So, pretend I’m a little birdie…

Aiming to conquer Twitter? It’s not all that hard. But, it takes some learning and a time commitment. Here are some things to remember before leaping out of the nest:

MINIMUM INVOLVEMENT:

  1. Use a current photo of yourself or updated logo.
  2. Don’t leave the background on a default setting.
  3. Fill out your bio and include as many links as you can within your comfort zone.
  4. Include your location.
  5. Tweet at least once a day and respond to each direct message (DM) and response (@message).
  6. Monitor Twitter for discussions about your business.

BIG PICTURE IDEAS:

  1. Write well.
  2. Don’t be a jerk.
  3. Remember it’s interactive.

INSIDE BASEBALL BITS:

  1. Do not send an auto direct message, or DM, “Thank you for following” – especially with a ME link. This is kind of sacred ground for Twitter users. It’s used to communicate information that others wouldn’t be interested in or private information. If you feel the need to DM a thanks, then be darn sure it’s personalized. I’ve seen it done well, but I wouldn’t advise it because people may feel tricked.
  2. Do not use buzzwords of any kind and be as clear as humanly possible. You’ve only got 140 characters – less if you want a retweet. Why waste it on words that are like soap bubbles? They look pretty. They pop and then your reader has nothing of substance.
  3. It’s a myth that people don’t want to know what you had for lunch. If all you post are business-related or ME posts, people will suspect you are a bot. Or worse, they will suspect you are a jerk. At least every once in a while put something personal in there.
  4. Use bit.ly or other URL shortening services to minimize your links. A full URL is just too much for 140 characters. Plus, you can see how many people looked at your link.
  5. The bulk of your tweets should probably be text. But, if you are talking about something visual, you NEED to link to a pic. You can use services such as Twitpic and others to upload images and track views. For instance, “I just bought the most awesome shoes.” Well, so? Post a picture. The same holds true with video. You really need to link to a video if you are talking about movement and/or sound. For instance, “My dog can sing the alphabet while dancing.” Well, so? Post a video.
  6. Some cautions with video and photos. Don’t just post either unless they are called for. Video with sound cuts out a lot of your audience immediately. There are a good number of people who are at work and can’t listen to your dog’s rendition of the classic kids’ song. Worse yet, people who are hearing impaired are cut out whether at the office or at home. Same holds true with photos – people with vision impairment are cut out of the mix. The worst type of video to link to is the one of you just sitting at your desk talking about yourself. Second worst type of video is you interviewing someone with a static shot.
  7. People give you about five seconds FLAT to be interested in your video. If you must post  video of an interview or a ME view, then aim to include subtitles. Better yet, include a transcript. Still best, yet, just don’t link to the bad videos.
  8. This isn’t TV. This isn’t radio. This isn’t the newspaper. Don’t broadcast, but interact with people. There’s a reason why we named our company huber+co. INTERACTIVE. Listen to what others have to say and react to their posts.
  9. Don’t let the only interaction you have with followers be just on Twitter. Make a real effort to meet people in real life. A good way to do that locally would be to join http://www.cbusr.com/. If you’re not a joiner, aim to have a coffee, lunch or drink with someone at least once a month.
  10. Don’t drink and tweet. Some people can get away with this. Not you.
  11. Don’t use profanity. Some people can get away with this. Not you.
  12. If you use scheduled tweets, that’s fine. Just make absolutely sure you don’t use the same exact tweet EVERY SINGLE TIME. You are just mucking up the stream.  It also mucks up the stream if you just link to to your blog or any link without teasing the content. No one’s going to read it. And, you are annoying people.
  13. Follow back MOST of your followers. If you follow all of your followers, people who are not familiar with Twitter will be impressed with the thousands of people who are interested in you. People familiar with Twitter will think you are a social media jerk who is trying to look important with all those porn account followers and followers who say, “I’m a social media consultant and I’ll follow you if you follow me.”
  14. Aim to increase your following, but do it with quality followers. One of the best ways to do that is to follow targeted people. Since you can purchase followers, number is not always a great indicator of how successful someone is. If you really want thousands of followers, you can do it. Just get on there and follow as many people as you can. But, realize, it’s not going to do you that much good.
  15. Don’t schedule tweets with famous quotations unless they are industry-specific. If I wanted pithy quotes, I would go to the Hallmark site, thanks. It was clever by the first 100 people who did it. Now it’s just stream muck.
  16. You CAN use famous quotes to make yourself look well-read and borrow someone else’s articulate nature by responding to someone’s tweet. For example: “I’m beat.” Google “quotes about being tired.” “All parts of the human body get tired eventually except the tongue. – Konrad Adenauer.”
  17. Use lists if you want to focus your attention. For instance, you’ll see I’m on a lot of lists for C-bus. That’s one of my main focuses within my stream, so people can hit their C-bus stream and find me and others talking about happenings within Central Ohio.
  18. ALWAYS say thanks to people who retweet you or recommend you for Follow Friday or #FF. ALWAYS say thanks for ANYTHING, really. Karma is a biiig force on Twitter.
