Is Twitter a bit of a mystery to you? Do you feel like you have more questions than answers about how Twitter works for marketing your business?
Well you aren’t alone. Many people are confused by how Twitter works, how to get more followers, and how to make sure you are getting a return on your investment of time.
Read on to get some of the top questions answered that I’ve received about Twitter while doing my consulting and speaking.
#1 Should my business be on Twitter?
If you aren’t on Twitter yet, this is a top concern for business owners. They wonder if they are missing out on an amazing marketing opportunity.
And yes, Twitter can be amazing. I know people who have built their entire sales lead funnel around Twitter. But before you dive in head first to only abandon your profile a month later with only 10 tweets, write down the answers to these questions:
- Are my customers on Twitter? Take a look at the social media demographics for each site but also do some advanced searches (see #2) with your keywords.
- Do I have time for Twitter? You will need to participate on Twitter and check in every day. It doesn’t always have to be long (5 minutes while you are waiting in line works) but you need to fit it into your schedule. Also allow time to get up to speed and comfortable with Twitter as you get started.
- What are my goals for Twitter? Set some goals and be realistic. Good goals could include things like “Get 5 new e-mail subscribers per week from Twitter”, or “Interact with 4 customers per week by tweeting with them directly”.
#2 How do I find things on Twitter?
Twitter has an extremely powerful advanced search that you can use here: https://twitter.com/search-advanced Even if you don’t have an account you can search for things on Twitter so it’s a good way to poke around first and decide if you want to actually sign up.
You can find specific people by putting their name in the search fields as well.
#3 How do I get more followers on Twitter?
There are a couple of good techniques that you can be using. The first is by following people both in your industry and people who you are interested in interacting with. About 50% of the people you follow will follow you back (unless they are big celebrities or spambots).
The best way to get more followers is interact with people on Twitter. Tweet directly to people, retweet people, participate on Tweetchats (see #6), and use hashtags in your tweets to be more visible (see #5). Make sure your own Twitter stream is interesting and helpful (not just filled with sales messages).
#4 How do I get more engagement on Twitter?
The goal of Twitter is to connect with people. So once you start tweeting to other people, they will more than likely respond back. Watch your feed and retweet people but add an comment of your own if there is room – like “nice post” or “great tips”. Put people on Twitter Lists so that you can keep track of the people you talk to and it’s easier to interact.
#5 What are hashtags?
Hashtags are a powerful tool that you can use to add special keywords to your tweets to make them more visible. All you have to do is use the # symbol and add a word or words (with no spaces). You can make up any hashtag you want like #idontwanttogotowork or it can be more meaningful like #facebooktips.
When you click on these hashtags in Twitter, you will see all the tweets that contain that hashtag by anyone in the world. Hashtags are a great way to discover new people talking about the same thing, see what’s being said about a topic, or break out a conversation with many people at one time who you aren’t following.
Now you can use that information to follow those like-minded people or participate in the conversation.
Hashtags are also commonly used for events where people will be tweeting and may want to connect with other people at the event or see what is happening at the event. For example, everyone at the Hubspot Inbound Marketing event can use the hashtag #Inbound13 to see what others are saying about the event and to find out what is going on. Plus it’s a good way for people who can’t be at the event to participate virtually. Read How to Use Twitter to Market Your Event to learn more.
You can also use Hashtags.org to find trending hashtags and more information about them.
#6 What is a Tweetchat?
A Tweetchat is where people agree to “meet” online and all use the same hashtag to have a conversation about some topic. There are some regularly scheduled tweetchats each week on every topic from authoring a book, gardening, marketing, parenting, and more. All you need to do is to be on Twitter at the scheduled time and then tweet using the set hashtag.
A good tool for attending a Tweetchat is Tweetchat.com (clever name) where all the tweets containing the hashtag are automatically separated out for you and the tool automatically enters the hashtag into your own tweets.
Take a look at this list of Tweetchats and see if there is one that you can participate in to give it a try! Tweetchat schedule
#7 Should I set up auto direct messages (auto DMs)?
#8 What are some of the top Twitter tools that will make my life easier?
My favorite must-use tool for Twitter is Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a social media management tool that you can use to post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ all from one dashboard. But I particularly like Hootsuite for Twitter because of the way you can organize everything into columns.
You can organize all your Twitter lists, searches, and streams so that you can get a good picture of what is happening in one glance. Hootsuite will save you so much time you’ll be able to take up a new hobby.
Other tools I really love are:
- Tweepi – helps you clean out the Twitter followers who aren’t following you back if you are concerned about that. It’s not always a priority but sometimes you do need to worry about your follower count.
- Followerwonk – analyzes your followers and gives you great analytics
- Twittercounter – measures your Twitter following and lets you benchmark against other users
- Twellow – lets you search the bios of Twitter users
- Commun.it – helps you find new followers and monitor your engagement
#9 How do I measure Twitter?
Some of the tools mentioned in #8 will give you different types of statistics that you may be interested in. Another tool I really like for measurement and reporting is SproutSocial
But you also need to go back to your goals for Twitter and make sure you are measuring the right things. If you are looking to send more traffic to your website, make sure you install Google Analytics and watch the stats there – Twitter shows up as t.co as the referring traffic.
Or if your goal is more signups to your newsletter make sure you have a way to track where people are coming from when they sign up.
#10 How do I sell on Twitter?
Selling can only be accomplished after you give value to others. So make a plan for how you are going to help people first. Then people will begin to know, like, and trust you.
I think selling is better accomplished through your e-mail campaigns. You can occasionally tweet out sales messages (20% of the time or less – I strive for 10% max) as a reinforcement about your latest product or service. But I recommend keeping the sales messages to a minimum.
Bonus question: How do I stop Auto DMs on Twitter? (And How do I stop tweeting from Facebook?)
Sometimes people have set up some Twitter automation – either Auto DMs to others or connecting Twitter and Facebook so that everything gets tweeted from Facebook and they don’t remember how to they did it in the first place. The easiest way to stop this is to go into your Apps area of your Twitter settings and delete the Apps that you have giving permission to use your Twitter account.
This is a good practice anyway since many hackers can get into your Twitter account through a rogue App. First go to your Settings area.
Then select Apps from the lefthand menu. You can keep the Apps that you use, but Revoke access to anything you don’t recognize or use often.
Hope that helped answer many of your Twitter questions! If not, put them in the comments below!