Insightly Insider presents: Tweet it up! Tips for Using Twitter to Grow Your Business
Twitter is hugely popular, and can be an incredibly helpful tool to leverage when trying to grow your business. But getting started can definitely be intimidating. Who wants to look like a total newbie in front of a gazillion people? Well, getting started doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking endeavor. And even better news, adding Twitter to your marketing toolkit doesn’t have to add a lot of time to your already overly-packed work week.
Hi everyone! I’m Jess, and I’m a member of the Customer Success team here at Insightly. Prior to joining Insightly, I’ve held marketing roles at various startups, including VerticalResponse, Mindjet, and Zendesk. I’ve used Twitter to help those companies get more followers, create and find content that engages those followers, and network with thought leaders in their respective industries. I’m really excited to spend the next 60 minutes with you and share my tips for getting the most out of the time you spend on Twitter - and answer your questions, too. You can post those questions as comments below (don’t forget to login!). And if you’ve got an ace Twitter tip up your sleeve, don’t keep it to yourself - I’d love to hear what works for you!
Part I: Get Started
I’m sure you’ve all heard that Lao Tzu quote, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. Well, the journey of a thousand tweets begins with signing up for a Twitter account! Similar to signing up for any other online account, you just need to fill out a few fields and you’ll be off to the races. If you’re going to be using this Twitter account to promote your business (and I hope you do), you’ll want to choose an appropriate user name for it, as that’s what people will see when you tweet and are retweeted. So, save “Princess23683” for your personal account, and choose either your business name, or something related to your business.
PRO TIP: when you create your account, make sure you upload a profile picture, too. If you don’t, Twitter will display an image of an egg by default, and it will give others the impression that you’re not really invested in Twitter - and you’ll likely see less engagement as a result. Not to mention the fact that it’s a great opportunity to show some character!
Next, you’ll want to follow some folks so that you can see what others are tweeting. Go ahead and search for people you already know and follow them. You can do the same for any thought leaders or experts in your industry. How about celebrities you like? And if you like tips about small business, the customer experience, and customer support, you can even follow me - @jgpierson. And I think we can all agree it’s a no-brainer to follow Insightly, too.
Finally, the last item on your to do list: tweet something! I know, this last part can be a bit scary, but it’s best to just get out there and do it. You can keep it short and sweet, with just a quick, “Hello world - this is my first tweet!”, or you can even be a bit more strategic with something like, “I’m looking forward to learning and sharing tips about (your industry)”.
If you’re looking for more tactical tips here’s a great guide for getting started with Twitter.
Part II: Get Organized
If you use Insightly to manage your tasks or projects, you already know that staying organized can help you to get more done faster. Well, the same can be said of your use of Twitter. If you get yourself organized, you’re setting yourself up for social media success.
To stay organized, I use an application called HootSuite to manage my tweets, and it’s enabled me to spend just a few hours a week on social media, rather than tens of hours. Here’s how:
1) Rather than scrambling around each day to figure out what I want to tweet about, I can use Hootsuite to schedule my tweets in advance. We’ve all had days where we leave the house in the morning expecting our day to go one way, only to arrive at the office to find we need to shift gears and priorities quickly, and tweeting might not make it to the top of your to do list. If you schedule your tweets a week ahead, you can rest assured that you’re still able to engage with your Twitter followers regardless of any fires that pop up.
PRO TIP: I usually schedule a few tweets for each day, with enough space in between so that I can tweet or retweet something on the fly if something inspires me.
