Getting your small business on Twitter can feel really overwhelming. “What are tweets?”, “What’s a handle?” and, “How is it different than Facebook?” are all common questions for Twitter newcomers. If these terms remind you of the sweaty palms you got as a college student while your professor handed out your calculus mid-term, then fear not little flock… Twitter really is a gentle giant.
For now lets put the Twitter jargon aside and focus on the meat and potatoes of getting your business up and running on the Twittersphere (sorry last one). To do that, here are 3 practical tips to help your small-midsized businesses gain presence on Twitter:
1. Pick a Handle
Choosing a handle is like picking your call sign. It is how your fans/followers will find and interact with you and it’s important to nail the first impression. If possible try and keep your profile names consistent across your Social Networks to make it even easier for fans to find/follow you.
Along with choosing a memorable Twitter handle, you’ll want to put in the time to fill out the rest of your profile. You only have a limited number of characters to express yourself so make them count. As you write your bio the most important thing is to be yourself, or your company’s self. When a user reads your business profile you want them to hear your voice, and also have a very clear idea of what type of information you share.
2. Find Your Audience
Running an effective Twitter account starts with finding your target audience and knowing who your competitors are. In high school if you wanted to be recognized as knowledgeable, athletic, funny or whatever it may have been, you gravitated towards other groups of people who had similar interests. Chances are you started by finding out where they sat at lunch, seeing what they were talking about, and what grabbed their interest.
Next, you wanted to grab their attention and be seen as influential. For the most part, a good pass during football practice, or even a well-timed witty comment is all it took to get noticed. The same goes for Twitter and your business. You want to see who is talking about your industry, what they are saying, and which people/businesses are influential. At that point you’ll be able to decide how to start engaging and what type of content you need to be sharing.
3. Ready, Set, Engage
One of the best ways to manage your company’s Twitter account efficiently is to create a content calendar and schedule all of the information that you want to share ahead of time. There are several services that provide message scheduling which will automatically post messages and share content on your selected networks. Scheduling tweets in advance means no more waking up early to send out info, or trying to find a minute during your lunch break to hunt down a link and share it with your followers.
Remember not to self-promote too much or you’ll lose the attention of your intended audiences. You want to show that you share great content whether or not you created it. Unlike Facebook, with Twitter it is 100% acceptable to share content more than twice a day. Just make sure that you space your tweets out by at least a half hour so that you don’t clutter the feeds of your followers.
If there is a conversation taking place about your industry or something that your business deals with directly, then join in. You can retweet content that you think your followers will benefit from, and engage directly with other users. Simply saying “thank you” to someone for the content they shared can be more than enough to spark their interest and get them to look at your business. Who knows, maybe they’ll follow your account and turn into a sale one day.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat!
Building a following takes some time so don’t expect to be the most popular business on Twitter over night. See how your audience responds to the content that you share and then change accordingly. Social Media, or even the Internet itself, is still in its infancy and as it changes we’ll need to change too. Learning to adapt and adjust your strategy will keep you from falling behind the curve and getting left in the wake of your competitors.
“It’s a social network… Be social!”