Often, business owners try Facebook out as their first venture into social media marketing. They know they need to have a Twitter presence too (because their audience is there), but they often drag their feet, finding Twitter intimidating or believing it’s complicated. The truth is Twitter is no harder to use than Facebook; it’s simply different. But no worries; we have you covered. Here are 8 Twitter hacks to make successful tweeting easier:
If you’ve been on Twitter for an extended period of time, you’ve seen a Twitter chat and party or two. Maybe you’ve participated in or hosted one or two! It’s one of the ways brands and businesses are connecting on Twitter. Most importantly, chats and parties are a direct connection to your current audience and to the audience you’re trying to reach. We’ve had tremendous success in hosting Twitter parties for some of our clients! Our efforts yielded participation rates of up to 233 (averaging 185 per party) people and 8,194 tweets in just one hour!
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you can probably tell we’re all aflutter about Twitter. Even though we wonder why Twitter is so darn difficult for people, we’re big advocates for using Twitter as part of your overall social media strategy. It’s a powerful tool for building your business.
What do you do when the ideas just don’t flow as readily as you’d like? What can you do when you’re long on enthusiasm but short on compelling ideas for tweets? No worries! We’ve compiled a list of ideas you can use to get you through those difficult times as well as great resources for finding content to share.
Creative Ideas for Compelling Tweets
Once you’ve been tweeting a while, you’ll develop a formula or a style that makes it easier to come up with consistent content many times a day, virtually every day of the week. If your style is primarily content curation, over time you’ll establish a list of trusted sources for finding just the right stuff for your Twitter followers. You’ll get in a groove so that tweeting won’t become a chore. But in the meantime, you may need some prompts.
Here are 12 prompts that will get you thinking about things you can tweet about. Pick a few every day, and change it up from day-to-day. Each of these prompts is good for hundreds of tweets over the course of a few months.
12 Prompts for Quick and Easy Twitter Content
- Tweet a link to a blog post you agree with and add a comment (on the post) that mentions one of the points in the post.
- Share a photo of something you pass on the street that relates to your business in some way.
- Share a link to your own blog post and ask people a question about it.
- Pose a question to your followers asking what they think about an issue that’s hot at the moment.
- Start a conversation. Respond to a question someone asked or simply comment on something someone said. Then keep the conversation going, back and forth once or twice using @ mentions.
- Answer the question, “What’s inspiring you?” (as in, “Today I’m inspired by…”)
- Answer the question, “What’s bothering you?” (obviously, keep it relevant).
- Share a link to a video that you think might be of interest to your followers.
- As you go about your day at work, notice the behind-the-scenes image or story that you can share with your customers, like a work-in-progress.
- Tweet an inspiring quotation.
- Retweet the best tweets of those you admire.
- Share a link to a news story related to your business and comment on it.
Keeping a list like this handy so you can refer to it when you’re having a Twitter writer’s block can help you keep up your Twitter content and make it easy and fun at the same time.
Resources for Links to Share on Twitter
You may only get 140 characters (for now!), but by linking to an article, blog post or website, you open a door to a whole new world of information. Sharing links is one of the best ways to use Twitter for business. It shows that you are a valuable source of information, and by choosing the most useful information for your community, you ensure that people will come to count on you, and respect your knowledge of your field. There is a firehose of information out there, and anyone who can be trusted to find the best of the best will be rewarded with followers and retweets.
Here are several of our favorite resources for finding Twitter content to share, to help build your stream:
- Google Alerts is one of the easiest tools to use. Go to the site and choose the subjects you want to know about. Google will email your chosen content from news, the web and blogs based on the frequency you select.
- Addictomatic is a fun and, ahem, addicting aggregator to use. Their tagline of “inhale the Web” is fairly true, and they take content one step beyond Google’s results by bringing in information from Yahoo and Bing.
- Paper.li is a tool you can use to automatically curate content on a wide range of topics and arrange it in a magazine-style format. The tool is very easy to do and can automatically Tweet your paper and send it via email too!
