25 Twitter tips for business – Part 1 (Tweet Tips)

I do not claim to be a social media expert or Twitter guru, but I have been thrilled with microblogging.  I truly believe Twitter and social media in general (aka Web 2.0) will change life as we know it, with the same dramatic impact as mobile phones, email, and websites.  I often get asked by people for tips on how to use Twitter for business, so I wanted to put my own tactics and thoughts down.  You can see my twitter page at http://twitter.com/springfieldedge.

Tweet Tips

 1.  10-15% personal

The types of tweets you do are to some extent a matter of style and to some extent a matter of the unspoken rules of the Twitterverse.  My preference is to do mostly content-driven, value-added tweets with some personal mixed in.  Others prefer to do primarily personal (say, 80%) and mix some professional.

2.   Blend in SoMe on occasion

Social Media tweets (tweets or retweets on Twitter, facebook, or social media in general) are generally appreciated by any audience on Twitter.  After all, they are using the product.  Any tips to do it better, make it more effective, or help others to reach broader audience are usually appreciated. 

3.  Link personal with business

When I do make personal tweets, I sometimes link the personal with business, which in my case is easier to do, since I am marketing a community, but in any case, I am always conscious of it.  Or, to say it another way, I am always conscious of building my and my organization’s brand.  If I’m attending a board meeting of the Boy Scouts, then I might tweet this with a link to the Boy Scouts or a quick quip on why they’re great.  It demonstrates my commitment to the community, tells others something about me they may not know (I’m affiliated with the Boy Scouts), and also promotes the Boy Scouts at the same time (which adds value to me being on the board).  It should also be said, though, that sometimes purely personal tweets are good, though, I would argue, they shouldn’t be the personal Tweet norm.

4. Meeting tweets

Here I’ll expand one aspect of the last point about the Boy Scouts meeting.  Meetings you have–either group, conference, one-on-one –are great Twitter fodder.  “Had a great lunch at season’s bistro with @ceriumgroup – good food + great graphics company – http://www.seasonsbistroandgrille.com.”  As a Chamber of Commerce, I’ve promoted two members, told my Twitter network what I’ve been up to, and given them a way to access both of these companies (I’ve given them my endorsement and recommendation).  With Cerium Group (@ceriumgroup), I’ve given a link to Twitter.  With Season’s, I’ve put their website out.

5. Unique and specialized content

I’m a big believer that one of the key roles of a Twitter account is to figure out what your unique contribution to the Twitterverse is.  That is to say, what do you know about or communicate about that no one else does.  If you’re the Springfield Ohio YMCA (@spfldohioymca), it would likely be your programs, events, membership, expansion, staff, etc.  If you’re a restaurant like Lee’s Chicken (@leeschicken), it would likely be your specials, discounts, products (new and current), hours, promotions, etc.  If you’re like me, it’s to be a clearinghouse for business and economic development news (including quality of life) about the Springfield Ohio MSA (Clark County) as well as promote the Chamber and Chamber members (of which I am a part).  The other thing I will say here is that one unique thing I bring every day is word about my blog post.  My blog is content found nowhere else.  http://bit.ly/seblog.

6.  2-10 tweets / day

Oh, to tweet or not to tweet—that is the question.  Or, rather, how often should you tweet?  I personally read somewhere and have adopted the 2-10 tweets per day, although I will freely admit that I sometimes send more than that over the course of a day, but generally speaking, I am probably around 7-12 tweets per day.  I still would recommend at least doing 2.  I would plan, at the very least, if you’re getting started, to plan one per day.  Any less, and I believe your credibility and ROI go down significantly. 

7.  Broaden your scope

In Tip 5, I talked about your content, which many people instinctively get.  It’s very similar to promoting or advertising your product, just within the Twitter rules (140 characters or less) and with Twitter style (usually a condensed web link).  In Tips 1 and 4, I talked about putting in some personal content and some meeting content.  In Tip 2, I talked about sprinkling in some social media content, if you find some that’s helpful.  So, what else is left?  A key area, I would argue.  This is the field of expertise.  If I’m the Springfield YMCA, I want to talk not just about my own programs, events, members, staff, facilities, etc., I want to add value in the healthy lifestyle arena.  Tweets about how to lose weight, exercise tips, eating tips, stress relief and recreation tips, etc. are all appreciated by a lot of people and is very appropriate for the Y to talk about.  If I’m Lees Chicken, anything relating to chicken or food like they prepare is fair game.  Tips for having a picnic, where to go for the picnic, recipes for coleslaw (even if not their own), how to safely cook chicken, recipes for other chicken dishes, catering/event tips (if they’re in the catering business, which they are), quotes about life and food and family.  You get the point.  You want people to think you’re brand when they think a certain topic.  In order to do that, you have to add value in a broader scope through your tweets. 

