The twit-proof guide to Twitter

The twit-proof guide to Twitter

I was a bit of a latecomer to Twitter. While I embraced Facebook and just loved the way it enabled me to get in touch with old friends, see what everyone was up to and stalk ex-boyfriends (kidding!), Twitter seemed too much like hard work.

As a member of Generation X, I found it so fast-moving and felt it was clearly one for the millenials. Besides, who had the time to keep checking their feed and posting umpteen times a day?

Fast forward and I can honestly say that Twitter is now my favourite platform. I find the fact that you only have 140 characters in which to convey your message both liberating and inspiring. If you want to be seen on Twitter, then you’ve got to get creative and nothing excites me more than having to think outside the box.

So, what’s in it for you as a business owner? Oh my goodness, where do I start…

Let’s begin with some stats:

  • 66% of Twitter users have discovered a new small to medium sized business on the platform.
  • 94% plan to buy from one of the SMBs they follow.
  • 69% purchased from an SMB thanks to Twitter.

It works. That’s why so many businesses are on there – and that is one of the pitfalls. How do you get heard amongst all that constant chatter?

I do like a metaphor, so let me start by likening it to a pop concert. The big, famous people with lots of money are on the stage, making a lot of noise and everybody is looking at them. Cadbury’s, Nike, Virgin etc they’re the rock stars.

You and I are in the audience. We are small and insignificant and nobody is going to hear us if we whisper, so we’d better think of something good to say and grab some attention.

We need a metaphorical banner. Something big and colourful that will scream ‘Hey look at me!’whilst everybody is gawping at the main act. Failing that, we could take our clothes off and while there are plenty who do that on Twitter, I don’t recommend it.

I must stress that getting people to notice you on Twitter is not easy and to start, you need to do the basics:

  • Set up a Twitter account – obvious I know, but I did say this was twit-proof. Make sure your header image, relates to your ‘brand’ or ‘message’. This needs to be a landscape shot and if your picture doesn’t fit, try an app like Canva, which will allow you to create a Twitter banner in seconds.
  • Decide on your tone. Do you need to be authoritative to best represent your brand? Or is a friendly, relaxed tone going to be better? Not sure? Seek out your competitors and see what voice they are using.
  • Now, keep note of these competitors, because next, you’ll need to grow your following. I use a nifty little app called Crowdfire. You input all the Twitter handles of your competitors and other accounts similar to yours and the app will then make it easy to follow their followers – in the old days, we called it stealing somebody else’s customers. Some of these will follow you back. Great! Feel the love and then unfollow those who haven’t followed you back. I run my Twitter accounts through Crowdfire on a daily basis. As well as growing my following, it gives me a selection of related content that I can post on my feed if I wish.
  • I’m not much of a mathematician, but I’d say, the rule of Twitter is 5 retweets, shares or general posts for every one promotional tweet. What I am saying is, don’t keep asking people to buy your super duper garden shears or whatever it is you are selling. They’ll soon unfollow you if you do. Ask them once and then share a post about how say, gardening is good for your mental health or 5 tips on how to save the humble bumble bee. You get my drift?
  • Keep your posts short and use pictures wherever possible. Make it human too – we are all hardwired to respond to faces, so try and get some people into your posts. Ask questions and run polls in an effort to engage people. And finally look out for content that is relevant to your brand, retweet it and join in conversations. Twitter is a responsive platform, so you are going to have to dip in and out of it on a regular basis.
  • Finally, Twitter users will talk directly to businesses on Twitter, so be responsive and reply as quickly as you can in a friendly manner when they do.

At some point, you and I are going to have to talk about hashtags, but I think that’s enough for one day. Next time #hashtagsforhalfwits