- If you know there are key bloggers whose content is regularly worth sharing, add them to your RSS reader and search them daily for the best posts of your favorite bloggers.
- AllTop is a significant help in finding new blogs to add to your reader. Search for topics and AllTop will return results for you.
- When you’re feeling short on inspiration, go to listen to a Ted Talk. Not only are you likely to get inspired, you may just find some great content worth sharing.
- Of course, there is always your own Twitter feed! Build a list of people you follow that Tweet about the topics you’re interested in. Or, type a term or phrase in the Twitter search box to find new and interesting content to share.
Try some of the above ideas, and then be sure to come back and fill us in on how they worked out for you. Have bright ideas of your own? We want to hear them! Where do you find the best content to share on Twitter? How do you come up with engaging ideas? We’d love to hear your ideas on this topic. Share them with us in the comments section!
You know the influence of Twitter. It is, after all, a powerful and engaging social media platform. But, if you’re not following anyone and no one’s following you, it’s neither powerful nor engaging. You need followers (beyond your family and friends), and you need to be following other interesting Twitter users too. So, how do you do that? We have you covered. Here’s a quick guide to finding people to follow on Twitter
How to Find People to Follow on Twitter: Make the First Move
When you’re just starting out on Twitter, you’ll want to find people to follow who will satisfy your objectives. You follow them, and a significant number will follow you right back! You may just want to lurk a bit and listen in on conversations at first. You may want to connect with influencers like journalists or bloggers, or you may want to find other people with similar interests. No matter what you’re trying to achieve, one of the most targeted ways to connecting with like-minded people is to search Twitter bios.
How to Find People to Follow on Twitter: Try FollowerWonk
We think FollowerWonk is particularly useful for searching within the content of people’s bios, so you can get to the specifics people include there. It’s one of the best places to source Twitter users to follow.
Once you log in to FollowerWonk using your Twitter account, you’ll see a large search box. Let’s say you are a classical musician and you’d like to find people with the words ‘classical music’ in their bio who live in New York. You can add the phrase “classical music” in the search box and expand your search by choosing the small link below, entitled “more options.” Those other options include URL, number of followers, name and location. Go ahead and choose your location since that’s what you are most interested in.
When you run the search, FollowerWonk not only delivers your results, but provides a list of people that tells you how long they’ve been on Twitter, what their influence is, how many followers they have and how many times they’ve tweeted. The bio will tell you virtually everything else you need to know. So much information at your fingertips!
You’ll be able to decide if you want to follow a musician, a music blogger, a politician who loves classical music, or all three. You never know what kinds of conversations you’ll have or where it could lead until you start listening, sharing information meeting people with similar interests on Twitter.
When you’ve chosen from this richly annotated list of potential people to follow, you can look at the people they follow (since birds of a feather. . . ) and follow them. Before you know it, you’ll have collected yourself the most highly focused, fascinating community of people to talk to, listen to and share information with, all with a few clicks.
Exciting isn’t it? But wait! There’s more.
How to Find People to Follow on Twitter: 4 More Tools
Crowdfire is an app that lets you follow people by hashtag, location or even people following other Twitter users. It’s easy to use and also allows you to see a list of people that aren’t following you back.
2. Tweet Stork
Tweet Stork delivers recommendations to you based on tweets related to your own, users with lists similar to yours or users that retweet the same type of content you do. Just select your option and Tweet Stork will provide a list. You can even follow others without leaving the site.
SocialBro (now, Auisense) has a host of tools to help you grow your Twitter followers and find people to follow on Twitter. Their targeted filtering capabilities help you find some of the most engaged people you can follow.
4. Twitter Advanced Search
This is Twitter’s own search tool. It’s become more robust over the past year or so and is definitely worth a look. It even allows you to include a search for sad or happy face characters or questions.
If you find a lot of interesting users, organize them into Twitter lists for easier conversation management. Of course, we’d never recommend following another user simply because they match a few bits of search criteria. Take a few moments to read through their Twitter bio and tweets to determine if the user is truly a good match for you. If he or she is, follow and be sure to engage!
