We talked last week about the 5 year anniversary of Twitter and the crazy growth it’s seen and will continue to see. The numbers don’t lie–people are on Twitter, and no matter what you may think, those people aren’t just the gum-smacking tween types. While the adolescents are certainly out there in the Twittersphere, the biggest estimated group on Twitter right now is in their 20s and 30s, and there’s a strong representation of users in their 40s. So whatever your target audience, it’s a good chance they’re hanging out on Twitter and that this is a social media platform that needs to be monitored and considered in your business’s web marketing plans.
One challenge of Twitter is maintenance. While it doesn’t seem so bad to share a few 140-character thoughts every once in awhile, building relationships and making connections on Twitter requires relatively regular monitoring. And building relationships is really what you want to be doing on Twitter. It’s a tool that will give back what you put into it. So with that in mind, here are some thoughts on how to make the most of Twitter and to build your loyal network, even if you don’t have a ton of extra time:
- Know what your fans and potential customers are interested in. Follow conversations on Twitter about topics important to you. Search for tweets about products you sell, services you offer, the industry you work in, etc. You can make decisions–both on and off Twitter–about your business based on this information.
- This is a simple one: know who’s talking about YOU. Do regular searches on your own brand and misspellings of your brand name. If you find people referencing you, talk to them! And follow them! Don’t be shy…but DO, of course, stay sensitive to what it is they’re saying.
- On that note, follow people. Sometimes simply following someone who shows interest in what you sell is all you need to get a follower in return.
- On another note, be nice to people. Following someone is step one, just like introducing yourself is in “real” life. But you wouldn’t introduce yourself to someone at a party, then walk away. You’d follow through with pleasant conversation, maybe a complement, some questions about the person. This same thing should occur in Twitterland. To reference ourselves once again, remember that something as simple and obvious as being nice and doing good business can help your integrated online marketing efforts.
- Make friends with other similar business. As you begin to notice some of the same names pop up, you’ll find businesses who fit your own positioning, general vibe, etc. These can be some of your best advocates, since they know the struggles of online marketing. Engage with them; send a tweet to their attention and retweet them a few times. While contests and direct promotion might be a fit, simply including each other in conversation on Twitter will expose your brands to one another’s audiences. This simple support can go a long way as you each continue to interact and get noticed in more Twitter feeds.
Again, Twitter will give back what you put into it. But if you can’t be monitoring it all day, at least keep these simple tactics in mind and then break up the day based on these goals. Even if you can only check in on Twitter 3 times in a day, keep your brand identity and business principles in mind, and your eye open for opportunity. Remember how quickly the Twitter craze is growing, so if that next follower or brand advocate isn’t there today, they might join the conversation tomorrow!