There are a lot of Twitter veterans out there that know there stuff.
But there are also a few startups out there that struggle with Twitter.
Based on my observations I’ve put together some thoughts on how your startup can find success with Twitter. For me and GBW, Twitter has been a great marketing and networking tool. It’s helped me land client directly through interactions. It’s helped me build a small following that can follow links and send traffic to the site.
And it’s also helped to see what type of content works on social media. Knowing what content can get you attention and an audience can be wonderful for your growing business.
We’ll phrase this post in the form of mistakes, but take note that these are action steps you can take to build your Twitter profile into a powerful online asset.
Let’s get going.
1. Not Using Your Personal Twitter Account
This one might be a little controversial. I could definitely see arguments for building your brand’s Twitter account and I think you should do that if you have the time and resources, but I think you can achieve more if your team uses their personal accounts and really engages with them.
How many brands do you follow on Twitter?
How many individuals do you follow on Twitter?
If you’re like me, you follow many more individuals than brands. For example, I’m an NFL fan, but I don’t really follow the Twitter account of my favorite team or that of the NFL. I follow countless writers and individuals involved in the industry, though.
People want to connect with people so encourage your team to participate in Twitter on their own. If you hire the right people they won’t put your brand in an awkward position.
And use Twitter on your own. Build your own profile and as you rise you’ll bring your startup along with it.
2. Not Updating Enough
This is one I’ve had to learn over the years. There was a time not too long ago when I was updating maybe once per day. As a result, my following count slowly trickled down.
If you think about it, why would anyone follow me if I wasn’t providing any interesting or amusing updates? It’s a waste of time for people to follow someone if they’re not providing any value to their lives.
Over the last few months I’ve made an effort to increase posting to at least 10 times per day. A big part of this has been my using Buffer, which has been amazing. I should make an entire point on here about Buffer. For about $100/year you can schedule all your posts throughout the week in one sitting.
You still enter the info in manually, but that’s okay. It keeps that personal feel in your posts instead of having it seem like you’re automating everything.
Buffer can help you increase your updates and it can help you increase interaction with others, which leads to even more updating. It should lead to more followers and more traffic to your site.
3. Not Using Hashtags
This is another lesson I’ve had to learn. I never used hashtags other than trying (and failing) to be clever with tags like #CantWaitForSummer.
But now I realize that hashtags are incredibly useful. I’ve found about five to ten hashtags that work well for Ghost Blog Writers and I try to use 1-3 on every update I share except the ones where I’m replying to someone or giving more of a personal update.
This strategy has been very good. It’s led to more people seeing my updates. Those people often follow, favorite and retweet my updates. And they often visit the links I share leading to more traffic to the GBW Blog and website.
Find the five or ten hashtags that are popular in your industry. The important thing is that the people following and using the hashtags are your potential customers. That’s a key. Don’t look for just any popular hashtag.
4. Not Injecting Personal Tweets Into The Mix
There’s a trend here that you’re probably picking up on and that is that many of these mistakes have been ones I’ve made over the years.
The last couple months or so I’ve tried to work in more personal tweets. These have included tweets about the things I care about as hobbies like golf. It’s also included sharing articles that I find interesting from a general perspective like articles on the Paleo Diet and other health-related articles.
I’ve found that these personal tweets make me more human if that makes sense. Again, people like following people and they don’t want to see just a bunch of updates on a single topic. So I’ve tried to branch out and it’s seemed to work. I don’t know if there’s a way to track the “success” of this other than to see the overall effect of people getting to know me more and trusting the person I am more.
5. Using Mostly Promotional Tweets
This one should come as no surprise. I see it all the time even with startups and their blog.
It’s hard not to talk about your business and the promotions you’re running. I feel that there really isn’t a time when you should promote your services and products on Twitter. I just don’t see it working.
Most of the people on Twitter that will see your updates have no idea who you are. If you meet someone for the first time do you jump right into selling them something?
No. That’s not how sales works.
Instead, focus on the early stages of building a relationship. That’s why I find that blogging works well for online marketing. You can answer common questions that your target customer has. You can earn the trust of someone by providing them with some value and free content.
Once that trust is earned you move through the sales cycle and win their business.
Start with the common questions that your customer has that you can provide answers too. Then share those on Twitter and you’ll see much better results in the long-term than you will with promotional updates.
I think these strategies are some of the best you can use on Twitter. They can really help turn your Twitter game around especially if you’re just starting out. I would say I feel most strongly about using Twitter as an individual. I’ve seen a number of startup founders have success on Twitter as individuals. It’s what people want to follow so give them what they want.