog and sharing to build a relationship.
6. Don’t Stop at One Tweet
Sharing your business blog content on social media networks is never a one-shot chance at going viral or gaining page views. Continually share your content over time, particularly high-performing “evergreen” content that’s still relevant to your followers. Each new piece of business blog content can even be shared up to three times in a single 24 hour period, as long as you’re spacing out the shares.
7. Don’t Hide You
Every great brand is at least a little human, and many of the greatest personal brands on Twitter aren’t shy about who they are. Inbound marketing evangelist Laura Fitton (@Pistachio) often Tweets about Motherhood, and social media superstar Gary Vaynerchuk’s (@GaryVee) alliance to the New York Jets is no secret. We can’t forget about Sam Mallikarjunan (@Mallikarjunan) who has an extreme passion for cigars and good scotch along with one of the best bio’s on Twitter. While only you can determine what your boundaries are, it will almost never hurt to share insights on pop culture, media, sports and your interests outside work.
8. Don’t Just Reply
When you hit reply on Twitter or start a Tweet with a user’s handle, the content is only visible to you, the other party and any mutual followers. If you’re issuing a response that’s relevant and valuable to your entire network, place a period before the Twitter handle (.@username) to extend your content’s reach.
9. Join a TweetChat
Twitter brings people together through TweetChats, scheduled times based on a common interest. Small business owners convene every Wednesday night at 8pm Eastern Standard Time to talk about challenges and successes (hashtag #SmallBizChat). For a full list of ongoing, active TweetChats, see here.
10. Adopt, Utilize and Create Hashtags
Are you Tweeting about small businesses? Include the #SMB hashtag. Utilize hashtags fully to increase the searchability of your content and connect with other users. They’re a powerful tool for keeping tabs on dialogue about your industry or relevant topics. When you’ve gotten the hang of how to use hashtags on Twitter, try creating your own. Ensure it’s not currently being utilized by any major brands or competitors and it doesn’t have any negative connotations. Invite your followers to share experiences with the hashtag or start a social media competition and track entries by Retweets or use of the tag.
How Are You Using Twitter to Grow Your Small Business Brand?