To get what you want, you typically have to give a little something, and Twitter is no exception to this rule. Go ahead and find like-minded people to follow. Before you know it, you’ll have a long list of followers too.
I do a lot of social media training, which I really enjoy. I work with small business owners, executives, front-lines social media managers, and people who are trying to gain skills for their next job.
I’ve trained on social media strategy, on blogging, and on just about every platform out there: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. As well as Twitter.
And it’s really remarkable: Every person I’ve ever trained on Twitter seems to think it’s the most difficult and confusing of all the social networks. So I’ve spent some time thinking about why this is the case. Here’s what I’ve concluded on what makes Twitter difficult.
1. Twitter is Open-Source
Unlike Facebook, which has built in apps and metrics and functionality, Twitter is open-source. Anyone can build tools and uses for Twitter that get widely adopted by others (like Hootsuite, my favorite way to use Twitter), and it’s not always easy to figure out what all of those tools and uses are, because they’re not baked right into the platform. Even some of what we think of as native Twitter functions, like hashtags, were homegrown by users.
When you start out on Twitter you only need to learn Twitter, but in fairly short order you then get a handle on some of these outside functions or tools. Whether it’s a tweet scheduling app, a measurement app, or a trackable link shortener, you won’t get far (as a business tweeter) without the help of some third-party tools.
2. Twitter Is Not a Network
Twitter itself has repeatedly said that it’s not a network, it’s a media platform. Unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, you can follow someone without them following you back. The public nature of everyone’s feed makes it very well suited for non-networked media campaigns and engagements. Certainly, you can use Twitter to network, and it’s a very powerful platform for that, but there are a myriad of other uses for Twitter beyond the networking aspect.
Use Twitter to provide customer service, create a mini-newsmagazine for your business, hold interviews, throw online events, or write a novel. One of my favorite twitterers is @arjunbasu – an author who writes 140-character short stories on Twitter. He’s not engaging socially, he’s creating art with his tweets. Anyone can follow him and be amused by him. No question, that’s media.
3. Twitter Has a Secret Language
Twitter has so many nuances and little-known tricks, it’s very hard for a new user to figure it out and it may be years before they learn them all. In part, Twitter was built that way – the 140 character limit necessitates short-form commands and functionality shorthand. It’s kind of like an MS-DOS command prompt, from back in the day.
A few of the little-known or often overlooked native Twitter functions that trip people up, or that they don’t often know about, include:
- If you use an @username as the very first piece of content in a tweet (if the @ is the first character), that tweet is only seen by that person and anyone who follows you both mutually. It is amazing to me how many people don’t know this, really through no fault of their own. This is definitely the #1 “insider” thing that I get to teach people.
- You can follow someone by typing “follow username” (with or without the @ symbol) right into the Compose Tweet box
- You can message (direct message) someone by typing “d username” (with or without the @symbol) right into the Compose Tweet box
- Twitter has very useful List functionality built in, which helps segment the people you follow so you can be sure to see the tweets of people who matter most to you. Once you’ve added people to lists, you can view just the tweets of the people on a particular list. This is great for people who say “Twitter moves too fast.”
- Use Twitter’s Favorites functionality to bookmark tweets you want to refer to or share later. If you Favorite someone’s tweet, they’ll also get a notification (if their notifications are set up to receive them), which will show them that you engaged with their tweet.
My advice to people who are intimidated by or feel they can’t figure out Twitter: be patient. Jump in and start tweeting. It will take a while to build your following, so use that time to connect to people who know you well (and will completely forgive any faux pas you make) and experiment with the platform. And remember, everyone makes mistakes: there are very few things that are truly dreadful on Twitter.
Now go forth and tweet! And definitely get in touch with me (here in the comments or via Twitter, natch) if I can answer any questions about Twitter for you.
