Just last week I set up a Twitter account for Wordly (you can follow me @wordlyau). While I had dabbled in Twittering for personal purposes previously, it had never been a favorite pastime of mine. However, given that Twitter has been used to lead entire revolutions in the Middle East, I figured that it could be a potent tool to grow my business.
The business benefits of this particular social media tool have been well documented. Through Twitter, a business can create engagement, increase influence, build brand awareness and boost lead generation.
As with all other content marketing and social media tools, you need to focus on sharing valuable content. Your content must educate, inform or entertain. Showcase your thought leadership. Do not force hard-sell spam on your audience. Offer something of value to your audience, and watch your audience, and lead generation, flourish.
Beyond the valuable content focus, I must admit that (before last week) I needed to brush up on exactly how to leverage Twitter to grow my business. The ever-changing nature of social media platforms means that regular research is vital. So, through the magic of Google, I undertook a wee bit of investigation. I uncovered just how to leverage Twitter to grow your business, how to optimise your Twitter account, how to make the most of Twitter.
This is what I discovered, in ten easy to implement steps.
Step One: Pump up your profile
Think about what sort of impression you want to make on the general public, on your audience. Then tailor your profile to suit. Your profile needs to look good, communicate why you are worth following and create brand awareness. So, make sure you have a captivating cover image, a professional profile pic, a well-written and descriptive bio and a customised background. Make sure that somewhere in there you include your logo and any other important branding elements. You know that old saying: don’t judge a book by its cover? Well, it wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t so true. Design your profile with that old saying in mind.
Step Two: Play follow the leader
Follow as many people (and companies) as possible. Follow thought leaders and industry experts. Follow potential leads and prospects. Follow anyone and everyone that you think might be interested in what you have to offer. You will be amazed at how many people follow you back, retweet your posts and share your valuable content. Just remember, the bigger your audience, the bigger your pool of potential leads.
Step Three: Build your followers
One of the most difficult aspects of setting up a successful Twitter account is building your followers. Nobody will pay attention if you only have a few followers. There are two main ways to build your following. The first is through organic growth. This takes time, and a whole heap of hard work. But it’s worth it in the long run. The second way is to buy Twitter followers. Countless companies have gone down this track. Be careful though. Buying fake followers can have an adverse affect on your reputation in the long-term. Do your research first.
Step Four: Listen to the other birds
Before you dive in head first, stop and listen. Then listen some more. Use the Twitter search engine and find out if anyone is talking about your business. Is the conversation positive? Are there any opportunities? Is it negative? Do you need to do some damage control? Don’t despair if your business isn’t the hot topic of conversation. The Twitter world has simply been waiting for your arrival. You’re here now. So get to work.
Step Five: Check out your competition
If you’re new to Twitter, it might be a good idea to survey how your competition is leveraging Twitter to engage their customers. There is nothing wrong with learning from their mistakes or adopting (but not completely ripping off) some of their more successful tactics. Take note of what their customers are saying, and how they are interacting with your competitor. Then improve on that.
Step Six: Create valuable content
This step applies to all content marketing and across all forms of social media. To reiterate what I stated earlier, ensure that the content you are sharing is informative, educational or entertaining for your followers. Use tools (like Klout, SocialEars, Topsy) to help you find this valuable content. According to the experts, blog posts, webinars, long-form content, infographics and presentations via SlideShare are your best bet when it comes to content sharing via Twitter. Don’t forget the power of the picture on Twitter either; regularly incorporate images into your Tweets.
Step Seven: Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. And then Tweet some more.
If you are looking to increase your following, and grow your profile as a thought-leader, tweet as often as you can, making sure you include relevant hashtags. Tweet your own content. Retweet the content of others. Tweet and retweet content more than once, particularly if your audience is spread across multiple time zones. If you are dead-set serious about becoming a Twitter expert, then all the other experts recommend that you Tweet valuable content at least once hour, around the clock.
Step Eight: Drive traffic to your website
Harness the power of Twitter for driving traffic to your website or blog. The simplest way to do this is to create tweets that focus on links to your website or blog. Just be sure to include a compelling message that makes people want to click on your link.
Step Nine: Create an Integrated Online Presence
Once you have your Twitter account rolling along nicely, you need to integrate it into your overall online presence. There are a few ways to do this. First of all, add your Twitter account information to your website or blog. Twitter actually offers a ‘Follow’ button that you can easily incorporate on your website. This allows people browsing your website to easily connect with you through Twitter.
Next on the list, add a tweet timeline to your website or blog. Again, Twitter makes this easy to do, providing easy-to-install widgets that automatically adding a tweet timeline to your website. The benefit of a tweet timeline is that it enables you to share your Twitter conversations with your website visitors. You get double the exposure, for exactly the same amount of effort.
Lastly, make sure it is easy for people to share your website content and blog posts on Twitter. So, add a ‘Tweet This’ button to your website pages and blog pages. Or, you can insert a Tweet into a blog post. By including a tweet right in your blog post, your readers can jump straight into your Twitter conversation.
Step Ten: Monetise your followers
We all know that social media has to demonstrate a real Return on Investment. With all the time and effort you are pouring into your Twitter account, you need to see results. So, how do you directly reap revenue from Twitter?
Take a look at @DellOutlet. They are the original masters of making money via Twitter. In 2009, they reportedly banked $3 million from Twitter related sales. Dell did this by offering exclusive discounts, available only via Twitter. Tweeting discounts, special offers and deals is probably the easiest way to monetise your followers.
To follow wordly on Twitter: https://twitter.com/wordlyau
Are you wondering what a photo of a pier has to do with Twitter? After scouring the inter-web for inspiring images somehow related to Twitter, we came up empty-handed. So, rather that fill your social media feeds and inbox with boring stock images featuring wooden models dressed as corporate suits, wordly has decided to opt for images that put a smile on our face instead. Images that inspire. Images that are beautiful. Images that make us happy. We hope they make you smile too.