I am a huge fan of Twitter. It offers a lot of opportunity for networking and engagement unlike any of the other social media platforms. On the other hand, it’s also full of a LOT of noise. I can scroll through my feed for hours before coming across anything I actually care about.
I’ve found that the trick to enjoying Twitter and getting the most out of it is to learn how to tune out the noise. You have to focus on the people / things that are most important for your purposes on Twitter. Below are my top ten tips to incorporate into your Twitter marketing strategy so that you can build your network, increase engagement and boost sales.
- Follow strategically. It all starts with who you follow. You can follow anyone and everyone you want, but you should also follow accounts strategically. Here are a couple of examples:
📚 If you’re an author, you’re probably following a number of bookstores, other writers, and reviewers. Also be sure to proactively seek out your target readers. Do a quick search in Twitter by a keyword. For example, if your book is in the fantasy fiction genre, search by “fantasy reader” and look for people who have used this term in their bio.
🏢 If you run a Twitter account for a business, follow your employees, your clients, people who have reviewed your product online, etc.
Some of these folks will follow you back, some will not. That’s okay. It’s these types of connections that will help build awareness and strategic connections over time.
- Use Lists. As a marketer, I love to connect with everyone online. I connect with other marketers who I can learn from, speakers at the events I attend, people I meet at conferences, and the brands I love. Because I’m an avid reader, I tend to follow authors of the books I read. I also like to follow book reviewers, news outlets, friends and family, etc. As a result, I’ve found that my feed tends to get a bit overwhelming.
I use the Lists functionality in Twitter to categorize the accounts I follow, i.e. “News,” “Book Reviewers,” “Marketers,” etc. You don’t want to get too crazy with the breakdown or it will become a chore to manage the lists, but the most important list I recommend creating is a strategic group list which you set as private so only you can see it.
Call it whatever you want, this list is your go-to on Twitter. If you do nothing else for the day on Twitter, this is the feed you make sure to review. These are the accounts you specifically want to interact with; the ones whose posts you want to like, share, and comment on. The list might have 10 accounts in it or 100. It doesn’t matter as long as it is targeted and manageable.
- Leverage dashboard tools. There are a number of dashboard tools out there that allow you to manage your feed and notifications right on your computer desktop. You can also do custom searches (i.e. by a specific hashtag) and schedule tweets to go out at a later time. I find these tools allow me to manage Twitter more effectively than if I were only using the app on my phone. A couple of examples to check out would be Tweetdeck and Hootsuite.
- Create a routine. You’ve narrowed down your go-to list of accounts to monitor. You’ve set up a free Tweetdeck account so you can easily browse through all of the main streams you want to see (I would recommend starting with your go-to list, notifications, messages and mentions). Maybe you’ve even identified a hashtag or two you want to keep an eye on. Now it’s time to create a routine in your schedule to review the activity every day. This can be something you do every morning or evening or at several times throughout the day. You want to be sure that you’re reviewing posts from your go-to list and actively commenting, liking, retweeting, etc.
- Set up automation. I want to be clear here. You have to be careful with automation. Native users of a platform are going to know if you’re simply automating your posts. It can look sloppy and give the impression that you aren’t really active on the platform.
For example, if you automate your Instagram posts so they share to Twitter, a couple of things can happen. First, there’s a character limit on Twitter so your text can get cut off. Second, the image doesn’t come through. Instead, there’s a link to click in order to see the image. Both of these things take away from the affect of the post.
I don’t advise using automation in this way. I can suggest better ways to automate your posts between platforms and save time. In fact, I will cover that in more detail in another blog post. What I mean here is look for ways you can automate and easily share things you’re already doing. If you’re publishing blog posts, share those directly to Twitter when they publish. If you’re reading articles your followers would find interesting, schedule those as tweets using Tweetdeck. The beauty of scheduling tweets is that you can share several posts at the same time but space out the delivery to your audience.
- Create an evergreen content list. Speaking of blogging, if you’re creating content regularly, create a list of the posts you know have performed well (gotten a lot of traffic and engagement). These posts can be re-shared on a regular basis. Come up with 3-5 blurbs for each post and then schedule out tweets with the various versions and a link to the posts.
- Promote events. Do you do any events? Even if you’re simply attending an event, not speaking or signing books, tweeting about events can be a great way to connect with other people who are doing the same.
You can promote the event before, during, and afterward. Prior to an event (especially if you’re speaking at it), post announcements and build buzz. During the event, share photos, quotes from speakers, anecdotes, etc. Be sure to tag people, companies, and locations whenever possible in your tweets. After the event, you can summarize what you learned and/or thank a speaker or vendor.
- Do your hashtag research. Use hashtags in your tweets. I recommend one to three hashtags per tweet when appropriate (don’t force it). More than three within the character limit starts to get a little obnoxious. Focusing on just a couple of hashtags forces you to be mindful of the most important keywords in your post. There are a number of hashtag research tools out there. In this blog post, Pixlee.com provides a list of five free ones to try.
- Post consistently. Determine a schedule that’s reasonable for you. Maybe you want to tweet a couple of times a week, maybe a couple of times a day. I’d recommend starting with at least one tweet per day (schedule them ahead if you think of things that don’t need to go out right away). That gets you into the habit of tweeting regularly which helps build your following. If you disappear for days/weeks at a time, people will likely stop following you. And if you come on all of the sudden and tweet a dozen things in one day, people will notice the inconsistency and probably stop following you. If/when you start gaining some momentum with daily posts, you can always increase your goal as it feels natural to do so.
- Engage back. When people follow you, like, comment and retweet your posts, pay attention. Reply to comments, follow people back, retweet other people. Look for opportunities to encourage engagement. This is what it’s all about!
If you found this post helpful, share it on Twitter and tag me (@kellyschuknecht) so we can connect. Also, feel free to share your own Twitter marketing tips in the comments section below.