Twitter can be a very effective platform for promoting your company online, but only if you use it right.
By Jane Hosking
According to social media consultant and trainer Khaled ElAhmad, if your company isn’t on Twitter yet, then it needs to be. And even if you have an account that’s pretty active, there are still probably ways you could be using it for better results. With ElAhmad’s help we’ve come up with eight top tips for mastering Twitter.
1. Learn the lingo
The way you write and organize content for Twitter is very important. But fitting what you want to say into 140 characters and still making sense isn’t simple. To achieve this you’ll need to get the hang of Twitterspeak. The best way to do this is by observing the most popular tweeps (Twitter people) so you can learn the lingo.
2. Use #hashtags
A good use of hashtags can really get you places in the twittersphere. But many people don’t really understand how they work. ElAhmad explains that hashtags can be used in a number of ways; you can mention a city or a country: “Good morning #Amman,” or a key word: “Tech #startup success,” or ride the wave of a hashtag that’s trending: “Jordan wins #WorldCup.” This means that not only your followers will see your tweets, but also those who search the hashtag.
3. Don’t just post, interact!
You can use the @ feature on Twitter to tag people and communicate with them. This is how you really increase your influence, especially if the person you tag has a large following and if they interact back. “It’s like you have the mobile number of any person in the world,” said ElAhmad. “So I can talk, send a tweet, or tag US President Barack Obama and he will get an alert from me.” It can also be good to help promote others as they will be more likely to repay the favor.
4. Tweet events and initiatives
Whenever your company hosts a workshop, conference, event, or initiative you should create a hashtag and encourage those involved to tweet using that hashtag. Displaying the hashtag on an event slideshow or banner is useful, along with your company’s @twitterhandle. Even showing a screen featuring live tweets of the event can encourage more people to interact. Arranging events or ‘tweetups,’ specifically inviting your Twitter followers is also a way to build your influence on and offline.
5. Schedule your tweets
It’s important to schedule your tweets and space them apart. This can be done by using a third party tool such as Hootsuit. “It would be annoying if you tweet five tweets at the same time,” said ElAhmad, explaining that this will spam your followers and will show that you don’t know how to use Twitter.
6. Create good content
If your tweets indicate that you’re only interested in pushing your company’s service or product, you will not be popular on Twitter. It’s important to mix things up a bit. This means posting interesting links and articles for your followers, as well as company updates, brand promotion, and relevant retweets. You need to try and position yourself as a thought leader or company influencer in your field that people depend on to know what’s going on. This can be done by drawing people to your collection of interesting links which you gathered from your content bank—blogs and websites that write relevant articles about your interest or sector. ElAhmad also recommends using pictures and photos in your tweets. “Visuals is the key. Always use visuals on Twitter, it gives you bigger visibility,” he said.
7. Be careful what you tweet
You don’t want to be one of those companies caught up in a Twitter scandal where you post something incorrect or offensive. And if you are an individual, before you tweet you should probably ask yourself: “Would I mind if my future CEO saw this?” ElAhmad noted that when you use Twitter you are speaking in the public realm. “It’s like you have a mic, and whatever you say, anyone in the world can hear it.” While this is what makes Twitter so valuable, it can also become your worst nightmare if you are not careful.
8. Market your Twitter handle
Don’t forget that once you have a Twitter account, you not only need to continue tweeting regularly but you also need to market your Twitter account. This can include putting your Twitter handle on your email signatures, business cards, your company website, and on display at events.
Key Twitter tools
Twellow: Find people in your city or industry to follow. This is the Twitter equivalent of the yellow pages.
ManageFlitter: Easily manage your following and unfollow accounts by seeing who doesn’t follow you and who is inactive.
Tweetdeck: This tool allows you to bank your tweets and schedule when they will be posted.
Twitonomy: Get visual analytics on your Twitter record or anyone else’s tweets, retweets, replies, mentions, and hashtags.
SocialBro: Find out when your followers are online to know the best time to tweet.
Hashtagify: Work out which is the best hashtag to use to extend the reach of your tweets.