Ever wanted to know how to use social media advertising for your business, particularly your B2B business? Look no further – here’s our guide to advertising on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
We cover general advertising tips, plus capabilities and use for each of the three major social ads platforms.
Feel free to download and share this eBook direct from Slideshare. (Hint: View the Notes for the presentation by clicking on the Notes tab next to comments and statistics.)
And of course, if we can assist with your social media advertising programs, please don’t hesistate to contact us!
Twitter is one of the big boys when it comes to social media marketing. If you’ve yet to begin using it for your business or don’t know how to use it well, this post is for you! The following articles will get you up to speed and help you use your Twitter account as an effective marketing tool.
Maybe you’re new to Twitter. Maybe you’ve been using the social media site for years but only for personal connections. If you’re just now considering the social media platform for marketing purposes, this article can help. It provides everything from basic instructions for creating a Twitter profile and understanding Twitter lingo to tips for planning your strategy and building a following. Click here to learn the basics of using Twitter for marketing.
Once you have the basics of Twitter marketing down, you may benefit from some additional ideas for using it for your business. This article provides information about ways to do the following:
- Connect with mobile users via Twitter
- Use search options to find relevant opportunities
- Connect with journalists
- Improve your search engine rankings
What else will you learn? You’ll also discover how to use your tweets in conjunction with Google Alerts to get search engine traffic and monitor what others are saying about your company. Read more about lesser-known ways to use Twitter.
The fact is that everyone makes mistakes. It’s all too easy to make a misstep here and a glaring error there. Fortunately, others have tripped and fallen before you, and you can learn from them. The author of this article, Timothy Carter, provides the details you need to avoid common problems, ranging from posting at the wrong times and sending vague tweets to being boring and messing up your privacy settings. For instance, something as simple as failing to follow other Twitter users is a mistake that may hold you back. Read more about common Twitter mistakes.
You can learn a lot from the successes of others. According to Mark Fidelman (writing for Forbes), engaging via Twitter requires companies to develop an emotional connection with their followers and effectively spread not their own message but an industry-specific one. Fidelman provides a list of 10 things companies of all sizes can learn from 25 of the most engaged brands on this social media platform. For example, telling stories, working with influencers, and driving emotion are among the top things you can do to better engage your audience. Read the reasons these top 25 brands do engagement so well.
We all know that Twitter is a household name when it comes to social media, but just why is it so special? What makes this social media platform the success it is? I’m a huge, and therefore hugely biased, user and supporter of Twitter, and there are over 200 million other active users.
These are just a few of the ways that Twitter differs from other social platforms and why I think it’s poised for ongoing success.
Twitter As an Everyday News Source
Twitter is quickly becoming an important source of information about events as they happen around the world. Many political analysts have attributed the spread of the Arab Spring to Twitter. And according to Outside the Beltway, the news of Osama bin Laden’s death hit Twitter before newscasters shared it, coming a full hour before the President addressed the nation.
Some people may even use Twitter as their main source for certain news stories. Tweets about Hurricane Sandy were the lifeline for many, rather than (or in addition to) tuning in to traditional news sources. Perhaps this is because the short chains of information (limited-character tweets) fly so fast and furious that users feel able to keep up with the news as it happens, without really having to break their own strides.
“News,” of course, can include mainstream news as well as news about a local area, a particular business, a group of interest, and even news of friends and family members.
One problem with Twitter as news source is that there are many Twitter-shared hoaxes and much spreading of incorrect information. Still, this issue is not unique to Twitter and is unlikely to cause it to lose any popularity contests when compared with other social media platforms.
Worldwide Leaders Use Twitter
Leaders from around the world apparently recognize Twitter as a worthwhile platform. According to DigitalDaya, three fourths of leaders from around the world have a Twitter presence and use it to communicate with their citizens. Based on December 2012 data, 123 world leaders had Twitter accounts – out of 164 countries. Even the Pope now tweets, in 9 languages including Latin. Clearly, Twitter is the mainstream and not solely the mundane.
