November 23, 2010

10 Tips to Make Twitter Work for Your Business

BY John Paul Narowski IN Sales and Marketing 3 Comments

Ten Tips for Twitter Success Twitter can be a powerful marketing tool for your business, if you use it correctly.

While this microblogging platform often gets a bad reputation as a time waster, it allows you to deliver your message to millions while also listening to what your customers want, your competitors are doing and what the market is up to.

Like other forms of social media, there is a fine line between being a black hole of time and being useful to your business. It all comes down to implementation. If you understand how to properly use Twitter as a marketing tool, then you will get the results you want. If you just sign up for an account and throw some tweets up there, you’re going to get minimal results.

Here are ten quick and easy tips to turn Twitter into a powerful tool for your marketing needs:

Write High Quality Tweets

If you do any marketing on the Internet, you have probably heard the saying, “Content is King.” Whether you’re talking about creating blog posts, videos, webinars or anything else, if you churn out quality content people will listen to you. The same is true for Twitter.

You want to write tweets that are informative, helpful and most off aren’t constantly pushing your product. Everybody wants to buy something, nobody wants to be sold to. Of course you’re going to promote your business and products, but just not in every tweet.

No “Meforming”

If you have ever read someone’s updates online about the minutest goings on in their lives, then you have been exposed to “meforming.” Tweeting about what you had for lunch, where you went shopping, the cute thing your dog and so on bring no value to your business. Save it for a personal account or just don’t do it at all.

Repeat Your Tweets

The very best Twitter marketers out there repeat their tweets anywhere from 3 to 6 times a day. They do it for the same reason that CNN repeats their top news stories every hour; not everyone is going to catch it the first time.

As more tweets come in from other people they are following, your tweet will be pushed down the list. By the time they check Twitter you’re message might be out of sight and out of mind.

Be Prepared for Negative Feedback

There are millions of people on Twitter and not everyone is going to like you, your point of view or products. Be prepared to accept that and let them just go. You can’t please everyone and if you pander to the small percentage that gets their undergarments in a bunch over your tweets, then you’re going to be missing out.

NEVER Buy Followers

This point can’t be stressed enough. It’s very tempting when someone comes along and promises you thousands of followers overnight and guaranteed audiences. These services are bunk and they are nothing but spammers; the social media version of snake oil salesmen.

You have to earn your followers if you want real results on Twitter or any other social media platform. This brings us to our next tip…

Find Relevant People to Follow

In order to build a solid following, you need to follow people. It’s common courtesy on Twitter to follow people that follow you back. By extending the invitation to other users that have similar interests, you will get more followers yourself.

Twitter has a built in search tool, you can use third party software or directories to find people that you want to share your Tweets with. But don’t just rely on the lists these searches produce. You need to got through the users, check out their bios and read some of their recent tweets.

This will help you screen out spammers, inappropriate content and people who may not be receptive to your marketing messages. For example; if you search for “second amendment” and just follow everyone on that list, you’re going to get people who think the law allows citizens the right to have guns and those who don’t. By just adding everyone, you’re going to have a lot of negative stuff coming your way.

Be Helpful

There is no better way to gain a following on Twitter and been seen as an expert in your niche than to offer real help to people, for free. Search Twitter for questions people are asking in your field of expertise and see if you can’t help them out.

Don’t offer to sell them anything or charge for your help. You just simply tell the answer, send them a link or point them in the right direction and you will be surprised how soon they and many other people are following you. Build up this following and when you do decide to throw a commercial link up there, they will be more likely to follow it.

Be Human

While “meforming” serves no purpose, that doesn’t mean you can’t show that you are a human being and have a personality. Add a picture to your profile (pictures of very attractive people in skimpy clothes don’t count and you’re not fooling anyone) so we can see what you look like. Talk about your experiences at your job or with customers. You can even select a screen name that makes you appear more personal and less corporate; think “BrianatXYZCompany.”

As part of this make sure you respond to people’s direct messages, thank them for adding your and for retweeting your stuff and so on. Showing that you are a real flesh and blood person and not some corporate drone goes a long way to increasing your legitimacy on Twitter.

Simplify with Tools

There is a plethora of third party applications out there that can help you simplify your Twitter and social media lives. I personally enjoy Tweet Adder and HootSuite.

Tweet Adder allows you to search Twitter for users that are interested in your area of expertise and them follow them automatically. Instead of adding hundreds of followers all at once, you can automate the process and spread it out over time to make it look more natural. You can also automatically unfollow people who don’t follow you back in a certain amount of time (keep your ratios looking good), send “thank you” direct messages and many other awesome things.

Hootsuite allows you to write your Tweets in advance and schedule them for later. You can also add other social media accounts like LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace and many others. While Tweet Adder also has the ability to send out your saved Tweets, if you use more than just Twitter, HootSuite is well worth the $5.99 a month it charges.

Don’t Just Talk, Listen

Use Twitter to not only get your message out but to find out what’s going on in the trenches of your market. Read Tweets from customers, competitors and influencers in your space.

Ask questions, link to polls or surveys and ask for advice. Sure, you’re going to get some crazy stuff coming back, but ignore the outliers and focus on the good stuff.

I’ve been hacking at various business ideas since I was 16. I’m a full stack developer and love crafting user experiences. I’ve been nose deep in code since I put the legos down, and built several successful businesses in the process. I’ve lost some hair, gained some experience and throughly enjoyed the journey.

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