When you decide to set up a Twitter feed for your SME, it starts off quite simple. You open your account, make sure that everything is nicely suited to your company’s branding, and there you go. Hello world! You’re on Twitter. But how do you get noticed? How do you make sure that your voice is heard above the chatter, without turning into a spammer yourself?
Twitter is changing constantly, both due to the changing tweeting patterns of its users and to changes in its APIs (which determine how the software should behave). Trying to keep up with it is a full-time job, but it doesn’t take much to educate yourself on the basics and make sure you get the most out of whatever time and energy you are able to allocate to the task.
Assess your priorities
It’s vital you need to keep an eye on incoming customer tweets at all times. But when it comes to sending out your own stand-alone tweets, its position on your list of priorities will depend greatly on the type of business you are. Having a social media presence is much more important for a startup specializing in an online product than for a startup that sells, say, fresh cream cakes. Look carefully at how much time you have and Twitter’s relative importance to your business.
Determine how many tweets to send
When you’re busy (and we know you’re busy), you need to lay down clear goals for what you want to achieve. If you don’t do that, chances are you’re just going to drift into the office each day and spend your time putting out fires. That means that you need to make plans for every little thing that you want to happen – like tweets. So how many tweets are you meant to send out, anyway?
Fortunately for us, plenty of people have invested their time in finding that out. What you probably don’t realise is that you can tweet an awful lot before you start to annoy people, simply because so many of your followers will never see most of your tweets. In other words – what might feel like spamming to you is not even going to register to most of your followers.
You need to be tweeting at least two to five times a day in order to have any impact at all – that single tweet every two days is pretty much a waste of your time. However, SMEs shouldn’t really be going over the ten-tweets-a-day limit (phew, that’s a relief huh?). Any more than that, and you start to give the impression that you’ve really got nothing better to do.
Work out when (not) to tweet
With more than 500 million tweets sent each day, there’s not too much attention to spare for any individual tweet. In fact, it turns out that a tweet is only really ‘current’ for 18 minutes. Yep, that’s how long your tweet gets attention (and retweets) for. So what’s the best time of day to send that tweet in order to squeeze the maximum number of viewers out of those 18 minutes?
The problem is that there’s a huge amount of information available on the topic, and a lot of it is contradictory. But one school of thought says that 5pm in the US eastern/central time zone(or indeed in your local time zone) is the best time of day for retweets. If you want clicks (i.e. people actually clicking on the links you send) then between 1 and 3pm from Monday to Thursday is the prime time. And you should certainly steer clear of any time after 3pm on Friday.
You could also try a free analysis tool like Tweriod, which analyses both your tweets and those of your followers to see when you, personally, will get the most response.
If you are new to Twitter, it might all seem completely overwhelming. Statistics, algorithms, changing APIs – it all sounds like way too much to handle! Don’t panic – just jump in. Most other SMEs on Twitter are not Grand Twitter Masters either, but a grasp of the basics is enough to get you out there and tweeting. And don’t forget to enjoy yourself!