In Part I of our series we discussed how to determine just how social you are and how to use those skills on the biggest social media outlet on the block..Facebook. In all fairness, this time we’re going to dive into the second runner up, Twitter!
Is it a tweet, or is it twittering!
Now we all know that it’s hard to convey feelings, messages or branding in tiny sound bytes. But that is exactly what the social media giant Twitter is famous for. Introduced as a micro-blog, many people find it difficult to navigate, even less master due to it’s 140 character limit imposed for each post…a ‘tweet’ so to say. The terminology is different then any other outlet and it’s the only medium that you can be thrown into “Twitter Jail” for spamming followers and fellow tweeters.
On the topic of “Twitter Jail”, there are several taboos that come into play on the technical side of Twitter. Following/Un-following too many accounts too quickly…(aka churning) can result in having your account suspended indefinitely. Tweeting the limit of 100 tweets/hour or 1,000/day can result in having your tweeting ability temporarily disabled. Now to many of us that seems like an excessive amount of tweets and we can only imagine how much time one must be spending on Twitter to reach those levels, but we’ll address that later. The up side is your time in “Twitter Jail” can be from half an hour to 24 hours.
If you’re always selling….you’re using it wrong!
As to most things there are exceptions to every rule, what we are about to address is the majority of users who find themselves in “Twitter Jail”, not the few exceptions…what were these users doing? How did they find themselves waiting to make Twitter Bail? For the most part this can be answered in one word, spamming. Yep, the one thing Twitter has in common with all the other social media outlet, users do not want to hear a constant sales pitch, especially from other users they have no relationship with.
The entire attraction of Twitter to the end user is to be social! So forget the sales pitch, get to know other users, find out what their interests are and strike up a conversation. You can do searches on just about any topic and see who else in the Twitterverse is talking about the selected topic. Tweet them..keep it social…keep it on topic and don’t be offended if they don’t tweet back immediately. Not all users are engaged with the network constantly and that’s okay.
Automation is good for coffee machines….not Twitter
If you took a poll on Twitter of what irritates users the most, ranking at the top of the list would be those who auto-tweet, auto-follow and are auto-bots. Now before we step on the toes of those businesses who like to schedule their tweets through some dynamic, useful platforms like HooteSuite or TweetCaster. We are not referring to you; we’re addressing those who think that effective community building is having a software program come up with well crafted sales pitches that are blasted out like party favors on New Years Eve…every 15 minutes. No one likes spam in their email box and even less in their news feed. Want to build a loyal base of followers on Twitter? Be engaging, show what your business is about and give them a glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes of your day to day activities. Visual content rules on Twitter, so take a pic and tweet it.. helps keep your 140 characters in check.
Just keep one item in mind, there is no quicker way to incite a riot of stupidity then to engage in a “Twitter War” with someone. So choose your tweets well and keep then genuine…but respectful. This takes more finesse, maturity and skill then most realize. Once you master the art of Tweeting, it will be like lightening in a bottle…something few achieve and even less master.
If you find that you are not a social person and the whole thought of engaging customers with light hearted tweets on Twitter makes you wish you had opted to schedule that root canal instead; have no fear…all is not lost.
Delegate if you need to -
There are several ways to delegate the tasks to others within the company to help with this, usually someone with a marketing background or exceptional guest services skills will fit the bill. There is nothing wrong with having a knowledgeable, mature, conversationalist manage these marketing outlets.
Of course if you are like most businesses, you have more work to be done than you have hand to help…in that case consider the possibilities of hiring an outside marketing agency that specializes in social networking . There are plenty of social marketing resources readily at your disposal to accomplish these tasks. All you need to do is reach out and be social with them – and they can help guide you through the process, or even better – do it for you.
Next time we’ll chat about how to use LinkedIn properly…and it has nothing to do with annoying strangers with disingenuous connection requests.