As a business owner, it is important to use any possible tool available to communicate with your customers. Twitter is one of those tools, and it is powerful because it encourages customers to engage in conversation with businesses and vice versa. These conversations help build relationships, which in turn translates to higher engagement and conversions – and ultimately, more profits for your business.
Tweets can help you spread the word about products, the websites you’re involved with, news about what’s going on within your business. For example, do you have a sale event happening soon? Have your ordered or created a new line of merchandise? Have your taken on a new member of staff? You can use Twitter to keep your followers informed. Most importantly, it allows your customers to see that you are human, which is a critical part of social media engagement.
If you’ve never used Twitter before, this guide will help you learn key terms you’ll need to know.
Tweets can be up to 140 characters long. You can use any characters, and include links.
By typing @ followed by the username of the person you want to talk to, (@username) before your message, you can send a tweet directly to a person. Everyone, not just that person will be able to
see your message.
Following another user simply means their tweets will appear in your home stream. To follow someone, click “follow” on their profile page.
Like Facebook fans, these are the people who will see your tweets appear on their home screen. They follow you.
- The home screen
All the tweets of the people you follow will show up here, like the status updates of people you’re friends with and pages you like on Facebook show in your newsfeed.
- Your profile
This is your place on Twitter. All the tweets you post will show here.
Also known as a direct message, this is how you send a private message to another person. For this feature to work, you must be following each other. Messages sent this way would only be seen by the people you send them to.
With the basic terminology and how it works out of the way, let’s move on to how you can use it to promote your business.
Build a Great Profile
To be successful with Twitter, you must have a good profile – so here are some things you can do to make sure you’re off on the right start.
Your profile picture. Upload a photo of yourself, because it will let people see there is a real person behind the account. If you’re tweeting for a company, use your company logo.
Location. This tells people where you are located – make sure to include it.
Web. Add your primary website address here. It can be any website you want – link to your blog, a product you sell, etc. Skipping this can cause you to miss out on some traffic.
Bio. Sell yourself in 160 characters or less. Who are you? What do you do? Why should people follow you?
Change Your Background
If you want, you can also change your profile background. You can either upload one of your own, or use one of Twitter’s built-in designs.
It’s a good idea to upload your own, because you can customize it and make it unique to your business. You are free to include text and advertising in your background, so you can include your website address, if you want.
Much the same way no one will see your statuses on Facebook if you don’t have fans, no one will see your tweets if you don’t have followers – so here are some tips to help you get started.
Before we talk about that, it’s important to discuss the two types of followers: Well we’ll get onto that in a moment but first I want to define between two types of followers:
One type of follower is the people who follow you because you follow them. Most advice tells you to follow people back just because they follow you – and while this strategy works to get your started, it only does well over the short term.
The second type of follower is the one you really want and those are people who follow you because they want to follow you.
See the difference? The first type doesn’t necessarily have to be directly interested in what you tweet. The second however, is – and you need the people who will actively read what you’re saying and click on the links you share.
Getting the First 100 Followers
So, you just created a brand new Twitter account, and you don’t have any followers?
To start, follow other people.
Make a list of the power players in your niche. Find them on Twitter. Now, look at who follows those power players, and follow them.
If they are following your competitor, they are at least partially interested in your niche.
Once you follow these people – at least a small percentage will follow you back.
Follow up to 300 people with that method, over a couple of days.
You’ll start to notice followers coming to you – so keep it going
until you get the first 100 followers, and then your next 100 followers.
Other Methods to Generate Followers
· Do you have an email list? Email your subscribers and tell them they can connect with you on Twitter.
- · Tell people on other social networks you’re part of such as Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. about your new Twitter profile.
- · Add a link to your Twitter profile on your websites, blogs, email signature, and forum signatures.
The most important part though – relies in posting relevant and interesting tweets. If you post genuinely engage with people, and are not all about self- promotion, you’ll begin to notice people following you without you needing to do anything. These are the best followers because they are most likely to engage with you and click links.
Some of the most common Twitter mistakes
People all over the world use Twitter, and when used correctly, it can be a wonderful way to market yourself and your brand. Many don’t do it right, and have done a lot of damage. To ensure you don’t make those same mistakes, keep reading.
If you last posted a tweet a month ago – you’re telling your followers you don’t’ care. People will quickly forget you, so tweet a couple times per day.
Following Just Anyone
Yes, you want followers but you don’t do it by following anyone and everyone. You want a targeted group of followers. Choose people who are tweeting things you are interested in, or who have shown interest in your niche.
Following 2,000 people when you only have 200 followers shows the rest of the Twitterverse you’re desperate. Keep the ratio similar.
Only Using Twitter for Self Promotion
This is the most common Twitter mistake. If all you do is talk about yourself, your products, or your services, people will stop paying attention to what it is you have to say – and will likely unfollow you.
It’s like this: you know that commercial you hate on TV? Imagine it playing all the time. You’d eventually either change the channel, or stop watching TV all together, wouldn’t you?
