Would you believe that as of the first quarter of 2015, Twitter was averaging 236 million monthly active users. That is 236 MILLION people! And yet, if I was to go ask most people on the street, they would probably say that they don’t “get” the point of the microblogging site. That, or they would tell me that their target demographic isn’t on the site.
The truth is that Twitter users consist of a mix of both genders, primarily between the ages of 18 and 49. However, 22% of its users are over the age of 50. So unless you’re trying to market to seniors, chances are that your audience is on Twitter. The bigger problem isn’t that people aren’t on Twitter, it’s that many businesses don’t know what to do with the site. Check out my five tips for getting started with Twitter marketing.
Optimize your profile.
Whether you’re setting up your account for the first time or you have an account you created long ago, you need to make sure that your profile is optimized with the keywords you want people to find you for. This doesn’t mean you can’t show your sense of humor or share personal details about your values or hobbies. But you need to clearly state who you are and what you do (if you want people to find you on Twitter for those products and services).
Create a content strategy.
Let me first say that posting nonstop links and promotions on Twitter is not a good strategy if you want more followers. People don’t want to be “sold” to all the time and it makes you look like a spammer. I recommend creating “buckets” with TYPES of content that you want to share. For example: inspirational quotes, humor, blog posts, tips related to your niche, your free offer, etc. And make sure you include some images as part of that strategy, since they get 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets.
Have a plan for community building.
If you’re just getting started and have a very small community, you’ll want to start slowly, following just 25 people per day. Eventually you can grow to 100 although I don’t recommend more than that or you may find yourself on Twitter’s radar (you don’t want to get thrown in Twitter jail).
Where do you find people to follow?
Well, you definitely want to follow the right people or you won’t ever create a community of people interested in your products and services. You can start by following the people who follow your competitors. You can also do advanced keyword searches to find people according to the kinds of things they’re tweeting or find people who have certain keywords in their bios.
Make sure that you have a following and unfollowing strategy in place as well. In other words, make sure you’re following and unfollowing people at least five days a week in order to keep your account growing, but make sure you don’t unfollow people so quickly that they don’t have the opportunity to follow you back (not everyone gets on Twitter daily). Rapidly following and unfollowing is actually referred to as churning followers and is something Twitter frowns upon.
If you don’t want to deal with the tedious task of manually growing your followers, you can automate it using tools like Manage Flitter or Social Quant.
There’s a lot of stuff in the newsfeed that you may never find relevant. List building, though, is a great way to cut the clutter. Create lists of great content producers whose content you can curate, of key influencers in your niche who you want to develop stronger relationships with, even leads for your business that you want to engage with more regularly. And don’t worry; you can make the lists private so there’s no fear in tipping off anyone that they’re on your list of prospects.
Engagement is key to being successful on Twitter. Engaging really just means practicing good manners. Respond to people who @mention you. Thank people who retweet your content. Start conversations around common interests.
At the end of the day, Twitter is a social media network and you have to be sociable. You never know where the relationships you’re building on Twitter will take you and your business.
Are you on Twitter now? Do you love it or hate it? What are your biggest challenges? I would love to hear from you!
Sheena is a social media strategist and copywriter and is passionate about helping small businesses maximize the power of social media to increase the success of their online marketing efforts. Twitter @sheenamwhite