Twitter is very much the “odd-one-out” of the social media platforms. While other platforms actively encourage you to post long-form, multimedia content, Twitter is still very much focussed on short messages. These days, it’s common for these to be supplemented by images and video clips but the ethos of the site is still very much “short and sweet”. Although Twitter has been through some tough times and is still very far from out of the woods, it remains a valuable platform, so here are some tips on how to get the best out of it.
Make sure you have a complete and engaging profile
Even if you’re running a brand account, you still need a profile photo and details. It’s also a good idea to put your URL in your bio so it can be easily seen on a mobile device. If you’re using Twitter as a customer service channel, it’s considered good etiquette to make it known who is operating the Twitter account.
Also, make sure that your company message is consistent across all platforms that you’re on.
Be selective about the accounts and hashtags
What you’re looking for is evidence of relevancy and engagement. These are far more valuable than “big-picture” figures such as follower count. There’s a reason these are often known as “vanity metrics” (plus they can be “massaged” relatively easily). Be realistic about the fact that the big accounts (in just about any niche) are probably going to focus on their relationship with big brands which can afford big money. Smaller companies are probably going to fare a lot better with smaller or even micro-influencers who have very engaged communities.
Learn the skill of using hashtags effectively
Hashtags are effectively labels which identify the content of your post. They are very similar to keywords, but there are also some major differences in how they behave.
When you create a Tweet it will initially be seen by your followers. If they react positively to it, then Twitter may decide to suggest it to people who search on any hashtags you have used within your post. Whether or not Twitter does so, however, will depend on how they think your post compares to other posts with the same hashtag.
For high-competition keywords, authority matters a lot and smaller/newer accounts are likely to find themselves pushed out by older accounts with bigger followings. There’s little point in worrying about this because the only way to address it is to keep posting great content, grow your following and let time work its magic. On the plus side, once you are a more established account this reality will work in your favour. In the meantime, stick to using less-competitive hashtags plus a hashtag you create for your brand.
- Keep hashtags to a minimum, one or two per post is usually fine, beware of more than three
- Be wary of using humorous hashtags, especially long ones, people can find them irritating
- AVOID USING CAPS LOCK IN HASHTAGS (or any type of message) IT’S SEEN AS SHOUTING
Remember to interact with your own account and the accounts you follow
Although it has to be acknowledged that Twitter can be used for mass broadcasts of important information by authority accounts, that is definitely not its main purpose. It is a social media platform, which means that its purpose is to facilitate social interaction. That means listening as well as talking. You generally want to aim for an 80/20 balance of active listening and talking.
Active listening means letting people know you’re paying attention to what they’re saying and the way to do this is to like, retweet, share and leave meaningful comments on their content. Meaningful comments are ones which refer back to something someone said, not just an emoji or an “I agree!”.
Should you purchase followers?
Any paid for following runs the risk of two things
- The platform can and most likely will block you
- Your followers will bring you nothing, no engagement, no interaction or business.
You might think that it’s important to be seen to have thousands of followers and yes, having a larger following is desirable BUT not at the expense of quality. Having a few followers that actively RT, share and comment will add you far more value in the long run. Take the time to build your following – especially now if you have extra time on your hands. Follow relevant people and engage with them, you’ll see return followers who are interested in you.
If you’re new to the platform (or social media in general) we have lost of beginner blogs that will help you get set up and avoid the pitfalls. If in doubt though, please ask.