Today I will be looking at what makes the difference between a Twitter user with thousands of engaged followers compared to the latter, how to brand your profile, how to create a strategy and some very handy tools and resources to help you get the most out of this platform.
To be honest I have never really dived into Twitter and focused much time on it but I know that those that do certainly see amazing results and use it very successfully to market and connect with their audiences.
Let’s get set up
Signing up – If you are brand new to Twitter, sign up here; select a business or personal username that will become your Twitter handle such as @_digitalrahul.
Customise your profile – Go to your ‘profile and settings’ and you can customize your theme colours, background, contact emails, privacy settings ect. If you then click on your profile and then the ‘edit profile’ button you can add in your bio, URL, location, and theme colour. This is where you also add in your 400×400 pixels profile image and your 1500×500 pixels cover photo (Twitter recommends these sizes). Photos can be in any of the following formats: JPG, GIF, or PNG, but not animated GIFs.
Pin a tweet to the top of your profile – There is an option in Twitter to pin a Tweet to your profile so that it is the first things that people will see when they visit your profile page. This can be used in a variety of ways to promote a key message, link through to a product your are promoting or a competition you are running ect. To set this up, go to your profile page. Find the Tweet you would like to pin and click on the ellipsis icon (***). Select Pin to your profile page. Click Pin.
Tip – Ever wondered why some of your Tweets’ fonts appear bigger than others? Tweets that have received more engagement will appear slightly larger, so your best content is easy to find.
How to build your following and increase engagement
Here are 12 tips for building your follower base on Twitter and encouraging engagement and community amongst your followers. Many top Twitter users implement many of these strategies very well and you can certainly do the same.
- Find interesting people to follow – To get established on Twitter, you need to build up a great network of people that you follow that share things that you’re interested in and exist within your niche. For example, if you are a fashion blogger, jump on and start following all your favourite fashion bloggers, brands and media and PR outlets that work with fashion bloggers or relate to fashion in some way.
- Connect with key people in your niche – Following individuals from certain brands and businesses is a great way to build up a relationship for future collaborations. Mention them in your updates if you’re using one of their products, directly message them and introduce yourself and connect with them regularly by engaging with their content. They may just take an interest in what you do and get to know your blog and business, which can be a great starting point for working together at a later stage.
- Stay on track with consistent content – People usually follow you on Twitter as you fit into their niche or an interest area they have. With this in mind, keep your content consistent to your main message so you become known for commenting and sharing within a certain niche rather then putting out a huge mixed bag of varied content.
- Interact with your followers – Join the conversation, don’t just Tweet and run but actively engage your followers, respond to Tweets and mentions, start conversations and ask questions.
- Learn how to write in 140 characters – Tweeting requires the ability to be concise, short, punchy and witty if you wish. It’s an art being so succinct and conveying your message in only 140 characters or less so it may take a little practice. There is a whole world of Twitter slang that you can learn that will help you get your message across, check out this handy guide for all you need to know.
- Direct messaging – Twitter allows you to communicate by direct message with people who follow you. That’s why building up a great relationship with key people in your niche is a great starting point to having them follow you back. You will then have the opportunity to contact them directly through a Twitter private message.
- Keep things interesting by using images – You can add images to your Tweets that will show up with a link but they keep your feed interesting and varied. Do a mix of text, link, photo and video updates to add this visual element to your feed and offer your readers variety. Don’t just auto publish everything from your other social platforms straight to Twitter but word your update so that it get’s your message across in the 140 characters and prompts people to click through to your content.
- Use hashtags in your posts and keep an eye on what’s trending – Using hashtags (eg #socialmedia #pbevent #ausblogger) in your posts links your content to that hashtag should someone be searching for it and if you keep an eye on what’s trending you can jump on the bandwagon and join in with hot topics of conversation. On your desktop version of Twitter on the ‘home’ screen, you will see a list of tending hashtags that are regularly updated or you can check this out in the app on your mobile device. Check out Hashtagify.me, which allows you to enter a hashtag to discover related tags, recent conversations, usage patterns and influencers.
- It’s not all about you – As with most social platforms, it’s great to share a mix of your own content and that of others when you are Tweeting on Twitter. Steer away from solely doing self promotion and share things from around the web that you know your followers will find interesting. Do a mix of self-promotional tweets, personal tweets, re-tweeting someone else’s tweet (know as ‘RT’), and sharing modified tweets (known as ‘MT’), which is when you copy someone’s tweet, add in your own comment and post it. Mix it up and keep things interesting and you will gather more followers.