8.  Use weblinks + condensers

Most of my tweets (at least 90%) have a link to somewhere else on the web.  I almost always am thinking about how to incorporate a link into every tweet I send.  The reason is simple.  Tweets are more like headlines than hard core contents.  You get 140 characters to make a pitch on some topic of potential interest that people can choose or not choose to click on and find more.  This is only possible through free services on the web that will condense web addresses into small, permanent, trackable webaddresses.  For example, my blog address is https://springfieldedge.wordpress.com.  This is 36 characters.  My bit.ly address is http://bit.ly/seblog, which is 20.  Most web addresses, like those that link to a particular blog post are much longer.  Some good services for this are http://bit.ly, http://ow.ly, http://tinyurl.com, http://tr.im, http://budurl.com.

9.  RT, RT, RT

I’m a big believer in retweeting (aka RT) with some general parameters.  I do a lot of retweeting on social media (Tip 2), although sometimes I will find something on my own.  I do a lot of retweeting on newspaper articles (that are tweeted) that are relevant to my broad (Tip 7) or specific scope (Tip 5).  For the Springfield YMCA, it could be Prevention or other health magazines that they follow.  For Lee’s Chicken, it could be cooking magazines or chefs.  For Cerium Group, it could be graphic design, marketing and other things within their broad scope.  I also believe in retweeting fans (people who follow you and whom you follow) to promote them, if the content falls within some of the guildelines we talked about.  It’s kind of like cross-promotion, I scratch your back (in the Twitterverse), you scratch mine.  You don’t do it for that reason (well, maybe a little), but it often happens that way.

10. Use #followfriday

Follow Friday is a trend that was started in January of 2009, where you tell your network about people you are recommending they follow.  See history here – http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2009/05/21/the-history-of-followfriday or the shortened URL http://bit.ly/lqKu1 (here’s another example of Tip 10).  People do this one of two ways.  Either they just list people or they tell a reason why to follow them.  I happen to like the latter, but I sometimes do both.  Great way to backscratch (see Tip 9).

11. Tweetlater.com

I go back and forth on this one.  I’ve told colleagues about it, and some absolutely love it.  Tweetlater.com (and I’m sure there are others) allows you to preschedule you’re tweets, and/or copy and redo them later.  It’s very convenient if you already know what you want to do.  You do a restaurant promotion, every Monday, for example.  You may want to preschedule a tweet for every Sunday and Monday morning.  Or, as a friend of mine does, you know your meeting schedule for the week.  You can pre-schedule your tweets ahead of time for the time of the meeting (Tip 4).  Right now, I’m back to pure tweet as I go, but I’m a Twitterholic and doing it throughout the day.  I think it’s great for newcomers to Twitter, to allow you to get some content down for the next couple of weeks and not have to worry about it, if you are a 1-2 tweet per day person.  You then can sprinkle in a couple of spontaneous tweets or RTs as you see fit.

12. Not a # fan (right now)

Oh, hashtags.  I’m not a huge fan of this.   Here’s my reasoning at this point (of course, this may change over time).  For those of you not familiar with hashtags, it’s the act of putting a pound sign (#) in front of a term to allow for searching.  One, I haven’t had the easiest time starting a new hashtag (probably my skill deficiency).  Two, even when using existing hashtags, I think they clog up a tweet, make it harder to read, and just don’t look good.   For that reason, for the time being, I’m not really using them.

 The rest of the 25 tips tomorrow…

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10 Responses

  1. Thanks for this. You’ve cleared up quite a few issues on twitter . Personally, if a twit does not do a bio at least, I wont follow them.
    Regards
    Gloria

  2. David: The biggest question I get about Twitter is time management. The big thing is to be consistent. There are many small companies that would not be able to handle the 2-10 tweets per day. I adapt that every company put a commitment of so many hours and days a week for social marketing. It must be several times a week. Once a month will not cut it. There must be time to get the other things in business done as well.

  3. Gloria, thanks for the comment.

  4. Julie:
    I agree with you in principle, but I stand by the 2-10 x per day. I would recommend this strategy for a small biz worried about the time – figure out 20 things to say about your biz (promotional kind of stuff, when you started, anything biz-related, what makes you great). Schedule them ahead of time so that you get one tweet a day on autopilot. You can set it up to repeat every 20 days. Would take a couple of hours to set up (once you have the content) for the next few months. This leaves you with the responsibility of one spontaneous tweet per day. I believe that if a business/person isn’t willing to tweet once per day (at least during the biz week), they shouldn’t enter the space. But, it’s a fun debate and plenty of different points of view. Thanks for the comment.

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