Twitter Primer: Building Your #Brand While Engaging Others
Your brand is what people think about your small business.
When it comes to projecting your image on social media, you must do more than set up an account.
For instance, Twitter is an easy and excellent place to build your brand. It just requires an image and 140 characters. Sounds simple but the key is you must also “use” it. By using it I mean you need to engage with others, not just consistently send out one-way communication.
If you are new to Twitter or if you don’t make regular use of your account, consider this Twitter your primer and know that you don’t have to adopt every strategy. Even if you decide you’d like to make better use of Twitter as well as other social media platforms, you will still benefit from some basics before you hire someone to manage your social media accounts.
- Legalities. Do a quick check with your licensing agency to make sure you understand the rules of engagement for your practice in your state.
- Insurance. Depending on your line of business, you may even consider insurance to make sure you are covered if someone misunderstands the purpose of your post.
- Account. If you have a personal Twitter account, don’t use it for your small business unless you intend to use it solely for business purposes (i.e., no political rants please). Your small business’s Twitter profile should tell followers and visitors the type of business you have and include any type of short disclaimers you may want to include.
Follow people or businesses who fit your ideal client profile, but don’t feel like you must follow everyone. There are better ways to see what people are talking about.
You can set up lists on Twitter for anything you want. If you practice estate planning, you could set up a list of other small businesses who tweet news related to taxation. If you are an architect, you could create a list of real estate agents who tweet news related to what home style is popular. You don’t have to follow anyone to do it either. To create a list:
1. Visit your Twitter profile and click Settings.
2. Click Lists.
3. Create a name for your list.
4. Find accounts that you want to add to your list.
5. Add them to your list.
Going forward you just look at your lists to catch up on what those accounts have posted. It’s a nice feature if you don’t spend a lot of time on Twitter or just want to keep up with similar small businesses to see how they use their account.
The pound sign was dubbed a hashtag and eventually made its way into the dictionary. Twitter keeps a list of trending topics with hashtags so people can easily see all related tweets. Hashtags begin with the “#” and are followed by a word or short phrase. For instance: #Taxation or #ThinkBiltmore. It’s not necessary to capitalize but it does make it easier for people to read. Hashtags do use up your 140-character limit so incorporate them into the body of your message if needed.
Hashtags are active links on Twitter, click to see what other people are saying about it. Hashtags are great engagement tools because you can find:
1. Someone who needs a question answered; and
2. New ideas for creating content to share on Twitter, other social media platforms, your blog or in a company newsletter.
Creating content based on trending hashtags is a good move for your small business account. Page rankings from search engine results are greatly influenced by semantic searches. A semantic search works by trying to understand the searcher’s intent and the contextual meaning of terms used. So, if your main subject on Twitter is taxation, semantic searches would capture some of the associated terms and topics discussed above. When you create blog posts, make sure that you place a short call to action in it and direct people to your Twitter account so they can follow you there.
Twitter search can help you find accounts related to certain subjects or conversations. With this tool, you can choose whether to look at live search results, accounts, or tweets; allowing you to zero in on conversations related to a subject you’d like to read or post about.
What and When to Post
Consider posting up to three times a day. Ideally when your target market is most likely to be online. There are free online tools that will analyze your Twitter account to determine the best times to post things to your followers. You can then either post things on your own at the suggested time or use a social media tool like HootSuite to schedule tweets in advance. Using tools like these can dramatically cut down the amount of time it takes for you to keep up with your Twitter account.
Once you’ve established your schedule, don’t feel like it’s the only time you can post. It’s also important to review the schedule every so often. Using tools like Hootsuite or visiting your Twitter home page allows you to see which of your links were retweeted and clicked the most letting you know what is resonating with your audience.
The hardest thing about tweeting is deciding what to say. But perhaps it’s easier to broach this subject by pointing out what you should not do. Don’t constantly look to sell. Don’t be that person. If 12 sales people accost you when entering a store, does that make you feel warm and fuzzy? No. It just annoys you. Don’t start or end every tweet with a sales pitch. Until you have established yourself as an expert, give helpful tips or say things out of empathy and compassion. Feel free to direct people to your blog if it contains the answer to their query. Give them information as you build trust.
Here are some sources for Twitter content.
- Draw from your blog posts. When you write your blog post, note the main points so that you can compose tweets that address those points. If you are a real estate attorney and you write a blog post about the importance of a title inspection, create a list of questions that the blog post would answer and link to your post.
- FAQs. If you have FAQs related to questions that you’re asked on a regular basis, you can use those on Twitter in much the same way that you use blog posts.
- Forum Q&A. If you’re an active member on Houzz, your Q&A responses can be a Twitter gold mine. Post the question and use a hashtag on the keyword. Link back to Houzz.
- Videos. There are a lot of small businesses that use videos on Twitter. You can spend a lot of money producing videos or you can keep it simple and just use your phone. The easiest option is to download and install Periscope on your mobile device. Periscope videos feed live to Twitter and people can interact with you; you may even get people who ask questions. Answer those questions during the feed or use them to make even more videos.
Other People’s Content. Share things you read that are interesting. If you share out someone else’s content, look for them on Twitter, find their account name, and include their twitter handle in your tweet to them know you’re sharing their work. This is a great way to build relationships, get new followers, and continue to engage with others on Twitter.
Twitter engagement doesn’t happen overnight. Stay with it. Have some fun and enjoy the conversation.
Source: Twitter Tactics