Twitter: Dos and Don’ts

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Despite Twitter’s popularity, I still have people tell me all the time, “I don’t get that Twitter thing” or “I don’t do Twitter” or ask me “What is Twittering?”. These statements or questions usually make me chuckle. Despite the millions of users who engage on Twitter each day and with phrases like “follow me” or “hashtag” becoming part of pop culture, many people and businesses still don’t get it. Here’s my take on some of the best “dos and don’t” when it comes to using Twitter. 

Define Your Goal:

Why is your brand/business on Twitter?

If you only want to push users to your website, you’re missing out. While users may still follow your brand, it’s likely they won’t engage. Users need to view your brand as hub for expert information related to a certain topic, not just a product or service. 

Create Relevant Content:

To become an “expert” in a certain field you need to create relevant content that resonates with the users who follow you. Convey industry messages, not messages that only support your business. An important part of creating relevant content, is nurturing your brand voice. Users should feel like they “know who you are” by tweets. Consistency and knowing your audience will help with this. And make sure those tweeting for your company are knowledgeable, good listeners, and trustworthy. When it comes to content, it’s also important to learn how to be concise. Research shows tweets under 100 characters generate more engagement than the max 140 characters. And remember, content should not be used as a “push” marketing tool. Content should be created to establish and develop relationships. 

Be Responsive:

Respond to everyone. It doesn’t matter whether you run a big business or a small one, every twitter user wants a response if they reach out to a business. Ignoring negative tweets or conversations about your brand or industry will only harm your reputation as an “expert.” 

Use Hashtags (but don’t go crazy):

Hashtags help users find tweets on topics they may be interested in. It’s important to use at least one hashtag per tweet. Research shows brands who use hashtags get more engagement from users. But limit yourself to two hashtags max per tweet. Using more than two, well, is just too much! Twitter also allows you to search for the most popular/relevant hashtags, so keep track of the trends. This can help keep your business in tune with what users are searching for when it comes to certain topics.

Call to Action:

By asking users to “retweet” a tweet, businesses can receive 12 times higher shares than those who don’t provide a call to action. And make sure to spell out “retweet” rather than just use “RT”, because that’s proven to be more useful. This will also help drive your tweets to be more concise. It’s a challenge, but will prove beneficial. 

Be Consistent:

Once your business has a Twitter account, it needs to be managed effectively. This means you’ll need to focus on tweeting interesting content, as well as retweeting relevant posts. And this needs to happen consistently. Your goal should be to be visible on the social network. If you’re not consistent, you’ll be invisible or irrelevant. You need to keep your followers engaged and wanting to come back for more. 

When it comes to using Twitter for your business there are a few things to always remember: don’t go overboard, listen and observe, be authentic, and execute. With any social network it’s not just about utilizing it, your business needs to have a strategy to be successful. 

Do you know which brands have the most engagement on social media? Here’s a link to the top 25. Which brands from the list are you most attracted to and why? 

How does your brand try to grow engagement?

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and the organization I work for Carilion Clinic

Additional Resources:

3 Twitter Engagement Tricks You Should Do Each Day

How to Use Twitter for Business

9 Twitter “Fails” to Avoid

10 Twitter Best Practices for Businesses

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8 thoughts on “Twitter: Dos and Don’ts

  1. The most engaging Twitter accounts I’m interested in are ESPN and The Olympic Games. Until recently, I didn’t really follow many big brands or companies on Twitter. I’m learning I should so I can learn new content ideas from some of them. There are a few on the list I will probably check out soon like DisneyWords, CNN Breaking News and Instagram.

    We try to grow engagement by tracking what is popular content and continue down the same lines. Asking questions or looking for opinions is a great way to spark conversation. I think our downfall is that we don’t keep the conversation going once the question has been asked.

    • I follow more people than actual brands on Twitter. I guess that says something about personal branding, right?! I was surprised by some of the brands that are most engaged, such as Chanel, whereas other ones like ESPN and CNN Breaking News seemed more obvious.

      Constant engagement on Twitter is hard. People move on from topic to topic so fast it can be hard to keep the conversation going. That’s why I think consistent and persistent tweets help grow a following, which hopefully can translate into more engagement.

  2. Hi Laura,

    I actually don’t follow any of the 25 brands messaged, although now I am following Disney & Disneywords. I am really going to follow these only since they are the ones that most speak to me, I am always going to have a special spot in my heart for Disney. As far as my own brand, it is something I struggle with. I try to be informative when I find something interesting, but also just be myself. I am still trying to build a following on Twitter, I am hoping the lessons I learned this week will help. I try to do a mix of pictures, articles, and just things going on in my life. I also try to make sure I mix information up between the different platforms so that someone who is following me on one place will not see too many repeats. Great post!

    • Thanks Amanda. I think it’s good you’re working on your “voice.” As we learned, developing a consistent and authentic voice is half the battle on social media. It’s good to mix up your posts with photos, articles, and links. It sounds like you’re on the right track! Keep it up!

  3. Hi Laura! I actually did my blog for our Intro to Multimedia Communication class on the WWE, the No. 22 brand on the list. (http://amandaplaysjax.blogspot.com/2013/09/wwe-taking-over-its-universe-one-social.html) They do a great job of integrating social media into their broadcasts & often mention when WWE-related topics are trending on Twitter during their “Monday Night Raw” broadcast.

    Most organizations I have worked for have been in the news business, and what we have done is try to engage people on social media by starting a conversation about stories that affect their communities. Also, the organizations that I have worked for have just tried really hard to be good listeners and do what we can to address their concerns.

    • While I’m not a WWE fan, I agree they do a great job engaging with their audience. Their fans are some of the most loyal and that definitely rings true on social media. I was not surprised to see them on the list.

      Listening to communities on social media is just as important as listening in person. What impacts one community may not have any impact in another. Sometimes what’s trending worldwide has not influence on a small town. I think looking at local trends and listening are important when it comes to followers feeling like they know you.

  4. I have never heard of #Notebook but checked it out and can see why people would find it interesting and worth following.Who does not love–Love? I am trying to employ some of the strategies you refer like call to action and asking people to like and share. I still have not pinned down an exact science, but working on it. Thank you for the information.

    Also loved your graphic.

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