Tweeting Too Much
Twitter users don’t see much worse than logging on to find their home feeds full of tweets from a single person. Yes, your followers are interested in you, but they do not have to know every minute of every day in your life.
If you don’t interact with people – it shows you’re not paying attention, which shows you don’t care. If someone @ messages
you, reply promptly. If someone re-tweets you – thank them and
check out the profile. If you like it, follow them. Ask question and answer questions.
Let’s now look at Facebook…
Facebook is the most well known social networking website on the web and is designed to help build and sustain connections with family, friends, and businesses. Founded in 2004, the network was at first only open to college students, but has since become available to anyone.
Profiles are available for individuals who want to connect with others, while pages are available to businesses who want to connect with their target demographic for the purpose of advertising products and services.
Benefits to business owners
Connecting and Building Relationships
Facebook provides both live chat and private messaging platforms. Businesses can use these tools to connect with current and prospective customers, as well as co-workers. It’s a great way to nurture relationships beyond the basic features Facebook offers.
Building Brand Credibility
You can share as much information as you want on your business page. Using the profile photo space and the timeline cover space will allow you to build and foster brand awareness. Using photos and the messages you share on your page can show fans your brand’s core message. Taking the time to interact with fans not
only shares your core message, but also shows your fans that you
Care. When your fans are happy, they’ll share your message with
their friends and followers too.
It costs you nothing to create and run a Facebook page. You’ll have a time investment of course because you’ll need to manage the page regularly. As you continue to invest time, your reach will increase exponentially. There is a paid advertising option, but we’ll discuss that in more detail later in this article. Using that option can give you a leg up on the competition if there’s room in your marketing budget.
Announcing Important Events
You can announce events, discounts, product launches, and more with your Facebook page. Fans can share the information with their friends to spread the message for you.
Setting Up Your Fan Page
If you do not have a fan page, you can’t reach your target audience. Chances are you already have a personal Facebook account, but the terms of service require you to use a page for business, rather than a personal profile. You must create a fan page for your product/service/brand.
All you have to do to get started is visit: http://facebook.com/page. From there, choose your category from the list of options:
- Local Business or Place
- Company, Organization or Institution
- Brand or Product
- Artist, Band or Public Figure
- Cause or Community
Fill in the appropriate information. You’ll things such as: business name, website, location, launch/founding date, hours of operation, etc.
Profile Main Image: 160px x 160px – Great for your logo.
Cover Photo: 851px x 315px – Great for promotions. It’s against the terms of service to include contact information in this area.
Pinned Post or Story: 403px x 403px
Milestone/Highlighted Story: 843px x 403px
Suggest the Page to Your Friends: This helps you add likes to build and grow your brand’s social media presence. It also helps start the spread of your messages.
Import Contacts: It’s a good idea to import your email contacts, so you can suggest your page to people you know, but are not yet friends with on Facebook.
Start Writing Content: Post updates, share links, ask questions. This will start engaging your fan base. It’s a good idea to share your own content 10% of the time – people will stop paying attention to you if all you do is toot your own horn. Don’t just talk at people – talk to them.
Once you have enough fans, get a vanity URL. This allows your Facebook page URL to be: http://facebook.com/yournamehere instead of the auto-assigned (and hard to remember) URL you’re given when you first sign up for your page.
Unless you have “likes”, nobody on Facebook will see what you post. The new Facebook algorithm will only show your message to a small portion of your fan base, unless those fans have chosen to see all your updates, or unless you decide to pay real money to promote the status update. As complicated as all of this sounds, however, it doesn’t have to be hard to do. These ideas can help you get started.
Post a status update on your personal page. If you tag your business page in that status update and ask your friends to like the page, then share the status, or the page with their friends, you’ll
get a good (free) head start on your numbers.
Get fans to upload and tag photos. Ask your friends to upload photos of themselves either at your place of business, using your product or using your service, and tag your business page. This will increase visibility and give you great material to include on your page.
Offer an incentive. Whether you choose to discount the product or service you offer, or provide a free gift (such as an eBook), people will be much more likely to “like” your page when they feel like they are getting something in return.
Install a page badge. With just a few clicks, you can link your
Facebook page to your website.
Install a Facebook “Like Box” on your website. The “Like Box” is similar to the page badge, but this allows website visitors to become fans of your page, without having to visit Facebook or leave your website.
Install a “Like” button on your website. This adds the Facebook “like” button to every page and/or post on your website. If someone clicks this, the “like” will show up in their Facebook feed,
giving you more exposure.
Connect the page to Twitter. This adds anything you post on Facebook to your Twitter account, allowing you to cross promote and convert Twitter followers into fans on Facebook fans.
Link to your page as a place of employment. You’ll be able to
link to your page from your personal profile this way.
Add the Facebook URL to your email signature. This way everyone you email will see it.
Add the Facebook URL to your business cards. You’re not always promoting online, but you need to promote your online presence all the time.
Instead of linking to your website in blog comments, you’re your Facebook page. This builds backlinks to increase your search engine ranking. As people see the comment, you may get extra likes.
Link to your Facebook page from your profile. Add your pages link to your profile. This way your friends who have yet to like your page will still see the link.