Twitter for Online Events
Twitter isn’t just about news, however. Like other social media platforms, Twitter is all about engagement and connections. Marketers can take that a step further by creating and participating in Twitter parties. Essentially, a Twitter party is an online event, centered around a particular topic or company, that allows people to virtually gather and discuss a particular subject. To participate, Twitter users tweet using the Twitter party’s hashtag. That hashtag is all that is needed for users to follow the conversation and jump in to actively participate. Brands often use Twitter parties as a way to boost interest in their products and services, increase engagement, and gain followers.
Twitter chats are similar to Twitter parties, except the conversation focuses on a topic of interest that isn’t necessarily associated with a brand. Twitter parties are more likely to be focused on a brand’s promotional interests. However, some businesses do sponsor Twitter chats, getting some exposure for their business while keeping the conversations to more general topics.
But Will Twitter Make Money?
Of course, what investors want to see is that Twitter will make money. Valued at around $11 billion, Twitter is going to have a huge IPO, maybe as soon as the beginning of 2014. The platform demonstrates plenty of potential, showing user growth, making changes (such as to its photo app) to remain competitive, and adjusting its promoted tweets to draw more clicks. Some other tech companies have had less-than-stellar initial public performances, but some experts speculate that Twitter may just have the right things going for it to excite investors.
How do you think Twitter stands out among other social media platforms? What makes it so different and special?
Wondering if Twitter can help your business? The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Read on for 10 ways you can use Twitter for your small business:
1. Build Brand Awareness
One of the top benefits of using Twitter for business is that it helps build brand awareness. With Twitter, you can share information about your brand with consumers far and wide, reaching out to customers and prospects in your local area, city or state; across the country; and around the world. Even a very small company can build big brand awareness with Twitter.
2. Monitor Conversations
Just think of how effective your business would be if you knew what others were saying about it. Twitter offers you the chance to monitor conversation about your business in real time. Then, you can take what you learn and use it to build on your strengths and make improvements as necessary.
3. Promote Content
Twitter makes it very easy to promote your content. Whether you have an informative website, engaging blog, instructional video, or moving presentation to share, your Twitter account provides the perfect opportunity to drive traffic there.
4. Engage Your Audience
Often, businesses do a good deal of talking at their prospects simply because of the marketing approaches they choose. Twitter, however, allows you to do things a bit differently and engage with the people you seek to influence. When you focus on engagement, customers and prospects feel more connected with and loyal to your business.
5. Find Business Contacts
Twitter is a great resource for connecting with other business people. Whether you’re looking for business people with whom to network, potential partners or people to trade referrals with, Twitter makes connecting with others easy.
6. Keep Up to Date
Keeping up with industry news and updates can be important in making the right choices for your business. Thanks to Twitter, it’s easy to stay informed of the latest news and trends.
7. Demonstrate Your Desire to Help
Consumers often feel fatigued when hit with just another sales pitch. Twitter allows you a way to work up to the sale by sharing information and resources. This encourages customers and prospects to view you as helpful rather than simply after the sale.
8. Provide Customer Service
Twitter isn’t just for chit chat and sharing, you can also use it for customer service. Outdo the competition by providing fast, responsive support online.
9. Find Your Newest Employee
Use Twitter to find your next star employee. Just think, your followers are people who are interested or involved in your industry. At least some among them will be interested in your available job.
10. Enjoy an SEO Boost
Links from social media accounts to your website help boost your search engine rankings and drive traffic to your website. And when your links are retweeted again and again? Expect to get even more love from the search engines.
How have you used Twitter to help your business?
Twitter is one of my favorite social media topics to present on; as a longtime user (I joined with my first, now dormant, account in early 2007) I’ve found it consistently the most valuable tool in my arsenal. It’s my go-to resource for news and information daily; I’ve learned about nearly every major world event in the last three or four years through my Twitter stream. I’ve also made amazing connections through Twitter, including wonderful friends as well as clients. Accordingly, I feel pretty passionate about why everyone should use Twitter (though I know not everyone will) and I think that passion comes through when I present about it.
