Twitter was launched eight (yes, eight!) years ago in July 2006. It now has more than 500 million users, out of which over 271 million are active users. Individuals flocked to it, celebrities hijacked it, and businesses saw its huge potential for their branding and sales.
Should everyone therefore be more than competent on it by now? Well, maybe not. Every day there are lots of new users joining, lots of new businesses making their first forays into the twittersphere, and lots of experienced users experimented with how they engaged with others and how they share their content.
We’ve therefore created this list of top tips, in no particular order, to help us all get the basics right and continue growing communities, engagements and click-throughs.
- Never start a tweet with “@twitterhandle”. This will only get seen by followers of both you and that person. Either rephrase your tweet or simply start your tweet with a period. For example, “.@danpurvis provides top twitter tips…” will appear in the main Twitter stream, as opposed to just the timelines of the followers
- Use your biography! Use keywords and hashtags to make it obvious what your interests and specialist areas are. People will look at that first before deciding whether to follow you or not, so make it count
- Don’t try to be clever with your profile picture. If you’re an individual then use a selfie not something abstract or random; if you’re a brand use your logo or company branding so it’s obvious who you are
- Link to your website or blog in your profile space, or a landing page you’re trying to promote. Not only is it good for traffic, it also helps reassure that you are a real person or a bona fide company
- Don’t follow back willy-nilly. Choose whom to follow wisely, and don’t feel obliged to follow back (especially not if you’re explicitly asked!)…check other profiles and see if they are like-minded and relevant
- Always thank people for engaging with you. Whether they’ve retweeted you, shared your content, or mentioned you in some way – remember your Ps & Qs!
- Always reply to people who tweet you. Ignoring them isn’t only rude, but it shows you don’t care and aren’t interested in engaging
- Avoid self-promotion. Do not talk about just yourself and / or your brand – mix it up and show you’re a human. And don’t be afraid to ask other people to retweet you – you’ll be amazed at how much more effective this is than simply hoping someone (anyone!) will retweet you
- Don’t spam your content out there. Sure, you need to promote your posts or content or whatever it happens to be, but not several times a day, every day!
- Retweet and share third party content. Curate content that you find interesting and share it with your followers. Check out content curation tools out there, such as Paper.li. In fact, there are loads of tools out there to help make your twitter life much easier!
- Build lists. You’ll be amazed how a little bit of organisation goes a long way to helping reduce your time in finding relevant conversations and content, while also piquing the interest of those you’ve included in lists. (Go on, admit it, you feel a little chuffed when you get added to a list, don’t you?!)
- Put your twitter handle in and on everything that is in your control – business cards, blogs, websites, email signatures, other social networks and so on
- Use hashtags. They help you to find relevant content on a specific topic, and also to find like-minded people. But don’t use too many hashtags in each tweet, or in every tweet for that matter! They are useful but are over-used, so use three maximum but try not to use them in every tweet
- Use URL shorteners to help get around the 140 character limit. But don’t use more than 120 characters if you want to get retweeted – you will always lose 10+ characters when retweeted. If you can’t avoid the limit, then make sure your link is in the middle of the tweet so it doesn’t get lost
- Tweet regularly. It doesn’t have to be every day, or dozens of times a day, but often enough to keep you on the radars of those that matter. An infrequent tweeter typically wouldn’t get much engagement or many followers
- Monitor the trending topics. Join in the conversations there to help raise your profile and get you noticed by more people
- Be visual. Use pictures and images – much more interesting than plain old tweets. They pique interest far more effectively
- Don’t expect miracles or overnight success. It takes time, effort and perseverance. Think of it as old school networking but in the always-on digital age – you don’t make 20 close contacts in one networking event or seminar in real life after all!
- Get the Twitter app on your smartphone and tablet devices. You’ll be surprised how much more convenient it is for you to tweet while on the go, particularly when at events or shows or gigs…show the real you when out and about
- Ask questions. People love being asked for their opinion – it makes them feel more valued and is a great way to start engaging and building relationships
- And last but certainly not least: ENGAGE. Otherwise what’s the point of being on twitter?! Join in conversations, perhaps by asking individuals what they think about a topic that you are familiar with or, better yet, passionate about. This is how you forge meaningful relationships.
There are many more tips’n’tricks to help you build your community, drive more engagement, and boost click-throughs to your blog or post, but we feel that these are the key ones to be focusing on right now. We hope you find this list useful, but do please add to the list by leaving a comment on what works for you and share your advice with the community!
Previously, he was Director at Comms Axis, a full service marketing agency specialising in content, social media & website services for businesses of all sizes.
Dan Purvis writes for a number of leading business, social media and marketing sites, including Smart Insights, MarketingProfs, Marketo, MarTech Advisor, Marketing Tech News, MarTech Today, MarTech Exec, and more.
Dan was also ranked by Brand Republic as one of the Top 50 UK Marketing & Social Media influencers.
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