I’ve talked about the tools we use with our clients in the past, segmenting them as social networking tools (sharing conversations) or social media (sharing content). The reality is that on social networks you can share content and with the social media tools you can have conversations. The one that splits the difference is Twitter. Its the one that many business people don’t get.
LinkedIn is easy. Its a business professional social network that in simple terms is online networking. Facebook is more of a social interaction tool but with over 350 million people there are consumers and business people on it. And its easy to interact.
Twitter though is just noise right? The misconception is that its a bunch of people tweeting about their latest coffee conquest. The reality is… that happens, and a lot of people are ready to tell you the latest money making scheme. But there is also a lot of great information being shared by individuals and companies. And its a valid business tool.
Here are some thoughts on the business use of Twitter.
You Need a Plan
Like anything in life if you want to mazimize your results you need a plan. (Thats a Social Media plan and a plan for Twitter’s role) You ned to understand what you will tweet about. How often will you tweet. When will you tweet. Will your tweets seek to brand you, drive traffic, or both.
Most business people I know have the same problem …not enough hours in the day. If you don’t have specific times set to tweet you’ll likely find that after a week you missed some days. I use a Tweet schedule to lay out the tweets for our clients. I schedule two tweets a day for every day of the month.
My schedule is simply a spreadsheet with 6 sheets. On the first four I layout seven days broken into two hour increments. On the fifth I have 3 days for the 29th, 30th, and 31st. The last sheet is where I put the 62 tweets I write. I then add the tweets I’ve written into the schedule.
Over the month I will release a minimum of two tweets each day. If something else is wortth tweeting I’ll send it as well.
Target the Right People
There are over 25 million people on Twitter and numerous tools to target users by location, industry, tweet words, words in bio, etc. I use these tools to build a list of followers that fits each client.
You have to get your message in front of the right people to have a chance.
Keep in mind that if you want to add followers you’re going to have to initiate contact. On average for every 100 people I follow, 35 to 40 will follow back. You also need to make sure that your ratio of followers to following stays somewhat in balance.
If you’re following 1,000 people and 800 are following you thats fine. Keep in mind that as you follow more people you’re going to have to remove those that do not follow you back to keep your ratio balanced.
A good ratio break-point is 1.5 Follow significantly more people than follow you and people will wonder why others are not following you back. If you’re following is significantly lower than the number following you and you may be seen as self-interested.
Here’s a good timeline to follow: Add followers and give them three to five days to follow you back. After three to five days remove those non-followers, reciprocate with those who followed you, and follow more people.
Twitter can be the hub of your social media communication efforts. You can feed your tweets into the LinkedIn status feature, post your tweets to your Facebook account, and even to your Facebook Fan page.
On LinkedIn you can control which tweets update your status through the us of a LinkedIn hashtag. For our clients we only send tweets that are going to be relevant whether on twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. If you using Twitter for business purposes then you should be able to do the same.
I’ve seen lists of the different types of tweets but for me I classify tweets as a branding tweets, traffic tweets, or informational.
A branding tweet communicates a message without a link. It might be a quote that I like, or it might be simply asking a question.
A traffic tweet is one that includes a link and the purpose is to drive someone to click on the link. This works great for sharing blog posts, articles, or driving someone to a landing page.
Informational tweets allow me to share information with others that was created by someone else. It might be a interesting article I found, a cool application, a great social media tool. etc.
The majority of your tweets should share value.
Slow Your Tweets Down
Tweets on Twitter have a short shelf life. How fast tweets move depends upon the number of followers a person has. A tweet to someone with a couple of thousand followers may only be on that persons first page for 15 seconds.
Two ways you can slow your tweets done is by filtering them into LinkedIn and Facebook. On LinkedIn your tweet will show in your status update until your next tweet. On Facebook that tweet is visible on your wall for three or four days if you’re tweeting twice per day.
When I review the click from tweets I often find that Facebook and LinkedIn produce more responses than retweets.
Twitter is a great way to communicate to large numbers of people. There is a lot of noise, but if you listen close you’ll hear a lot of great information being shared. One thing I do is periodically use the search function to find tweets about a topic. This allows me to stay on top of what others are saying about social media, LinkedIn, Facebook, and a number of topics that interest me.
If you’re trying to figure out how to use social media to drive busines, Twitter is a tool that should be in your toolbox. It may take some time to get used to it but you’ll find that its a great resource to communicat, to share, and to learn.
Social Media Sonar provides the following four resources for FREE… 1. The Blog, 2. The Online Marketing/Social Media Blueprint, 3. Conversion Rate Optimization Guide, 4. Resource Center. If these help you implement your own online marketing program, great. We love helping people. If you decide you need some help, great. We love new clients. Contact Us if we can help you.