Advertise your page with Facebook Ads. If your budget allows, use Facebook’s paid advertising to expose your page to people outside your personal network.
A word of warning:
As you’re looking for ways to add fans, you may find companies promoting fans for sale. Fans you buy this way are usually fake profiles – and even if they are real people, usually are not targeted to your audience. It’s better to have a fan base with fewer targeted fans than a larger one with no targeted fans. Targeted fans are more likely to convert and put cash in your pocket. You of course,
are free to use this approach, but do so at your own risk and we would not advise it.
Facebook has a platform similar to Google that allows page owners to pay for advertising. You can choose to pay for ads based on the number of impressions (how many times they are shown) or based on clicks (the number of times people actually click your ad.) With this platform, you can highly target your audience with a variety of demographics, such as: age, location, interests, gender, interests, and more.
It’s also possible to set a budget. When that budget is reached,
you can stop running the ad. The ads are served on the sidebar, or possibly as sponsored content in the timeline.
You must bid on the cost per click, so the lower you bid on each click, the less likely your ad is to be served. The first time you run
an ad, it will go to Facebook for approval before it begins to run.
Google+ is the social networking platform from Google. It’s similar to Facebook, though there are additional features to help it compete with the most popular social networking site in the world. It certainly does not have the audience that Facebook does, but the potential in the network is what makes it worth watching.
Benefits to Business Owners
Quickly Indexed Status Updates
Status updates are quickly indexed because of the fact that Google owns and operates the network. Because of this, you can use Google+ as part of your SEO efforts – it helps build backlinks to your website.
The “+1 Button” is the same thing as the re-tweet on Twitter, or the
“like” button on Facebook. It allows you to give a vote of confidence to what you’ve just seen. This tells Google that you either found it valuable, or helpful. When people are clicking the +1 button on your content, it helps to increase your content’s visibility.
Circles let you manage your life on the social network. You can create as many circles as you want to, and control the information those circles see. You can choose which circles to share what information with. The best part is, none of your friends know what
circles they are in, or the name you’ve given it. As such, you could
have circles for: Friends, Family, Co-Workers, Prospective Clients, Current Clients, etc.
Hangouts are video chats hosted in Google+. You can connect with up to 10 people at a time. It’s possible to connect with your app on your mobile phone.
Populate Your Page with Content First
Fill out your profile. Add some content. Even though no one will see it, it’s better to have content on the page than to show followers a page that is obviously brand new. Sending people to a page that doesn’t have much of anything, or anything at all on it will make you look like an inactive user. You’ll end up coming off as spam, which is definitely not what you want.
Promote Your Google Plus Profile on Other Social Media
You’ll need to use Facebook and Twitter to advertise the fact that you’re on Google+ as well. Many people are still not using
Google+ to its potential, so grabbing them on other social networks and showing them you are active on Google+ as well is important.
If they do not already have an account, some people may decide to sign up for the service to follow you over there, too.
Make the Most of Google Hangouts
Video chats can be used in a number of ways to help you
strengthen your brand identity online.
Host a Live Hangout to Connect with Members of Your
- Host a live hangout and invite people to come find out more about who you are, what your company is doing, etc. You can host these every week, every two weeks, or every month. As another idea, you could create a themed monthly meeting, and ask people to
join you to add to the discussion.
- Offer One-on-One Coaching Sessions
- Online coaching sessions directly with your clients will provide
value for them. For example, if you’re teaching the basic of Internet marketing – offer a coaching session that shows them how to
- Create Video Interviews
- Book an interview with someone who’s well respected in your niche. Host it via Google Hangouts. You don’t necessarily have to have other attendees, but you can record and it save it for later. This allows you to use it as a promotional video to help sell your products and services.
- Hold Meetings
- Do you work from home, but still need to communicate with people who live all over the world? Use Hangouts to get everyone
together at the same time – so you can talk business.
- Create an Online Game
- Launch a video contest with Hangouts.
- Add More to Your Customer Service
- Troubleshoot issues with your product or service via Hangouts. This is especially helpful when you need to see what’s going on a person’s computer screen.
- Give Presentations
- With screen sharing, you can produce a much more dynamic presentation that people will remember. Beyond screen sharing, you can also play YouTube videos, music, and more.
- Hold Virtual Office Hours
- If you’re teaching something, allow yourself to be open to your
students during certain virtual office hours.
- Engage Followers
- Your business can have a Google+ page, just like it can have a Facebook page. You may find it more difficult to find followers here at first just because of the sheer number of people who are on Facebook compared to those on Google+. But, as long as you are providing value with things like engaging with questions that will ignite conversation and posting content on a regular basis: relevant news stories, infographics, video infographics, etc. without constantly tooting your own horn, you will be able to build up a substantial following.
- Don’t want to do it alone?
- If you like what you have read in this article but still find the idea of setting up your own social media campaign daunting or you simply don’t have the time to do it yourself, please contact us today.
- We specialize in helping small local businesses just like yours to reach a brand new, global audience and increase company profits. Find out what we can do for your business.