For Business: Our top 5 tips for using Twitter efficiently
Tools and tips from Gisela (our Managing Director) to make social media work efficiently for your business
Anyone who's doing well using social media will tell you that it only takes a few minutes each day. The secret, though, is that they've laid the right ground work and now they have the tools and methods in place.
They may have reached that stage through trial and error, or maybe they just lucked out, but either way, you'll want to know how you can skip ahead to that point without expending excess time and effort.
Gisela recorded a video to accompany this article to give a bit more context.
But first, the standard advice that everyone gives
(and we give it because it works)
Fill out your profile (including your city) and don't follow people until you have tweeted at least ten items. We all tell you this because people want to know who you are before they follow you. And trust me, after a couple of encounters with spammers, you'll do it too.
Don't post all 10 of your launch items at once -- what that says to people is, "This person tweets too much; my feed is going to be full of their stuff."
Don't post the same message (or variations) within ten or fifteen posts of each other. (Same reason; they'll just think, "Well, I've seen this person's content; why do I need to follow them?")
Mix it up: each day plan to tweet a couple of fresh content items, a news link, a quote or two, and then a few re-tweets from other people. It's easier than you think -- you'll see.
Don't put Twitter on auto-pilot. There are tools that will automatically message people a promotional message when they follow you, auto-follow people back, etc. Just Don't. There's nothing that diminishes goodwill more than replying to someone and realizing that you are talking to a bot.
The 5 steps to streamlining your social media initiatives
1. Assess the content that you have and want to share.
Typical ideas will include: pages on your website, content you have written for other media, quotes, links to news items, your blog posts, etc. Get an idea of the sort of basic items you will want to share and make a note.
2. Create a "tweet cheat sheet" -- a document for often used tweets and tweet templates.
This is where you start to get specific. I recommend Google Docs for this so that you can access it from anywhere, but any text editor will do, really.
In step one you noted the types of content to tweet, in this step you'll actually start writing the tweets. If you wanted to tweet some quotes, gather 10 or 20 short ones (no more than 90-100 characters) and drop them in your document. If you want to tweet links to pages on your site, find the specific pages you want to direct people to and copy and paste the URL into the document. Next add a short note about the content they'll find when they click through. If you've been writing your content to have appealing and descriptive headlines (that's Marketing 101), your headline is probably the best thing to use.
On the first go, just copy and paste the links and add a note, don't worry about length. Once you've gathered 20-30 items, then start massaging the content to the right length. Twitter automatically shortens your link, so factor in 21 characters for that, leave yourself room for a hashtag or two (more on this in a bit), and you really want to leave space for people to add a note when they retweet you (share your content with their followers).
By writing down and then physically throwing away or protecting your thoughts, you influence how you end up using those thoughts http://naturalhealthcare.ca/industry_news.phtml?id=4511&sac=view #naturalhealth
which was too many characters, so it got shortened to:
Bothered by negative, unwanted thoughts? Just throw them away! http://naturalhealthcare.ca/industry_news.phtml?id=4511&sac=view #naturalhealth
Remember: all you have to shorten is the text -- the link takes care of itself.
Once you've got one done, you'll be able to gauge other similar ones by its length. This is why it's easier to do this in one step at the end rather than individually as you collect the pages. Make a few variations on each to tweet at later dates. On-going, you can simply create these as you write your blog posts or other site content.
3. Use lists to organize people and content.
We're going to jump ahead for a moment to one of the most useful features of Twitter that often gets missed by people new to it. Twitter lists are for organizing content and people for reading. They're not like mailing lists, you can't message that group of people, but it still is a handy way to find content to retweet in a flash.
One of the best kept Twitter secrets is that lists are way more useful than just the main feed of people you are following. As you start following people, check out the types of posts they share and add them to appropriate lists immediately. It'll make things easier in the long run.
You can create up to twenty lists. You might want to have a list of people in your area, fellow practitioners/natural health business people, research organizations, media people, events, etc. Have a list that consists of people who tweet the most retweetable content -- some place you'll know you can turn to to find something to retweet within a few seconds without having to wade through extraneous fluff.
The other amazing thing is you can follow other people's lists -- you can immediately benefit from their hard work categorizing. You can also check out the list members and follow them individually to forge your own network. Explore our lists at: https://twitter.com/NHCnews/lists
4. Use a tool that lets you personalize the layout of your Twitter feeds
Twitter itself is all right, but there are other tools that let you customize the data -- plus gives you access to other features. Internally, we use both Tweetdeck and Hootsuite; Bethany seems to prefer Hootsuite, I like Tweetdeck, but I will use the other when it fits my task. One advantage that Hootsuite has over Tweetdeck is it lets you manage Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other networks from one interface.
How you set them up is a matter of personal preference. I like to lay it out so that I can see my inbound messages and mentions first (so I know who to interact with immediately, whether that's replying to a message, or looking through their feed for something retweetable to return the favour).
Then I add my most-referenced lists as columns, so I can just scroll to them rather than use excess clicking. I also make columns out of my commonly used search terms or hashtags -- I've always got a #naturalhealth column open to see who else is using that tag and how busy it is -- also it usually has good retweetable content.
Columns help turn twitter from one fast-moving stream of tweets into a manageable collection of topics so that I can stay on top of what's important to me.
5. Queue up tweets in advance for your busy points in the day.
You'll want to take advantage of the window between 11 a.m. and about 5 p.m. when people seem to be the most active online seeking out health info. Unfortunately, this is also a window where most of us who run businesses are in meetings or are heads down working. Queuing up your prepared content in this window means that when you have a moment, you can poke your head in for the fun and interactive parts, the replies and retweets.
Both Tweetdeck and Hootsuite enable you to schedule tweets for later. You can queue up the entire week's worth of pre-fab content -- but remember to jump in now and again to interact with your followers and colleagues.
Check for messages and interactions a couple of times a day (click the @Connect button at the top to see who has followed you, added you to lists, and referenced your username). It only takes a moment, and you can do it while doing a couple of squats to get the blood flowing! ;-)
And there you have it!
It may take you a little while to get a rhythm flowing, but if you follow these tips, you'll be off to a solid start in using Twitter productively as a business tool.
Source (please note, some articles are only available for a limited time.)