  19. #hashtags allow people to follow along in a conversation through Twitter. Groups or organizations, such as SMCC host discussions about given topics. You can follow the discussions and participate by typing the hashtag into the “search” field.
  20. You can broaden your reach if you include a hashtag in your tweet on a given topic. For instance: “I like to snowboard more than ski. #snowboarding” Your tweet will show up in a search and more people will read it. A special side note here: there’s been some speculation that Google will lower your rank for a given topic if you use a hashtag.
  21. #hashtags allow people to label feelings or happenings in a wry way. For instance: “I got home before I realized I left my daughter in the gym playroom. #mommyfail.”
  22. Follow Friday or #FF is a way to pass on some karma and let people know some good follows. It is NOT a way to just enumerate and list a bunch of friends. If you post a #FF you MUST post why. Otherwise, you are mucking up the stream again and annoying people.
  23. If you prefer to only hear what a certain list has to say – only keep that stream up.
  24. If you are feeling like a social media evil genius you can follow people you have no intention of interacting with. You can gain more followers by creating a private “ignore” list of people you don’t want to listen to that no one but you can see. Kind of defeats the purpose, though, unless you want to look like a “guru.”
  25. Sometimes a good way to gauge someone’s Twitter activity is the number of list appearances. Sometimes though, people will make up lists and add themselves to make them appear to be a big deal.
  26. Again, the evil genius social media person can create a private list that doesn’t show  you are following them. You can stealthily follow your competition’s stream, if you like.
  27. Klout is the current gold standard to gauge how successful you are at Twitter. If you follow the tips I’ve given you, your score should increase. People with tons of followers – including the purchased ones – tend to have high Klout scores. So, I’m not entirely convinced it’s that great just yet.
  28. Be conversational. If you tweet in stilted business language you run the risk of boring the Mars bars out of your followers and they will ignore you.
  29. Make sure you link all your marketing materials to your Twitter account. You can gain followers this way and harness the immediacy of it.
  30. You really should run your Twitter feed on the landing page of your site. Not everyone’s the best at updating sites regularly. Even people who aren’t on Twitter can see realtime updates from your site if you do this.
  31. Should you link your Twitter account to your Facebook account? It depends. If you think a lot of the same people are reading both, then, no. If you think you have two pretty distinct audiences, then yes. It may even be something you want to consider on a post-by-post basis.
  32. If you’d like a retweet, then ask. But, don’t ask too often or people will tune you out and you will annoy them.
  33. To track your individual tweets and see how far they’ve gone, you can run them through http://tweetreach.com/. You can also do some tracking by clicking on the owl in Hootsuite. It can tell you how much a link’s been hit. You can track a photo’s popularity by using Twitpic. Look at what’s taking off and tailor your content to match.
  34. You need to have a specific outcome with your Twitter strategy before you can track how much impact other than eyeballs you have. This is generally referred to as a call to action and is one of the paramount concepts in interactive. For instance, use an URL shortener and link to a coupon. You can track the coupons through barcodes if you are a larger company. Or, if you are a smaller company, you can assign specific numbers or codes and keep track of how much a customer spends as a correlation to the coupon. Voila – a VERY direct way to measure return on investment – especially if you use it as a loss-leader.
  35. If you are a company that offers services to other businesses, tweeting a link to a downloadable white paper or usable information can yield a measurable call to action. DO NOT make the white paper a long advertisement. MAKE SURE you are offering something of value to a potential customer or they’ll be goneski. Also, MAKE SURE the white paper is well-written for the love of Pete.
  36. Established chats are a pretty good way to up your follower numbers and make a splash within a given field. But, this isn’t going to work for all types of businesses.
  37. Constantly look at what’s doing well and what’s tanking. Be sure when a customer comes through your door you ask how it is he heard of you. Go back and change your approach based on what you find.
  38. For both business to business and business to consumer organizations, the power of monitoring all social media – including Twitter – is really important. You can do searches and start up conversations with people. That’s not going to be my topic today, though.

leighroessler

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10 responses to “So, pretend I’m a little birdie…

  1. thank you very much for posting some twitter etiquette. so many people think twitter is about broadcasting instead of conversation.

  2. Thank YOU for the comment. That’s really nice of you to say. 🙂

  3. Just stumbled upon this and so glad I did! Thanks so much for all the great advise. I hope others read it, and put it into action too!!!!

  4. Lots of good straight forward advice. Thank you!

  5. Nice post! It makes a lot of good points.

  6. Susan Pieper-Bailey

    This is an excellent guide but as a total newbie, I am overwhelmed. Sort of like when I read hockey play books about the 40+ plays in backchecking. I’m like “whoa.” Slow down. For now, I can barely spell hashtag so I’ll have to keep coming back to your list to comprehend more than just the first few points. I hope I can figure this out!

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