This is a question I posed during a social media training session today: Is Twitter not working for you?
Have you been using Twitter – particularly as a business or a brand – but found that it isn’t delivering any results? Perhaps you’re not gaining many followers. Perhaps you’re finding it hard to scratch around for content. Maybe nobody is talking to you.
Here’s a few things you might consider to improve that Twitter experience:
Make sure you’re not just tweeting about yourself. Take a look down your Twitter profile. Are most of your tweets replies? Or are they broadcast, one-way tweets?
Twitter provides the most value (and is the most fun) when you’re talking with others. When you have Twitter conversations, you’re indicating to other people that you exist (perhaps gaining a Follow) and that you’re interested in them (again, perhaps gaining a Follow). You wouldn’t attend a networking event and talk about yourself constantly? (I hope). Twitter is the same. It’s not all about you.
Pose questions, help others, be attentive and join in.
The conversation tip above poses the question: how do you find people to chat to? How do you join relevant and interesting conversations?
The answer: use that Twitter search bar!
Search for topics, products, regions and people that are of interest to you. Go further and conduct an Advanced Search which will help you create topic searches within one city or your region. For example, you might search “fashion” and “Perth”, or “wine” and “Adelaide”, or “holiday” and “Darwin”. You can save your favourite Twitter searches. And if you’re using a social media dashboard like Hootsuite, you can save a stream (column) for your most frequent searches. Pro Hootsuite users can also do geo searches.
When you search Twitter for prospects / potential Twitter pals, you’re unlocking one of the most valuable Twitter offerings. That is, the ability to initiate contact and to be proactive. In other platforms, like Facebook, you’re working on attracting Likes and it’s more passive. Twitter enables you to ‘go out fishing’, showing people you exist there and what you have to offer.
The culture of hashtags on Twitter is what really makes the community thrive.
Search for hashtag conversations to join. Consider developing your own – perhaps for an event, product launch or conference. Or consider hosting a regular hashtag conversation. For more about hashtags, see my previous post Hashtags Can Mean Business and also Hashtag Champions.
I’m sometimes asked how I manage to keep up with the tweetstream of the thousands of people I follow. The answer: I don’t. I can’t. But I do use Twitter Lists to help ensure I keep up with some valued Twitter accounts.
Make time to develop your own Twitter Lists. It’s worth it.
My Twitter Lists mean I can quickly read over the tweets for select accounts that are of particular interest to me. For example, I can check what my ‘real life friends’ have been tweeting via my Friends list. I can check in on clients via my Clients List, and so on. Some of my lists are private and for my use only, others like my Australian Writing list and Politicians list are public and thus other Twitter users can subscribe to these.
To add a Twitter account to a List, simply hover over the account as per the illustration below. You’ll see the option to Add or Remove from List (and also when you click through, you’ll have the option to Create a new List).
So in summary: conversations, searching, hashtags and lists can immensely boost your Twitter experience. You’ll have more followers (which equals a larger community), and more conversations to take part in and learn from.
Good luck and enjoy!
For my South Australian readers: you may want to register for my Twitter 101 For Business classes. If you’re interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org These are run approximately every six weeks and are 3 hours duration.