“I’ve heard from the Editor in Chief of a big site and they said Twitter was basically ineffective for them. Should I still even bother with it?”
This question came up last week in the Fizzle Membership Forums and I think it’s a very interesting question. (In case you weren’t aware, we curate courses and community for indie business builders. It cost’s $35 a month to be a member, but there’s a free trial.)
Here’s the deal — you’re a small business person. You’re the little guy. You can’t pay to advertise and reach people. You have to build an audience to get your message out. Social networks are where people are spending time. So that’s an opportunity to get in relationship with potential customers in meaningful ways.
BUT, you’ve only got so much time. You can’t afford a team to run your social media for you. You’ve got to do it yourself, and that means you can’t show up in a meaningful way on all the social networks. (Unless it’s your job. I’m looking at you Gary V.)
So, if Twitter is a waste of time, you want to know it right away so you can make investments in social media accounts that will produce returns for you.
So, is Twitter a waste of time? It’s complicated. And it’s all explained in the podcast episode. I did, however, pull out 10 ideas we had for how to make your Twitter use more effective in 2016 (so, you can assume we’re not writing off Twitter completely). Enjoy!
1. Get fluent. This one’s explained in depth in the podcast. The gist is this: you don’t expect every country to use the same language or have the same cultural norms and expectations. The same is true with social networks. If you want to resonate with the audience you’ve got to get fluent in their language.
2. Find tools you love. Twitter has their native mobile app as well as their web browser version. But there are also other apps for your mac, PC, iOS and Android devices that you may prefer or that may be more powerful. The whole deal here is find something you’ll always have with you, you know how to use and that you actually enjoy using. (Note: for myself, Tweetbot is the app of choice with multiple accounts, columns, etc. here’s what my Tweetbot setup looks like.)
3. Post frequently. We get fluent by use. So use it. Start conversations, join conversations, share conversations, help people out, search for questions to join, etc. Sounds basic, but you need to be reminded to actually use it. If you don’t use it you’ll always have that “is this thing even valuable?” feeling. But if you use it frequently you just might start a groundswell of relationships on Twitter.
4. Be human and be yourself. Twitter is full of humans. (Actually, there are a lot of bots too but bots won’t purchase your products. Humans should mat) Be kind, be helpful, be surprising, be unique, be conscientious, be informative, be honest. Whatever the statistics are right now about Twitter use (and whatever they’ll be in 3 years), there are TONS of real people on twitter, lots of whom you could serve and delight into a relationship with you and the stuff you make.
5. Use search. It needs to be said clearly: Twitter’s search is very powerful. Around the globe (the entire earth!) people are talking about all sorts of things and you can search to see who they are and what they think. Twitter’s search is useful for finding conversations to join or questions to answer, as well as insights about how people in the world think about topics close to your business. Here’s one idea: every week or so set a calendar event to do a twitter search on your business topic (not your business, but the topic your business is about) to see fresh voices weekly and maybe find some conversations to help out in.
6. Before you post: slip into the skin of a real life follower. It’s so easy to be self absorbed on these platforms. The business graveyard is full of businesses that never actually listened to their customers. People who get results from Twitter have deep empathy for and recognition of what their audience loves to click on. Don’t be another business trying to scream “ME ME ME ME MEEEE!” louder than all the others. You’ll be soundly ignored because you have nothing of value to offer. So, get in the heads of your customers, what they think, what they want, what they are entertained by, what they struggle with… then make it count.
Again, all of these are explained in more detail in the podcast episode. So, head there for more clarity on each of these.
7. Hey, make sure your photo and bio information is good enough. This should go without saying, but the truth is many of us simply find this a hard thing to invest time in. Your photo will be connected to every one of your tweets. It could be your company logo, or your pretty face, or who knows what. Your bio will be seen by everyone who sees a tweet and thinks, “huh, who’s this?” Whatever they are, slip into #5 above and try to put something together that will surprise visitors with how much you know what your account is about, who it’s for, and how you use it.
8. FOLLOW PEOPLE THAT WILL HELP YOU BE BETTER AT TWITTER. I put this one in all caps because it’s important. Don’t follow a bunch of douchebags and marketers. Follow real people who will remind you every single day that nobody cares about your product or service or blog post as much as they care about themselves, their life, what’s on their mind. This is another tool to get you thinking about surprising, delighting, serving THEM instead of yourself. About 6 months I did this same with Instagram — cut out all the marketers, followed only people living inspired lives (by my definition) — and I absolutely love using Instagram now. Give it a try and get better at connecting deeply with people.
9. Prune who you follow. From time to time it can do wonders to unfollow people. Obviously this is related to #8 above, but it deserves its own point because it can start to feel stale to use Twitter after a while of following the same people. You can be in “marketer” mode instead of “human” mode.
10. Use Twitter’s analytics. Twitter offers analytics so you can see what’s working and what isn’t. You could schedule a repeating calendar event every couple weeks to make some tea and just waste some time investigating your analytics for insights. Think up some questions about your tweet performance that you’d like to answer, then try to find the answers in analytics. Here’s some questions to get you started: what KINDS of tweets perform best for you? What time of day do you see the best response to your tweets? What day of the week? Who are your superman followers (and how could you say thanks to them)? Are there any similarities in your top tweets from month to month? Twitter’s analytics are actually pretty fun to click around in and investigate. Have some fun with it.
— Corbett Barr (@CorbettBarr) May 11, 2016
— Chase Reeves (@chase_reeves) July 6, 2016
Shout out to all the people making real stuff that really makes peoples’ lives better in meaningful ways. pic.twitter.com/nNISRnrT2u
— Fizzle (@Fizzle) June 23, 2016
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