What can 140 characters at a time actually do for your business? For those of you that don’t already tweet, twitter is an interesting platform to engage with your clients and your community. There are a few strategic tips that will help you constantly engage and look great doing it, while helping you avoid the pitfalls of making detrimental error. Some of these tips will also help become more efficient by helping you stay involved without spending a huge amount of time. Here are our top five things to keep in mind when using Twitter as your business platform.
Posts are limited to 140 characters so it is important to keep it short and sweet. Characters include your links, punctuation and any hashtags you use so keep your messages direct and to the point. Etiquette tip: don’t take all 140 characters, leave some room for when people retweet so they don’t have to cut your message.
Pictures for your Profile and header must stay within the required pixels:
81×81 for your profile pic and 520×260 for your header.
This easy infographic from Constant Contact helps narrow down the right size for all your social media.
- To gage the right portion of business and fun, consider the rule of thirds for social media posting.
1/3 – your brand and about your business
1/3 – share other content about your expertise but not your content
1/3 – respond to questions, make personal connections and share fun content
You can play around with the ratios a bit based on day to day but you definitely want try for an even distribution so you don’t become someone that your twitter followers ignore. Keep it all fresh.
- DON’T TYPE ALL CAPS….even if this is a critical/tragic issue, no need to seem like you are yelling at your followers.
- Know the difference between RT, DT,@ and #
RT- retweet to all of your followers
DT-Direct Tweet that goes directly to the person you are responding to.
@ – @Formuladone will catch the attention of Formula Done and go to all your followers
# – is a hashtag. Calls out a topic
2.“Be personal, not pitchy”
It is important to represent who you are but be careful not to be too salesy. Twitter is a conversation not a sales pitch. You want to be personal and engaging. Avoid public pressure points by avoiding religion, politics or other sensitive topics. Above all be nice!
This is about customer service and providing a public area where people can strike up a conversation with you. If they have a question, this is where you can provide them a speedy answer. If you have a topic you are researching, type it into the twitter search and find others in the twittersphere that can help answer your questions. It is a great place to grow your own mentors as well as prospects.
Some folks may not be clear on the hashtag. Here is the definition when you google Hashtag;
This is a great tool for getting your posts noticed, promoting an event or just identifying a topic. You probably have seen these, they begin with the # sign and are written key words typed with no spaces. According to twitter helpdesk, the following are key to using hashtags in a tweet.
- People use the hashtag symbol# before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search.
- Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets marked with that keyword.
- Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end.
- Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.
- If you Tweet with a hashtag on a public account, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your Tweet
- Don’t #spam #with #hashtags. Don’t over-tag a single Tweet. (Best practicesrecommend using no more than 2 hashtags per Tweet.)
- Use hashtags only on Tweets relevant to the topic.
4. Maximum views
Twitter is a constant feed and as someone tweets it pushes each tweet before it a little further down the newsfeed. There is a fine art in determining the best time to post for your business.
Jay Baer @jaybaer (the Social Pros Podcast wrote recently; that you want to do three things when determining when to post;
- Think About Daily Patterns
Many of my followers are businesspeople that work in advertising or public relations agencies. Having lived in that world for nearly 20 years, I know first-hand that days are often FULL of meetings, many starting or ending at the top of bottom of each hour. 9 am. 10:30 am. 1 pm. etc. Consequently, I presume that many followers check Twitter quickly in between meetings. Thus, I try to send most of my tweets just before or after these top and bottom of the hour windows. 9:33 am. 11:02 am. 2:04 pm. etc. What patterns are there in your world that might dictate Twitter usage?
- Repeat Your Tweets
Yes, it’s unpopular with the social media purists, but if 94% of tweets are RT’d within the first hour, you need to tap into multiple Twitter audiences throughout the day. I tweet my blog posts 3 times daily, with a different headline each time. This becomes even more important if you have followers in many time zones.
- Methodically test your tweet times. Use multiple bit.ly or ow.ly short URLs and test tweeting at different times of day. Give yourself the best chance of being RT’d by influential followers by knowing when they are likely to be on Twitter. Twitalyzer provides a useful graph of this information. You can also see a graph of how often you’ve been retweeted, by hour.
It can be immensely helpful to know the different tools available to make your life easier for scheduling posts. A great article, “27 Free Twitter Tools for Small Businesses” by Sig Ueland
details the following tools and also gives you an over view of the plans they offer.
- Sonar Solo
- Digg Deeper
While the list can feel overwhelming, it is important to remember they are just tips and tools that are available to you and you are not required to use them. So experiment, test, and see if they are helpful. If not, move on to a different one. You will surprise yourself how quickly you pick up on what will work for you and your skill level. So dive in and see how your posts do. As you engage with your followers and share clever and funny material and you will see your engagement flourish. Most of all have fun and be yourself.