The social media train has left the station. Either you were on it or you still have to get a ticket and join the ride. Social media has proven to be a venue customers expect you to utilize and that you cannot ignore. At the very least not giving Twitter a serious run could mean lost opportunity.
Building a Twitter following won’t happen by simply auto-tweeting. You have to make the commitment to be involved and engaged. This won’t happen without you.
I’m not a huge fan of social — I prefer personal one-on-one relationships instead of broadcasting to folks I’ll never personally interact with. Connections can happen on Twitter but in my experience most folks are just tweeting — not conversing. Or they are trying to sell their product or service to you. They may “heart” a tweet but not reach out.
With that said, I’m there, I do Tweet and comment on others tweets. I have met a few neat people and DM’d with others I never would have connected with otherwise. That’s why I’ve chosen Twitter as my channel of preference for important notices, updates and information I know my clients can use. So I make the effort daily to check in and see what’s going on and look for ways to participate.
Many of my clients struggle with not knowing how they can use Twitter for their business to create networking and lead opportunities. Consistency and responsiveness being the two primary areas where I notice they fall short.
Each Business is Different
Some businesses are more suitable to being able to use Twitter successfully. I’m not one that will tell every client that they must be on Twitter. But you won’t know if you can light a spark, make those important connects and create a following until you give it a whirl.
To help, here are a few dos and don’ts that I see are most often overlooked. While not all inclusive, for those wanting to join in the conversation and become more relevant, these tips will be enough to get you going in the right direction on Twitter.
First, let’s cover the don’ts when it comes to Tweeting for business:
- Don’t Tweet non-business related ramblings and points of view. This is about your business branding and image. Create a personal Twitter account for those insights.
- Don’t just pop in with your comments without considering you are part of a conversation. Reply only when you know you can add value to the conversation.
- Don’t send automated follows or DMs (Direct Messages). Part of networking and being truly social is to provide personal responses which are an integral part of relationship building. Many onliners will unfollow those who send automated messages because they know you are not sincerely involved.
- Don’t always retweet without comment. Just retweeting is nothing unique or worth following. When retweeting use the “Quote” option to include why you are retweeting and provide your unique perspective. That’s what will make you stand out from all the other retweeters without an opinion — and encourage follows. If you ever modify a Tweet, as a courtesy change the RT to MT (Modified Tweet) which will make clear that you modified the original text.
- Don’t post URLs without comment or introduction as to why you feel the URL is of interest to those who follow you. Be short, sweet and creative!
- Don’t auto-follow — you are judged by the company you keep. The last thing you want is unrelated, unworthy or questionable accounts in your following column. Always review if a new follow is someone you are truly interested in.
- Don’t jump to unfollow someone simply because they unfollowed you. This is not a tit-for-tat environment. While the other user may not be interested in what you have to offer, you could be missing out a valuable info they are sharing.
- Use hashtags sparingly and with discretion. Use 3 at most and make sure they are focused and applicable to your Tweet.
Now, the dos when it comes to Tweeting for business:
- Do plan on Tweeting at least several times each week. This keeps you on the radar with those who follow you and make them anticipate more. Some folks unfollow less active accounts. In the same vein, don’t over-Tweet either. It may be a fine line but try and strike a balance to keep those following you interested without being annoying.
- Do promptly thank others publicly for mentioning or retweeting your information.
- Do include impromptu Tweets in addition to having your Blog posts auto-Tweet. This shows you are “there” and makes your Tweets more personal.
- Do make a point of spending some time on Twitter and answering questions and reaching out to others if you want to grow your following and business. Tweeting isn’t just about you promoting your latest post, affiliate program or offer — it is about providing useful info while giving others the opportunity to get to know you.
- Do use Twitter’s search features by keyword and hashtags to find those like minds that are related to or interested in what you your business is about. Check out TweetDeck to help you with these efforts.
- Do make an effort to check for typos and improper grammar. Use acronyms and abbreviations sparingly. Even though Tweets are only 140 characters you still want to appear as though you graduated from high school.
- Do your very best to offer unique Tweets that bring value and information to your target market while not being overly commercial. Let your knowledge, expertise and willingness to share be your biggest sales tool.
- Do integrate a custom Twitter background that is consistent with your site and brand to make you stand out from the rest.
The key to successfully using Twitter for business is to offer value while spending the time to communicate with and help others. By doing so you will enhance and grow your brand to a new community of interested and potential customers!
At your service,