- Ask for interaction – It may seem a little odd to do this but it actually works very well! Asking people to re-tweet your Tweet is one of the best ways to get more RT’s and then your content is being exposed to many more potential followers.
- Make sure you are posting at the best times – As there are thousands of Tweets filling your followers feeds every day, your own Tweet can become lost very quickly if you are not posting at the optimum time. Not many people scroll through and read Tweets from hours or days past so timing is invaluable to building up an engaged audience. There is a range of tools below to help you out with scheduling and finding out the best times to Tweet. Quick tip – after 8pm is a no go zone for getting interaction, stick with 9-3pm Monday to Thursday, as this is when most people are browsing Twitter.
- Stay positive and authentic – Steer away from always sharing negative content and try to mix it up with finding a positive, humorous or witty spin on what you want to share. There is no problem with occasionally sharing something with a more negative sentiment but if you continuously do this, you will most likely loose followers. Brightens someone’s day with something positive, encouraging, funny and shareable whilst staying true to the message you want to share.
What’s your strategy?
So now that we know what works on Twitter, it’s time to delve into creating your own strategy and fine-tuning how you can best use this platform for your blog and / or business. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you develop a Twitter strategy –
- What story do I want to tell? Twitter allows you to build your brand story one Tweet at a time. You need to decide upon whether you are using Twitter as a platform for your brand or a more personal platform. This will help you tailor you tweets and stick with a consistent message when using Twitter. If you craft a strong brand story and share information, resources, and images all related to your brand message, people will become familiar with your Twitter persona. Aim to provide consistent valuable information and entertain your followers.
- What are my competitors doing? Taking note how your key competitors useTwitter, especially those who do so successfully and have large followings, can help you glean ideas about what works best in your niche. Use some of the tools below to delve into your competitors Tweeting habits and adapt what you can see working into your own posting strategy.
- What is the best time to be on Twitter and how often should I post? As with all social platforms, there is always a best time of day to show up and a certain number of times you should be posting each day so that you capture your audience effectively. From my research, the best times to show up on Twitter is from Monday until Thursday between 9-3pm with everyday after 8pm being the worst time to Tweet. Tweets with images attached attract between a 30-50% increase in clicks, visits, re-tweets, favourites and leads. Many social media experts recommend that you tweet twice every hour, provided you have some interesting content to share.
- What can I do to encourage engagement and stand out? There are a few unique ideas out there that you can try out and build into your regular Twitter strategy. These are things like hosting Twitter chats, which is where you announce a chat on a specific topic and use a dedicated hashtag (#) so anyone can follow along on Twitter and join in. Holding this kind of Twitter chat, or party as they are sometimes called ignites conversations about your brand and is an excellent way to introduce new products and services to your followers. Check out this guide for more information about how a Twitter chat works.
Examples of some great Twitter feeds
Tools you will love
Hootsuite and Buffer – these are both powerful scheduling tools that allow you to queue tweets, monitor trending hashtags, analyse your tweets performance and find new relevant stories to share that are related to your niche.
My Top Tweet – check out your top ten tweets or those of any Twitter user.
Hashtagify.me – this is a very handy tool that allows you to search a large number of Twitter hashtags and quickly find the best ones for your needs based on their popularity, relationships, languages, influencers and other metrics.
Socialbro – this tool has a huge number of features that will greatly help out anyone who really wants to get the most out of Twitter. You can browse who is in your community, find out best times to tweet, get audience insights, identify influencers, analyse your competitors, plus much more.
Tweepi – do a tidy up of your followers with this cleanup tool that shows you inactive users you follow, people that don’t follow you back and people who you aren’t yet following. It’s simple to use and done in bulk with a few clicks.
Mention – with this tool you can monitor your mentions by listening in to what’s being said about you online. This will help you react quickly, collaborate and analyse your online presence.
Twitter Widget for your blog – if you are looking for a simple tweet roll to show in your sidebar and an easy way for your readers to send you a tweet, check out this great Twitter tool. Just log in to your Twitter account and go to ‘settings’ and then ‘widgets’ and click on ‘create new’.
This is just a small number of the many Twitter tools that are out there. Check out this great article for many more resources.
Thanks so much for joining Amanda and I in this Demystifying Social Media Series. We hope that you have found the information, tools and examples we have provided very helpful!