2) Both Twitter and Hootsuite allow you to organize the Twitter accounts you follow into groups. On Twitter, they’re called lists, and in HootSuite, you can actually set up a stream for each list so that you see the tweets from folks in that list all grouped together. Here are some examples of streams that I have set up:
- Insightly: This stream shows what is being tweeted from the Insightly handle, as well as from my Insightly coworkers
- Customer Support: Here I include thought leaders in the customer support space, as well as support vendors who share great resources, like Zendesk
- Small Business: This stream includes small business thought leaders, media sites like Entrepreneur or Lifehacker, and vendors who share useful tips and tricks for small businesses, like Xero and MailChimp
- Just for Fun: Just as the name implies, this stream has absolutely nothing to do with my professional life, and includes the accounts of celebrities, sports teams, my friends, and even funny animal photos that I follow
Once these streams are set up, it’s incredibly easy to find content to retweet, as you don’t have to search through a bunch of fun tweets to try to find the more serious, business-related items you want to retweet. And similarly, if you’re having a rough day, you can go straight to your “Fun” stream to find something to brighten your day a bit.
PRO TIP: You can even set up a stream to group your customers or prospects together. This can prove really valuable if you want to help them promote their businesses, or just to learn what’s on their minds before you call them.
Part III: Get Engaged
So, you’ve got a Twitter account set up, and all of the folks you follow in lists or streams so they’re easy to find - what now? Now it’s time to get engaged - to tweet, retweet, and hopefully be retweeted yourself.
Here are some ideas about what to tweet to help you get started:
- News that’s relevant to your industry: you can either retweet someone else, or share your thoughts on the topic
- Milestones: if you’ve got something to celebrate, tweet about it! Your company’s anniversary, hitting 1,000 customers, shipping your 500th product - these are all great reasons to make some noise!
- Blog posts: if your company’s got a blog, go ahead and schedule a tweet or two every time you publish a post. You can continue to tweet about older posts, too.
- Upcoming industry events you’re attending: this is a great way to network before you get to the event, and even make plans to meet up with folks IRL (in real life) who you’ve only connected with online before.
- Career opportunities: Are you looking to expand your team? Tweet about it! Just keep in mind that Twitter is global, so be sure to include the location if the position isn’t remote.
- Ask for help: Is there a business problem that’s keeping you up at night? Turn to Twitter for answers! You can tweet something like, “Help! I need an AWESOME business proposal template - do you have one you love?”
- Looking for more ideas? Sprout Social shares some great options in this blog post.
Dos and Don’ts
Do spell check before scheduling or sending a tweet out; while Twitter is still a very casual way to communicate, if you’re using it to promote your business, you want to put your best foot forward.
Do give more than you receive. You know that guy at a party who you start talking to who only talks about himself? He’s not really someone you want to stay in contact with. The same holds true for Twitter. So, I use the rule of 3; for every 1 tweet about my company, I schedule 2-3 tweets about other things.
Don’t tweet about controversial topics. Thinking back to that party, any topics that you’d steer away from in polite casual conversation should also be avoided when promoting your business on Twitter. So save the discussion of religion, politics, or any topics that are not safe for work for your personal account, or direct messages with your buddies.
Do have some fun with it. Twitter accounts that only tweet about business can be very informative, but also really one dimensional, and you’re far more interesting than that. Retweet things that you find funny or inspirational, or something that you’re passionate about. I love animals, so in addition to tweets about small business and the customer experience, you’ll also see goats, sloths, and other animal pictures if you follow me. Not only does it let your personality shine through, it gives your followers more opportunity to engage with you.
Do retweet folks who are influential in your industry. Not only does it help position you as a thought leader, too, but you might even find that those influential people start to retweet you, too, giving your tweets even more reach.
It’s absolutely normal to be a bit nervous about getting started with Twitter, but when you break it down into small, actionable steps, you’ll find that social media success is well within your reach. Here’s a recap of a few tips to get you started:
Here’s a recap of a few tips to get you started:
- Sign up for a Twitter account (and don’t forget to upload a profile picture!)
- Send out your first tweet
- Use Twitter lists or HootSuite streams to get yourself organized, and schedule tweets out ahead of time
- Be a giver: tweet about others more than you tweet about yourself
- Don’t miss an opportunity to use Twitter to promote your business; milestones, blog posts, even cries for business help are all great things to tweet about
- Have some fun with it, and make sure your personality shines through