There are hundreds of thousands of Twitter users with hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers each. So why is your small business struggling to gain a following when any tween with an iPhone can do it?
Firstly, let’s remember that as small businesses we are not competing with the general populace, but we are trying to attract them, especially if they are potential customers. Here are 7 simple Twitter tips for beginners that will have your follow-ship growing more steadily day by day. These are not techniques that will get you 1,000 followers over night. However, they are tips that will have potential customers and like-minded contemporaries (in essence, the people that really matter) tuning in to hear what you have to say.
Tip 1. Make your Twitter Profile attractive
First, find a good profile picture – this image will represent you across Twitter. Although you can easily use your logo, studies have found that more people respond to a face than logo if they are not familiar with your business already. Try to find a high resolution photo so that you can crop closely around your face.
Second, create a background image that includes your business name, contact information and website. You can get creative with your background with photos or images related to your service or field, or keep it simple with a full color background that matches your branding. Either way, it should make a statement about who you are and what you do, and tell them how to find out more.
Third, create a header image that repeats the branding that you included in your background. It doesn’t need to repeat the specific information that you included in your background image, but it should repeat color and imagery. You can’t go wrong if you keep it simple. Here’s a twitter page that that is a great example.
Tip 2. Make your bio searchable and relevant
Your bio should be more than a jumble of keywords, it should be a reflection of your business and of you as an individual. Your bio should not be a robotic string of keywords, nor should it contain too many inconsequential connecting words. Think of it like an online dating profile. Include what your business does and a few of your personal interests or location-related pastimes. When people search Twitter for one of the terms you included, your bio will appear in the “People” search results. If what they see pleases them, then maybe they”ll want to “date” your business.
Tip 3. Follow more people
Don’t worry about what your following/follower percentage looks like at first. The best way for people to notice you is for you to notice them. Spend a half an hour (or more) every day following threads in Twitter, looking at recommended profiles, and following those that you are interested in. Make sure to keep your follows professional, but don’t feel the need to stay in your field. Follow regular people that Tweet interesting links, photos and quotes. And more importantly, when you find a Tweet that you love, hit the little Favorite button or retweet it to your followers. That account will take notice and give you a look.
Tip 4. To retweet or to quote?
When you retweet (RT) someone else”s tweet, it appears on your timeline, but under their picture and profile. Oftentimes, a new user retweets other content so often that their timeline hardly seems representative of them at all. My suggestion would be that you Quote other people’s tweets instead of Retweeting them. If you are on the official Twitter site, it is a two step process to Quote a tweet. When you’ve found something you would like to share, copy the full tweet and then hit the Reply button under the tweet. In the window that opens, paste the original tweet after the twitter handle (@soandso) that should appear in the box automatically.
Then you can either write RT at the beginning of the tweet, or put quotation marks around the quoted tweet (including the twitter handle). If you need to change the original tweet for any reason (too long, misspelled word, etc) then you write MT (modified tweet) at the beginning instead of RT.
Note: You need to write something in front of the tweet or else it won’t be seen by anyone other than the person who you are quoting or retweeting.
Tip 5. Curate your tweets
As a business, you should be tweeting information regarding your business, but also information from other sources. When you find an interesting article related to something in your field, you share it with your followers. A good rule to keep in mind is the 80/20 rule. 80% of your shared tweets should come from sources outside of your company, and 20% can come from within. People are generally not so entranced with one company that they will want 30 tweets daily regarding sales, services, or that new coffee maker you just installed in the employee break room. Be a philanthropic tweeter. Besides, the main reason that Twitter exists is for entertainment. Don’t bore people with your posts because they are all about you. Share other people’s ideas and successes, and the good deed will come back around. Let’s call it Twitter karma.
Tip 6. Vary the structure of your tweets
You should be sharing links to webpages, but also pictures, quotes and original thoughts with your followers. By varying the structure of your posts, you should keep your twitter feed from going stale and becoming dull. You are trying to gain a following that wants to support you business, so keep them entertained! You have to remain true to your company branding and ethics, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a bit of fun. Post a recipe you like, or a picture from a company party, or share a quote from a favorite mentor or author. You should not only vary the types of tweets that you are sending, but the structure of the tweets themselves. Your tweets should sometimes open with a question, include a link in the middle instead of the end, and contain varying action verbs to get your readers to click.
Note: Try to keep your tweets under 120 characters to make it easier for others to quote or respond to you. Use a URL shortener like bit.ly or tinyurl to condense the links you share.
Tip 7. What is a hashtag and how do I use it?
A Hashtag (#keyword) is any word or string of words (without spaces) with the # in front of them, and it is used to denote a searchable keyword or string of keywords. Hashtags are largely responsible for messages or ideas going viral on Twitter. For your small business, I would suggest using hashtags in most of your messages. Rather than creating your own hashtags, however, you should look for hashtags that other users are already using in their related tweets. When you then use that hashtag in your tweet, it will be added to a list of tweets that use the same hashtag (you can see this list by clicking on any hashtag). Looking through these hashtag lists is a great way to start a conversation with other users who are interested in the same topic. Like the rest of our tips, keep the hashtagging simple, and try to vary the hashtags that you use so you mix it up for your audience. Also, know that you can place a hashtag anywhere in your tweet. If your message already includes a word that would serve as a good keyword throw a hash mark in front of it, and call it a day.
All-in-all these tips are here to help you start building a following of interested like-minded people and potential customers. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Take a look around on Twitter, see what others are doing and try to learn by example. Follow @modsnap on Twitter and let us know what you thought of the post. Also, check back soon for more Social Media tips on Blogsnap.
Need help managing your Twitter account? Let Modsnap Design handle your hashtags with one of our Social Media Management plans.