This presentation is very brief; I only have about 40 minutes to present and 10 minutes for questions, so it’s a pretty streamlined overview of why writers should use Twitter with some tips and tricks on how to use it effectively.
If you’re a writer, journalist, an aspiring writer, or, well, really anyone who’s looking for quick ideas and solid takeaways on using Twitter, I think you’ll appreciate this.
If you’re interested in more, read the following blog posts:
Steve Buttry: Twitter Tips for Journalists
Tweepi: 5 Twitter Tips for Journalists
Change the World With Words: Twenty Twitter Tips for Writers
Poets & Writers: Thirty Three Twitter Feeds to Follow
Daily Writing Tips: 40 Twitter Hashtags for Writers
Carrie Mumford: Twitter for Writers: Powerful Tool or Evil Time Sucker?
I’m always looking for other great posts to add to my Twitter arsenal – please add them in the comments. And if you were at my presentation, please reach out on Twitter and say hi!
Valentine’s Day is drawing closer and love is in the air. You don’t need a special day to show your appreciation to your Twitter followers; anytime is a good time! Here are 5 easy ways you can show your Twitter community you care:
1. Thank your new followers for following you. Take the time to read each new follower’s bio and make your “Thank you” tweet personal.
2. Retweet their tweets and share their links. If your Twitter followers are sharing good content, help expand their reach and share it with your other followers too.
3. Give them a #FF mention. #FF is the popular “Follow Friday” meme on Twitter. As the name suggests, this is done on Fridays and is a means of recommending other Twitter users to folllow.
4. Follow them back. We don’t advocate follow spam Twitter users, but you can show your appreciation to your Twitter followers simply by following them back.
5. Listen & respond thoughtfully. The biggest compliment one can pay to another Twitter user is to actually read their tweets and respond. It’s simple enough but has the biggest impact.
By taking the time to do these simple things, you’ll not only show appreciation for your Twitter family, your Twitter experience will be that much richer and rewarding for both you and your followers.
The answer is: It depends! When you first join Twitter and get started, you will mostly likely be following more people tand have fewer followers. When you’re just getting rolling, don’t worry too much about your followers.
Find people to follow who truly interest you. Keep in mind that when you follow someone who follows very few people but has many followers, it is not likely that you’ll get followed back. That’s fine. Choose important people to follow, but also choose those with a better balance of following-followers and it’s likely that some will reciprocate and follow you.
Sharing links with your Twitter followers is a great way to share industry-related information, keep your followers up-to-date and, and keep them entertained. To do this, though, you need to be tweeting these links when most of your followers are online and likely to see them. Given time zone changes and the differences in individual schedules, it can be difficult to know exactly when to send tweets for maximum effectiveness; even harder still is to be at your computer, ready to push the send button at exactly those times.
Fortunately, there is a simple, free tool called Timely which takes the guesswork out of Twitter timing and also allows you to schedule tweets in advance, so you can get out from behind your desk. With Timely, your content will get the best possible engagement in terms of link-clicks and retweets. Timely is extremely easy to use, so we recommend it for people who are eager to ramp up their Twitter efforts and start to publish a lot of content.
In order to use Timely, simply go to Timely.is, connect your Twitter account and enter a tweet and a link. The tweet will then be scheduled for you, in order to generate maximum exposure based on the Twitter habits of your followers. Timely even offers a toolbar button so you can submit and schedule links as you’re browsing the Internet and come across something relevant and interesting to your community.
Timely determines the best time for your tweet is by analyzing your last 199 tweets for link clicks and retweets. It also keeps a historical record of the tweets you send through their service, allowing you to see the number of clicks, retweets and reach over time. Looking at your tweet history, you’ll learn a lot about what people responded to, shared and clicked on. And that’s one of the greatest features of social media. You’ll be able to experiment, learn from your results and get better every day.
Do you use a Twitter scheduling tool? Have experience with Timely or any others? Please share your experiences in the comments.
Note: Social Media School has no relationship with Timely except as a user.