Twitter: tips for taking it to the next level

Posted on: January 11, 2011

You have a twitter account, know who and how to follow, tweet and re-tweet – what’s next?

These tips are designed for intermediate twitter users who want to take their usage to the next level by increasing followers and building relationships that can be converted into traffic and loyalty for their website or brand. Some mention Hootsuite (my favourite Twitter client*), but you can do almost all of this without it.

  1. Mix it up and use hashtags: Don’t just tweet items from your own site, alternate with content from others. And it often isn’t necessary to restrict yourself to new articles / items. Consider plugging entire sections of your site – using creative language and including names and company names to add interest and encourage brand twitter accounts to pick up the mention. e.g. Friday reading: our 5min interviews include Donna Young from #BT & Paul Monaghan at Co-op Jump on trending / relevant hashtags, e.g. #EcoMonday – or take advantage of the date / time to say something absolutely in the moment, e.g. o2 today took advantage of the binary moment:  It’s 11:11 on 11/1/11! To celebrate we’re giving away phones to the 11th, 111th and 1111th person who RTs our next tweet…
  2. Use lists and mentions to cultivate important relationships: When a new theme comes up due to an event, article on your site or new product – create a public list so you can always tap back into people interested in it. Create private lists for ‘influencers’ – bloggers / popular tweeters you most want to connect with. Then monitor the lists and share content regularly from them or reply to the tweeter’s questions and comments. Tip: if trying to keep down followers / following ratio it is possible to add someone to a list without following them. If you are creating a niche subject list and want to catch the attention of those you are adding it is also worthwhile tweeting with a mention of them each time you add a tweeter to your list. e.g. just added @MariamCook to my social media list – (Note: you are only allowed to create a maximum of 20 lists.)
  3. Schedule / work according to geography / time zones: Focus tweets during office hours of the country/market you are targeting, but use the rest of the night / weekend too. When people’s twitter timelines are less busy they are more likely to notice your tweet. You can schedule tweets in unsociable hours using HootSuite or TweetDeck – and if you are a Pro Hootsuite user you can bulk schedule by uploading a CSV file with up to 50 tweets. This only works for campaigns with unique tweets – as you cannot create duplicate tweets in one CSV using bulk scheduling. If a story is US focused / friendly (from your site or a re-tweet) – schedule a tweet about it after 4pm GMT, to catch a UK and US audience. If a story concerns the southern hemisphere – e.g. Australia – schedule tweets to go out between 11pm and 4am GMT.
  4. Automatically tweet new site content: Set up a tool like twitterfeed to automatically feed out new articles / blog posts / products via RSS (you will need to set up an account for this). Then tweet each one again an hour or more later using different text other than the headline on your RSS feed, adding hashtags.
  5. Keep it short – If you want a tweet to be shared leave plenty of room for others to re-tweet – making it as short as possible, for example by using the & sign and cutting out any unnecessary words. The tweet should be maximum (140 – 8 – length of your twitterid).
  6. Engage, answer questions: Sometimes people will ask a question directly on Twitter. If they are asking a general question related to your organisation / core subject – try and respond.  This builds intimacy quicker than just re-tweeting. If relevant, try and link your answer back to a piece on your site.
  7. Make every follow a re-tweet: If they’re good enough to follow they should be good enough to re-tweet. A follow takes a bit of thought – but spending a few more minutes to re-tweet means relationship building. When you follow someone new in Hootsuite it is easy to click on their profile – view their timeline and see a good recent tweet for sharing. If the tweeter is already following you this will make them feel appreciated – or someone who isn’t yet following you back is more likely to notice you and do so.
  8. Ask your contacts to tweet important items: Reach out with other means and ask others to tweet your content – dm or email them, but do this sparingly. Then show appreciation on twitter by re-tweeting their tweet including their username and / or sharing their content in return.
  9. Bring relevant content from Twitter back to your own site: and credit the tweeter who recommended it – e.g. embedding youtube videos in blog posts with a short intro. This will make the twitter follower feel appreciated, and in turn encourage other tweeters to mention and re-tweet you as they can see you are engaging.
  10. Ride on what’s already popular: People like to know what’s hot. First see what is doing best on your site analytics package and check that article is well linked to other items around your site including in-text linking. Then promote on Twitter to drive people to and around your site e.g. Popular over last week:  How Toyota perfected trending tweets >

*I haven’t been paid to say this

Twitter birds cartoon by Scott Hampson


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