I wouldn’t say that I was an early adopter of Twitter (I am the 21,547,942nd user to join) but I was on the social media network early enough when it was still a wild wild west, and having motivational quotes was considered the rage back then and people followed you back because you followed them. Now, Twitter has over 500 million registered users, and has changed a lot since I’ve joined.
Twitter can be overwhelming to those that are starting to use the social media tool. There’s so many conversations going on, and so many different people to follow. To top it off, you’re limited to writing 140 characters per tweet.
Where does a business or person start with Twitter? Here are 6 Twitter marketing tips for beginners.
1) Start Small and Slowly Build
I once had a lunch meeting with someone at Sun Life Financial who was overwhelmed on where to start with Twitter. I suggested that he approach Twitter like any other type of medium and start off with dedicating about 15 minutes of his day using the social network.
Choose a dedicated time during the day, such as lunch time, and spend 15 minutes each day so that Twitter becomes part of your daily habits over time.
This way it doesn’t consume your whole day, and your brain can slowly rewire itself to get used to the multiple conversations that are going on at any given moment. It’s like meditating, you can start off meditating for an hour a day, but it’s quite hard to do that. Approach Twitter in small time chunks to get started.
2) Follow People who You’re Interested In
When marketers are starting off, they often measure the success of their Twitter account by the number of people that are following them, and sometimes buy followers.
Unless your account is being purposely followed by users who are interested in your content, the number of followers really doesn’t mean much. It’s better to have 100 dedicated followers, than 10,000 followers who won’t pay attention to a single thing you’re saying.
In order to build this Twitter tribe, you should follow people that you would like to engage with or learn from. This could be other locals. You can get an idea of some Tweeters who are prominent in specific areas of an industry or a geographical area. Visit we follow since it’s a great tool to start off with.
3) Start Engaging in Conversation with Strangers
Once you’ve started following people, start having mini conversations with people on Twitter. Your tweets can be about comments about a blog post that was shared or a photo that a tweeter poster, or it can be responding to their question. It’s important not to discriminate from the start, but to have fun and meet people like you would at any cocktail party.
I tweeted @MissDestructo on Twitter regarding a comment about playing political bingo on Facebook with words that were popping up people’s Facebook status, such as 9/11 and Illuminati.
We started to have a small chat, but it was her friendliness and openness are what really impressed me. She wrote an article on the difference between left and right brained social media marketers, which is worth a read. And she added me on Linkedin after, if that’s not a great example of social media networking then I don’t know what is.
Just because your start a conversation with someone, doesn’t mean that he’s going to respond back right away, or respond back in general. Twitter users with a lot of active followers generally don’t have time to respond to everything. This doesn’t mean that they don’t read their tweets though.
If you continue to tweet certain people with engaging conversation or share articles of interest, they will eventually tweet back to you. Over time, you’ll find out who the tweeters are that are open to discussion and those that aren’t. Focus your energy on building relationships when starting Twitter, not selling. Your integrity and character will sell more than any tweet can.
Also if you feel there is a tweet that may be valuable to your followers, then feel free to RT it. The authour of the tweet will know and this is also a great way to start relationships with others on Twitter.
4) Share Interesting Content, and do Only a Little Bit of Selling
While Twitter is a great tool for marketing, it’s important to remember that it’s not a place to hock your wares. You don’t want to be known as the stereotypical second-hand car salesman of Twitter.
In order to be able to promote your services and products, you must be able to provide your Twitter tribe with valuable information such as great blog articles, or informing your followers of relevant events first and foremost.
The general rule is engage and share great content 80% of the time, and spend 20% of your time promoting your services and business.
5) Create Lists
As time goes by, you may find yourself following a lot of people. This is when Twitter’s option of creating lists can be helpful in segmenting your followers. This should be done from the very start since it can be hard to locate old followers when the number of your followers start to grow.
The great thing about lists is that you have the option of customizing different lists depending on your business goals. Lists that I have created in the past include media contacts, locals, previous customers, and marketing agencies.
For a restaurant client, I created a list of all the previous customers who had eaten at our restaurant who mentioned the restaurant on Twitter. When business was slow, I would use that list to start talking to customers to try to lure them back into the restaurant. It’s always easier to get an existing customer to come back, then to get attract a new one.
If I didn’t create that list it would have been a nightmare for me to engage with previous customers that had not attended the restaurant for a month or more.
6) Use HootSuite to Manage Your Accounts
HootSuite is a social media dashboard that allows you to manage your social account (as well as other social media networks like Facebook.), and to be able to customize columns of information into one place. This means that you can create a live feed of your Twitter account, and have next to it your lists, and even have a column that has tweets that mention your city in it.
HootSuite will also allow you to shorten links so that you’re able to use analytics to find out what type of content is being clicked on the most to help guide you in what type of material to post in the future.
The dashboard also allows you to schedule tweets so that you can share articles around the clock with your followers, but remember not to spam.
Using HootSuite from the very start can be overwhelming. I highly recommend that you follow principles 1-5 to start off. Once you’ve gotten a hang of Twitter as a tool on it’s own, then move on to the next level and study the different capabilities of HootSuite.
To help you get started with your social media campaigns, feel free to contact us at MCNG Marketing.