Twitter can be an effective business tool. If your target market is on Twitter, then you should be too.
Before you start to tweet and retweet, make sure your Twitter profile is complete. Consider your brand image. Are you promoting you as a person or your business? Choose the Twitter handle that represents your business best. Then, fill in all sections of the profile, including your website link. Always use a profile picture.
Once your business Twitter profile is complete, you can follow these six tips to get started.
1. Find and Follow Your Market
Finding people to follow can seem overwhelming at first. One option is to identify keywords that are important to your business, track them using a tracking tool, and have a digest of those keyword mentions emailed directly to you.
Tracking conversations mentioning keywords used by your market can help you find an opportunity to reach out to create a conversation. For example, if you run a cleaning business, and one of your followers sends a tweet out about how dirty her house is and how little time she has to clean it, you could catch her tweet by monitoring the keyword “dirty house” or “clean.” Then, send her a tweet back telling her she deserves a break and offer her a 25% discount for your house cleaning services. Or you can use a low-key approach, and send her to your website where you have an article on "How to Clean Your House in 5 Minutes."
Another reason to track keywords is to capture the buzz or trends in your marketplace. It will help you identify the current hot topics and trends, so you can plan accordingly. It can also be a resource for ideas for products, an article, or social media content.
Once you have identified a follower who has mentioned your product or a keyword you are monitoring, then tweet them back. Provide them a link to a coupon or promotion or just thank them for the mention. People like to be recognized and acknowledged by a business. This also can result in word-of-mouth praise, a very lucrative form of marketing.
Just be careful not to come off as a spammer. You're more likely to get a positive response if you connect by offering help or value than by promoting something. Social media is social, which means it's about conversations and building relationships.
2. Find, Follow and Share Influencers
Especially if you're new, connecting with people who are known and respected in your industry is a great way to increase your followers and credibility. The trick is not to be obnoxious or stalker-like. Follow people you respect and retweet or comment on what they share. When they see you sharing and responding, they may follow you and return the favor. Focus on creating a positive, mutually beneficial relationship with these people. Don't look at it as "using them" or "what can they do for me?"
Influencers stay on top of what is current and interesting in your market, so again, they can be a great resource for ideas you can use for your social media and blog posts. Often, they can lead you to other people who can be important in your business, the same way traditional marketing does.
A great way to stay on top of tweets by influencers is through the list feature, whereby you can create lists of users in certain topic areas and follow them in one place. For example, you can have a Home Business list with all the home business experts you want to be sure to read.
3. Share Things Your Market Wants to Know
The mistake many new Twitter users make is constantly sending out promotional materials. But people don't want to be sold. Sure, they like to hear about great deals or sales, but only on occasion.
Remember, social media is social. What makes it great is that through the conversation, you can generate trust and respect, but only if you provide value.
There are many things you can share on Twitter within your 280 words. You can give insights, tips, and inspiration. You can include pictures and videos. With the screen capture quote option, you can retweet and still have a lot of characters left to add your two cents.
4. Use Hashtags (#)
Compared to other social media platforms, Twitter is the most unwieldy because it moves too fast and it's hard to find what you want to read. As a result, many of your followers won't see your post unless you help them. The best way to do that is through the use of hashtags. A hashtag is the pound sign (#) followed by a tag that explains the topic of your post, such as #marketingtips. To sort through the clutter of Twitter, users will search Twitter using hashtags.
The good news is there is no one list of hashtags you have to use, so you can make up your own. With that said, you need to use hashtags your market would use. For example, tweeting home business content, the hashtag #homebusiness makes sense, but many use #homebiz instead.
If you are using Twitter for business, it is imperative to use hashtags in your tweets so that your market kind finds you. As mentioned, you can make up your own, but also research popular hashtags related to your business or what you're posting.
5. Promote Occasionally
Many online marketers have a ratio of content to promo posts (i.e. 75% content and 25% marketing). The truth is, people are more likely to respond to interesting or entertaining content than they are to a marketing message. When doing promotional posts, try to offer free or low-cost options. For example, if you have a free report with your email list, promote that. It will build your list, through which you can then make the sale. Freebies, coupons, and discount codes are popular (be sure to use hashtags such as #free).
If you have lots of sales, you can use Twitter to promote “daily deals” exclusive to your Twitter followers. Or you can establish creative Twitter promotions like "The next 30 Twitter followers will receive a free t-shirt or a 50% off coupon." The sky is the limit with promotions, and Twitter allows you to expand your audience reach even further.
6. Have a Plan and a System
Most one-person home business owners struggle with social media because there are so many platforms and so many things to do. You need to post, share, like, comment, etc. Only with a plan can you hope to do social media right.
Further, to manage the conversation, social media automation tools are necessary. These tools will allow you to schedule your posts and even schedule reposting of old content.
You can have lists based on hashtags and/or topics. For example, you can have a hashtag list of #homebusiness and another list of all the home business experts you follow.