I adore Twitter. I discovered Twitter in 2009 and found it to be much more efficacious when it came to interacting socially with my blog followers than Facebook.
I’d started my humor blog in ’08 and kept reading about how I should develop my ‘author platform,’ not really understanding what that meant. Now I’m a published author and social media consultant and I’ve learned how critical Twitter is as part of both my writing and business marketing platforms.
If you’re on Twitter, you understand. If not, you’re missing out on one of the best free market research tools out there.
Goals For This Post
- Help you understand how to use Twitter to interact with targeted people important for your business
- Show you time-saving secrets behind the Twitter Curtain
Twitter isn’t rocket science, but can be confusing at first. Many people ask me why more people don’t follow them right away. It’s quite simple: you need to follow them first! But don’t just follow anyone. If your interests lie in social media, follow social media folks. If you’re an author, follow other authors.
But is our focus that narrow in real life? No. You want customers. As an author, I want to find people who are book buyers. It would be great if they could just find me with a SNAP! but the world doesn’t work like that. So I use the SEARCH function to look up related terms (think Google search): book bloggers, book reviewers, book clubs…you get the point. And I follow all those people. See whom they follow. Follow them. Check their LISTS. (By the way, I LOVE lists. What a goldmine!)
A word of caution regarding following: if you follow more than about 50-75 tweeps/day, the Twitter gods get a little jittery, thinking you’re a spammer or bot. This is why I don’t recommend automated follow programs.
Note: I also use ManageFlitter on a weekly business. What does it do? It shows you who isn’t following you. Why does this matter?
It’s free and like a fun video game if you use the ‘Quick Expand’ tab. It unfollows eggs, nonfollowers, and never tweeteds — important as you hit the 2K mark, where Twitter invokes 20% followers vs. following cap. You can virtually abolish that cap by using this site.
I tsk tsk when I see someone say, “Sorry, can’t follow you back. I need more followers. Stuck at 2K.” They are so not. They just don’t know they can drop the dead weight. Ask yourself this question: Does Mike “The Situation” retweet you? Is he helping your business in any way? Then why are you following him? (I mean, seriously.)
Lists: Many people don’t know about or understand lists. I’ve had clients actually afraid of them. What the heck are they? Here’s a nice explanation from Mashable: curated Twitter streams of the latest tweets from a specified set of users.
You’ve probably been listed and don’t even know it. Look on your profile page, scroll down to the left and click on LISTS. See what comes up. (Hint: See how well-branded you are by which lists you’re on. If you’re a social media consultant and you’re on a list titled “Ice Cream Experts,” that’s a pretty clear indication that you’re not communicating your brand well.)
I’ll cover lists in much greater detail in Part Two of this article.
Time savers- Third-part Applications
Besides using lists and search as we just discussed, I can’t say enough about using Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Pluggio, Sprout Social (I prefer Hootsuite but also use Pluggio), or SocialBro to schedule your tweets and messages throughout the day. This is a critical part of your time management.
Some people are against this and consider it ‘automation’ but I strongly disagree and here’s why: I may be scheduling in my tweets, but I’m still live interacting throughout the day with mentions or DMs (direct messages).
The Twitter application itself does not allow for scheduling so you must use one of these third-party apps.
- Tweetdeck: now owned by Twitter and is free. It’s also available on mobile.
- Hootsuite: free also (for up to five accounts) meaning you can connect your Twitter, Facebook, blog, LinkedIn, etc. and is also mobile.
I personally use Hootsuite for my accounts and my clients’ – I find the interface simple to learn and use, the analytics are terrific, and the graphics are easy on the eyes.
The beauty is you can compose, and schedule tweets days, weeks, even months in advance (say you’re planning a vacation) it counts characters for you, allows you to see past scheduled (helps for repeat tweets) etc. (don’t go over 120 to get a RT. 140 is a myth). Brilliant!
(I don’t suggest repeating exact content but we will discuss that in Part Two.)
Either app also ties into your Google Analytics so you can measure views, keywords, etc. Helpful if you’re using it for clients.
- Pluggio: while it has many features I haven’t even begun to utilize (it goes quite deep), I like that it generates followers based on keywords you ‘plug’ in, 24 hours a day/seven days a week. So you can save TONS of time if you’re willing to pay $19/month. It also suggests purges (unfollows). Finally, their functionality with responding to those who have RT’d you is the best I’ve seen.
Note: They still require you go through each follower and approve or discard. Again, I like this because I don’t want to be following porn bots.
- SocialBro: A very cool free app (though they offer a paid version) that offers lots of unique analytical tools, best time to tweet being the standout for me. It also analyzes lists (see, there it is again!), followers, suggests unfollows, will even tell you who of your Facebook friends are on Twitter.
What I love about each of these apps is they all do something different and offer unique perspectives on analyzing your followers.
Bottom line: you want to build a base of followers that’s tight and interactive, who are either potential customers, or can be your supportive tribe to bring you potential customers and sales.
By using Twitter more effectively with the tips I’ve provided today, you should be able to:
- Increase awareness of you, your product or service, your business, freeing you up to have more interaction with potential clients;
- Spend less time on Twitter (and social media in general) and more time on current client business and prospecting in other ways;
- Understand basic differences between the third-party Twitter applications designed to save you time on social media and
- Create a thriving social media platform.
I look forward to seeing you back here for Part Two! Don’t forget to follow or subscribe to avoid missing out on Part Two.
Do you currently use any of these Twitter techniques or third-party applications and if so, have they helped you in your marketing efforts? Did you learn anything new today?
Please share in comments below.
Rachel Thompson aka @RachelintheOC is the #1 bestselling Kindle author of two nonfiction humor books, A Walk In The Snark and The Mancode: Exposed. She also cowrote Dollars & Sense: The Definitive Guide to Self-Publishing Success. Rachel is also the founder of BadRedhead Media aka @BadRedheadMedia, where she provides social media consulting and management for clients ranging from authors, chefs, toys, and even a rock star.
She loves Nutella, hates walks in the rain, and questions coconut’s place in the universe.
She welcomes your questions and comments. Email her anytime at RachelintheOC@gmail.com.