Social Media – whether you love it or you hate it – is a powerful force to share your message and brand, your mission and needs to a wide audience in the blink of an eye. Facebook is changing algorithms daily it seems, and Twitter has been gaining on the Social Media giant in popularity and user numbers.
Are you clueless with Twitter? Do you not understand how Twitter works or how to use Twitter for your business? Are you unsure how to engage the local community using tweets and hashtags?
This week we’ll discuss some best practices and practical uses of Twitter to help grow your business or nonprofit. If you’re brand new to Twitter, consider reading over Twitter’s own “Getting Started with Twitter” guide.
Composing a Tweet
Tweets, as you may know, are limited to 140 characters. Every letter and space and symbol you type in a tweet count towards the 140. Links are shortened automatically by the Twitter-bots inside your computer, so you can keep track of your character count along the bottom of the Tweet. If you are hoping to be “retweeted” (see Getting Started Guide), consider keeping your tweet to 120 characters or less. This allows others to respond to & retweet you in one message.
Frequency of Tweets
Unlike Facebook, it is almost impossible to tweet too much. Multiple tweets in an hour might be considered obnoxious; to reach your maximum number of tweets in a day without losing followers, space out your tweets by an hour or two. Classic marketing rules can apply. I personally operate on a schedule of 3-4 tweets per day, posted at strategic times (like posting in the early afternoon during the week when most people get back from lunch break and check in with social media before getting back to work).
One proposed Tweeting schedule is 9,1,5,9. As in, 9am, 1pm, 5pm, and 9pm. These hit most of the times throughout the day when people are likely to be popping on to check status updates.
A recent article in TIME “Newsfeeds” shares the most retweeted tweets of 2012 and 2013.
They include tweets by celebrities and the President of the United States, but more importantly, they include compelling messaging. Social media, like most parts of the internet, is flooded with scammers, advertisers, and other spam-like content that annoys and aggravates users. If you want to build a Twitter following, post real stuff. Share personal victories, like earning a degree or new certification. Share what you love about your business, or how your nonprofit is making a change in the community. Share your impact and your struggles. Don’t overload people with a ton of griping/bragging, of course, but keep a consistent stream of meaty content flowing through your Twitter messaging, and others will respond!
Interact with Others
This last tip may seem a little self-explanatory, but bear with me. If you would like to have your tweets retweeted, then retweet others’ tweets. If you would like to be mentioned or have a shout out, then offer mentions and shout outs. Respond to others tweets daily. Seek out individuals or other like-minded organizations and engage them on Twitter. This is Social Media 101, but it works.
Building up your numbers won’t do any good if all of your followers are spam-accounts and a bunch of random people who don’t really care about what you’re trying to do. Be choosy and be patient. If you begin with a steady flow of good content and building up a network, it will pay off. It will!
Image via Spiral16
Later, we’ll discuss hashtags and mentions and go into more depth with Twitter elements, but this should get you started using Twitter for your small business or nonprofit. In the end, good content and a consistent schedule are the most important elements of any marketing campaign, and the same is true for social media.Sarah Matlock
Owner, Web Design by Sarah
Sarah is the founder and sole proprietor of a small web design business in Indianapolis, IN. She works primarily with local nonprofits and small business in need of web services, like website design or social media management, at affordable rates for those smaller budgets.