A friend who works at a large PR company recently emailed me asking for some advice on how to get more followers for one of their clients, a building supplies company. When I had a spare five minutes I jotted down some ideas for her. Since revisiting the message I thought I would share the advice.
So…in a nutshell:
Optimising your company’s Twitter profile:
1. Optimise your graphics and bio
Well, duh? Yes, but so(oooo) many companies don’t have this sorted! We’ve seen people link their Facebook page, misspell things, not link their website, have a logo you can’t see…
It’s not rocket science. Get some bespoke graphics made up for each platform and make sure the branding is consistent. Nothing pixilated, nothing misleading, no one’s head chopped off – this is your BRAND!
Keep the bio simple and interesting – someone’s making a split-second decision as to whether you’re relevant and worth listening to. Give people enough information about your company so they don’t have to go digging to find out. Unless you’re NIke and you can get away with writing “Just do it” – don’t.
2. Don’t follow your competitors…
Let them follow you! A (much) better idea is to follow the followers of your competitors. Chances are, that’s a ready-made group of people who will be interested in what you have to say.
Keeping an eye on your competitors is, however, a useful exercise. Create a private list to add your competitors to – only you will be able to see a steam of your competitors’ tweets. What are they focussing on? What tactics are working? Which are failing? Can you improve on something they’re trying?
Pro-tip: Don’t let it become a distraction. Focus on your game. Your audience will be receptive to different things to theirs so there’s no guarantee what’s (not) working for them will (not) work for you!
3. Share bright, optimised images
Right, we’re not just repackaging this old nugget – I’m sure you’re well aware that images make great content and tweets containing images get 50%+ more engagement that tweets without them, but there’s more…
As far as your profile goes, the last 6 images, your account shared show up in a box on the left-hand-side of your profile. So…
Make sure you’ve tweeted at least 6 images
Always ensure your last 6 images are different from each other
From here, making sure you keep your profile full of images (so it looks appealing) and making sure they’re landscape makes for a great-looking profile.
4. Set up some Twitter searches
This can be done on Twitter, itself, or by using Hootsuite. Running searches for what people have tweeted can produce lists of potential customers. This tactic takes advantage of ‘conversation drivers‘.
Essentially, think about what someone might tweet that identifies themselves as a member of your target audience. For example, a pet supplies companies would search for anyone mentioning their dog, cat, puppy or kitten. You can then strike up a conversation with them about their beloved pet!
Don’t sell to them immediately. Build a relationship. That’s what social media is for.
5. Make a prospects list
Always look for return on investment – social media is somewhere to generate sales and leads not just ‘brand awareness’. Prospect lists are a very useful way of categorising all the individuals and businesses your account follows. They allow you to keep an eye on your targets and effectively engage with them about the content they’re sharing.
Make your Twitter list private if you don’t want your competitors knowing what you’re up to!
6. Schedule your tweets…
a lot! Post content frequently and consistently. And there are two very good reasons for this:
1. The shelf life of a tweet is only a few minutes. The vast majority of your audience is not going to see any one tweet. Therefore, a timely tweet should go out numerous times whilst it’s relevant and timeless tweet should go out a few times each month to maximise the chance of your audience seeing it. Tools like Edgar and Buffer, in particular, enable accounts to schedule the same piece of content over and over again.
2. You need tweets spread througout the day; not all in one go. Multiple tweets in one go clogs up people’s feeds which can be annoying. Besides, you want to appeal to an audience that might be online at various points of the day (not just your you’re online).
7. See what’s trending…
and get involved. Only, of course, if it’s relevant to your company. Spamming irrelevant hashtags is unlikely to win you any valuable followers. Or friends, for that matter. Much like conversation driver, mentioned above, they’re an opportunity to get involved, not to sell your wares!
Say “hello” to JC Social Media on Twitter.
8. Avoid stock, spammy tweets like:
“Thanks for the follows @ncoiwn @wodico @icnown” – it’s actually painful to write.
It is simply another way to lose your existing followers. Before clicking ‘send’, think about how your message comes across to every single one of your followers. Remember, it’s far better to respond to people starting with their handle so only they (and anyone who happens to follow both of you) actually sees it.
9. Make social buttons prominent on your site
Followers on Twitter are a little like subscribers to your mailing list, except they receive lots of 140 character messages rather than a weekly/monthly email update. The more subscribers you have, the more people you influence and can help you influence others. In fact, the more (real) followers you have (who are in your target audience) the greater the number of people who will actually do what you want them to do – ‘read this’ or ‘buy that’.
If someone’s on your site and they like what they see, make sure they subscribe to your Twitter feed.
Make sure you have a ‘Follow us on twitter’ sign or the ‘t’ logo situated prominently on your website, providing an immediate call to action for anyone who visits it. It’s also good practice to make posts easy to share on social media by having social share buttons at the footer of posts.
10. Make a celebrity laugh
It’s great to get a mention or retweet from a celebrity. It’s less cool if you ask for it. In fact, you will look a little desperate and alienate not only them but, more importantly, your audience. The key is to be interesting enough to warrant them to share your views. Sure, get in touch with them, but you have to interest or excite them with something personal to them.
Make sure everything you share is engaging content so that becomes synonymous with your brand.
11. Unfollow and block spam accounts
It’s important to know the difference between those who will help your business and those who are wasting space on your home feed. There are millions upon millions of spam accounts on Twitter and you are probably following a fair few without even realising it.
But it’s not just spam:
12. Unfollow irrelevant accounts
No one’s going to judge you for following a bunch of completely random people, especially when starting out. You may also have been in the habit of following accounts that followed you first, mainly out of courtesy. The truth is that you should only be following relevant accounts – customers, collaborators, industry influencers etc. Anyone else could be confusing your audience about what you stand for.
Don’t worry if they’re following you and they might unfollow – they’re no use to you anyway.
13. Track your clicks
Tracking how many people click on each link that you share is a great way to see how you best engage with your followers. This can be done using Twitter analytics (but you need to activate it first), Hootsuite, Buffer or just with Google Analytics (only clicks to your own site).
It provides you with a great tool for analysing your followers’ behaviour and working out which content interests them the most.
When it comes to social media, it pays to keep your ears to the ground and to continue learning more about who you’re following or who follows you. Followerwonk is a great free tool that has lots of cool features and enables you to carry out important analysis of when your Twitter followers are most active, and therefore, where you need to focus most on your online endeavours.
15. Link to both your own and other people’s content
If every bit of content you share links to your own website, your followers are going to feel like they’re getting a bit of a raw deal. Unless your business’s business is producing really great content, it’s best to share some that other people have created. It’s a good sign that you’re comfortable enough in your own account to reference others (but do avoid direct competitors!) and it gives you some real integrity.
These are just some of the top tips on Twitter for business, if you have any others then please leave your comment below.
If you like these, you should definitely check out #Winning at Social Media!