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Twitter Basics … Updated

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The mistakes I see being made by brands is trying to measure Social engagement with the same tools we measure every other digital touch point. In my view email, search, even banner ads, have spoiled marketers into thinking everything can be and must be measured with the same metrics used to gauge success in other mediums.

When initially building a social media audience, and testing it, I have three stages with which I measure:

#1 Audience growth
#2 is Reactivity… getting them to take an action, and
#3 Stickiness… keeping them coming back, engaged and interacting.

After you achieve all these I feel measurement will easily follow depending upon what is important to you and your brand.

Want to reach your market? Guess what, the marketing focus needs to be onbuilding relationships, and metrics need to expand beyond ROI (Return on Investment) to include ROR: Return on Relationship™. If you are not engaging in your field of expertise on Twitter, using hashtags and active listening, someone else is. The first issue is that you are missing that opportunity and handing it to others. Second… if you are not talking about your business, your customers and prospects probably are, and you are not there to participate, engage, interact and most important for your business… listen and lead.

My philosophy is that Twitter is a tool that leads into other forms of social sharing. I consider Twitter a place to lay the groundwork where other people pick up things. Twitter is a seeding medium and a place to build engagement and interaction… it can be used as a broadcast medium but not to it’s greatest effect, so it is not about the quantity of people listening at once, but the ability to lay it out there for those whose attention are drawn to what you have to say at any given moment.

Twitter is a river that continuously flows, and flows. You add content one second, and the next it is gone. Tweet to keep your brand, personal and business, on your followers’ radar, increase your following, and provide value that keeps followers listening and you top of mind. Send the same tweet often multiple times in a day if you want it to be seen by a larger percentage of followers and send valuable, evergreen, content repeatedly over the course of time.

TWITTER BRANDING – Visual

Make your cover image, profile pic and link color go with your brand guidelines. Make sure your bio is an eye catcher. Your cover image has huge potential to tell a story about your brand beyond words and will catch people’s eyes. Spend a little extra time on the look of your handle – i.e. no pixelated pictures etc., if possible.

TWITTER BRANDING – Hashtags

Pick a hashtag for a brand/campaign to use on most tweets and encourage anyone involved with you to add that hashtag to their tweets. This allows for easy tracking and active listening. Make your hashtag top of mind.

Start building Twitter lists of people that you want to pay extra close attention to. Periodically check out these followers to find interesting posts and RT’s and show you are paying attention.

Create internal social media syndication in your company. Maybe a team member sends out weekly tweetables every Monday that makes it easy for coworkers to share? Maybe one employee per week is running your Twitter handle? The key is to get your employees engaged and enthusiastic on what’s going on in the Twitter stream.

GET AND MAINTAIN FOLLOWERS

Twitter has a cap to the number of people you are allowed to follow vs. how many are following you (caps at 2000, until you get within 5-10% of that in followers). There is a bit of a process to follow, to grow the accounts.

The process:

  1. Sign into Twitter Handle
  2. Make sure you are following back everyone who is following you
  3. Search for a relevant and reliable Twitter Account and/or hashtag
     

Example: If you are in the cooking vertical, search a celebrity chef or a cooking mag/site or use a hashtag such as #foodie or #foodshot and follow all of those followers.

  1. Twitter will stop you when you’ve reached the maximum limit of following
  2. Sign into Crowdfire (an unfollowing and follow back application)…http://www.crowdfire.com/
  3. Unfollow those who don’t follow you back.
    Unfollowing should be done every few days – not every day. You want to give all the people you just followed a chance to follow you back. If they don’t within 72 hours+ depending upon what level you are at and how quickly you hit your follower ceiling, you want to unfollow them to give you more room to find followers that WILL follow you back. People who do not follow you back have no value as far as building your presence. If you are interested in what they have to say you can “whitelist” them to avoid unfollowing them.
  4. Following through Crowdfire
    By clicking on “Copy followers” you’ll be able to add in a Twitter handle of choice, and follow all the people that are following this person. You’ll also be able to add #hashtags and increase your following on a topic basis.
     

LOGISTICS OF YOUR TWITTER ACCOUNT

I suggest setting up handles with email addresses such twitterhandle@gmail.com. Twitter only allows one handle per email address.

All passwords, if you are using multiple handles, can be the same for ease of use (or simply keep a spreadsheet) especially if you are inventorying handles for future use so you never forget how to log in.

Always remember: If you think nobody is tweeting about your products or services, think again. If you’re not tweeting about your business–someone else is. If you’re not setting your own business message on Twitter–someone else is. But more importantly, if you’re not listening to what your customers (and potential customers) are saying on Twitter – someone else is, and you are missing an incredibly valuable opportunity to engage and interact.

TWEETING 101
 

  • Utilize and attach images to tweets to tell a story
  • Use your brand hashtag and other relevant tags
  • Mix up inbound and outbound tweets – your content and other people’s content should have a nice balance
  • Shorten links when possible (and track them)
  • Favorite tweets that catch your attention – this way you can go back and read them again and store them, and give recognition to others for valuable content.
  • Skip the auto DM (direct message that many send to everyone who follows them). Nobody reads them, but more importantly many find them annoying and spam-like.
  • Put your humanity and persona on display! Have fun.
     

TRACKING AND LISTENING

Track Mentions: The major thing you should be tracking is mentions of your twitter name. Anytime somebody mentions your name, it’s an opportunity to start a conversation and acquire a new high quality follower. There are a bunch of listening tools that will allow you to track this.

Track Retweets: You should also pay close attention to the people who are retweeting the tweets you have written. It’s obvious that they like your content, otherwise they wouldn’t be sharing it, and it is good form to thank them for doing so, and perhaps RT something of theirs if you can find something you deem “retweetable.”

LISTS IDEAS

Private List of your Competitors: To keep track on the market

Public Lists: Create public Twitter lists that are related to the product/service you’re selling. This will function as a resource and provide value for people that are looking get tips on who to follow in a particular space.

Inner Circle List: Have a list called your inner circle. Anytime somebody mentions or retweets you, make a point to add them to that list.

Engage with the People on that List: Simply creating the list is not going to be enough. Once you have created your inner circle list, you need to start engaging with them.

  • Have periodic conversations.
  • Retweet their Tweets and look to periodically RT others to get their attention and interact. I often choose some randomly and make a point at conferences, whether I am there or not, to RT many. If you follow event or group hashtags, and check in on them, you can RT those and it makes it easy to interact.
     

Where to Start When You Are at Zero: If you are starting at zero, some of the above might seem more challenging, but it’s not. Just start with bloggers who you have been reading. This is why it’s important to read more than just the a-list blogs. Find people you think are interesting and just reach out to them. They’ll be happy to hear from you… bloggers, marketers, brands, and journalists, etc.

This post originally appeared on Ted Rubin

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