Twitter 101: What, Why, How?

Last week I published a post called “Why Small Business Leaders Should Give Twitter a Chance” where I covered many ways Twitter can be beneficial to both individuals and businesses. Unfortunately, Twitter is not as straight-forward as some of the other social networks. This is why it’s often times misunderstood. When done right, Twitter can help you generate more leads and drive more traffic to your website, increase brand awareness, connect and build relationships with customers and industry influencers, etc. etc. 

This post is meant to help you get started on Twitter and hopefully fall in love with it. We will cover how to set up your profile and what information to include to maximize your efforts, what content to share and where to find it, how to engage with current and prospective customers and influencers and what tools to use in order to save time.

How Do I Get Started on Twitter?

Don’t Be an Egg

When setting up a new Twitter profile, the profile picture defaults to an egg. The egg avatar signifies the ‘unhatched’ state of a new profile. The birth of the account involves adding a real profile picture, which leaves behind the egg.

In order to look professional, adding a profile picture or a company logo is not enough. I have picked one of my favorite social media companies to use as an example of a great Twitter profile:

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1. Background Picture

2. Company Name

This is especially important in case you were not lucky enough to secure a Twitter handle with your company name, Ex. @Nimble

3. Bio

Use this section to summarize what your products and services are about. Don’t forget that all links and Twitter handles are clickable, so take advantage of it 🙂

4. Call-to-Action

Make sure that your Twitter profile visitor know what you want them to do. Do you want them sign up for a free trial of your product? Include a link!

5. Location

Let people know where you are located.

6. Website Link

You have one more option to direct people to your website or a certain page of your website. As you can see on the screenshot above, Hootsuite is directing traffic to their company blog.

Be a Resource

You have successfully set up your Twitter account. Congratulations! Now it’s time to start sharing some updates. It is more than ok to promote your brand and your content, but talking just about yourself could put people off. It’s much better idea to mix your content with content created by others. At Nimble, we use the 80-20 rule which means that 80% of the updates we share are not directly mentioning our company and only 20% are.

Focus on sharing educational and inspirational content that is relevant to what you do. In our case, we post anything related to sales, marketing, technology, social media, etc. Below, you can see a list of some of the types of content we share with our social media community:

  • Podcasts

There’s so many great podcasters out there who produce amazing shows. One easy way to find them is to explore the categories on iTunes:

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  • Industry News Sites

Ex. TechCrunch, MIT Technology Review, World Economic Forum, Venture Beat, Business Insider, eMarketer, CMO.com, Content Marketing Institute, Marketing Land, etc.

  • Blogs of Influencers/Industry Thought Leaders

Ex. Bryan Kramer,  Jamie Shanks and the team at Sales For Life, Keenan’s A Sales Guy, Kelly Riggs’ Biz Locker Room, Alice Heiman, etc.

  • Statistics or Market Data

Sites like Statista or eMarketer offer interesting statistics and insights into data about different industries. Take a screenshot or summarize one and share with your audience!

  • Something Fun, Like Cartoons

Find something fun to share with your followers, like a cartoon! We love following @Marketoonist or @byStuHeinecke.

 

  • Share Great Original Content (Created by You)

This can be content from your company’s blog or articles created by you that were originally published on LinkedIn Publisher, Medium or anywhere else. Share them with appropriate pictures and hashtags with your Twitter community!

Use Content Scheduling Tools

There’s no need to spend all day on Twitter when we have technology helping us for free! Use tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your posts in advance. Don’t forget to download their browser extensions so you can grab content as you see it (Buffer Chrome App, Hootsuite’s Hootlet). If you have some money to spend on social media tools, take a look at Edgar. This awesome tool not only allows you to schedule content ahead of time, but it also stores it for you and reshares periodically saving you a lot of time.

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When scheduling content, don’t forget to include the following:

Title

Link

Attribution

Hashtags

Image

A picture says a thousand words and a tweet with pictures stands out thousand times more on Twitter. If the post you want to share does not include an image, use a free tool like Canva to create your own!

Engage

Go out there and start following accounts you like. Retweet or like tweets that you think your followers will also find interesting and valuable. If you see somebody asking questions, answer. Add you two cents. This is the best approach to get people following you back and interested in what you do.

Don’t know who to engage with? Try other people’s Twitter lists! Ex. Nimble’s Social Selling Superstars, Neal Schaffer’s Social Media Content, etc.

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Here’s an article that explains (not only) how you can run a Google search for relevant Twitter lists, check it out!

A great way to grow your following and build relationships with like-minded people and generation leads on Twitter is to attend Twitter chats. If you are not familiar with what Twitter chats are or how to participate, go through this excellent resource our friends over at Buffer put together.

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