Kristin Muckerheide is a writing, editing, photographing, holistic-health-coaching, animal-loving,...
Top Tips for Twitter Domination
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Let us begin with this excerpt from a Folio magazine article:
"Timely interaction—through instant content updates or social media—will also help the magazine industry grow," Joel Lunenfeld, vice president of Global Brand Strategy for Twitter told the audience during a luncheon interview with Wired senior editor Bill Wasik. "There is an incorrect use of Twitter," Lunenfeld said. "Using it as a broadcast platform is the wrong way to use Twitter-as just a one way dialogue. When you look at the best magazines on Twitter, they re-tweet and reply. A follower is a subscriber."
Lunenfeld added that Twitter does not have an algorithm that stops content from going to a person's feed-that means if someone follows a magazine, they can see everything the publication pushes out, opening the door for heightened click-through rates and exposure.
On average, a magazine's Twitter following represents 14 percent of its circulation. "Twitter extends what editorial means," Lunenfeld said. ‘Maybe it's a poll or a question with a chat. It's also leveraging expertise to give real time advice-the minute that people start talking to audiences it's an 'Ah ha' moment,’ where users feel appreciated and welcomed by a brand," he said.
Hopefully that got the wheels churning up there.
Twitter is a very powerful tool, especially if used correctly. But even if you don’t use it exactly the way that social media specialists and strategists tell you to, chances are that it will still bring you benefits simply by getting your name out there in front of more people. So, the point is that you should be using it regularly! Even if it’s not perfect. That being said, using it the ‘right way,’ of which there are many, is the second most crucial step. The rest of this post will cover how to do just that.
Read on for some Twitter inspiration!
1. Firstly, you must have a plan. Keep it simple and realistic.
Cover questions like:
- -Who will coordinate the postings?
- -How often will that person post?
- -In order to effectively balance self promotion with selfless promotion, what will be our ratio of self promotion : selfless promotion? (i.e., for each day: 1 self-promoting posts : 2 selfless)
- -What process needs to be in place to regularly monitor social media activity? How will this happen?
- -Who will respond, and what will we say in the event of a negative or critical post/comment on your social media channels?
- -Who will respond to questions on our social media channels, and how often will we be monitoring our social media channels to check if there is a question?
2. Respond to comments, questions & feedback.
A common complaint from social media users is that the brands they follow do not respond to their questions, comments or negative feedback, so it’s important to respond to customers and make them feel that they are being heard.
If someone is contentious, be polite but minimize contact. Take time before responding. The Internet never forgets; you can never actually delete anything you post, so think twice before formulating a response to a reader/follower.
When an error is made, admit it and correct it—and indicate where you’ve changed a previous post or information.
Remember that perception is reality. Think about the type of reality you want to create on your channels.
3. Upload a custom header image.
Twitter recently launched its equivalent of the Facebook cover photo (the larger, horizontal image behind the smaller profile pic). To activate, go to Settings > Design > Change header. Use a branded, high quality image that works well—visually, conceptually—with the profile photo. Good example:
4. Insert magazine website URL into profile information, where it asks for ‘website’—this way the URL appears prominently and clearly on page.
People will NOT go digging for the website URL. If you don’t serve it to them on a silver platter, they will not take action. The goal is to make it as EASY as possible for readers to take the actionable steps that you want them to take.
5. Tweet something, but make sure that your posts are not only YOUR content from YOUR website. Twitter users can sniff out that sort of selfish promotion miles away. You must give selflessly to get social media ROI, so don’t be selfish, pushy or annoying with your self-promotions. An example of selfless sharing:
If you’re posting as a brand (the profile pic is the company logo, there is no name/face attached to the page), then you can promote your content more, since that’s likely why people are following you—to get your updates and content.
But if you’re posting as an individual (your name and/or photo are attached to your page), promote your company's content as least as you can.
Example (only ONE of these is a self-promotion for his work):
In order to promote yourself and your brand, you don’t actually need to do the promoting yourself. Just by being visible on the Web—even if your Tweet is about something completely unrelated to your brand—you are promoting yourself by getting your name out there. Let others do the promoting for you (it's more effective this way anyway).
“Even subtle attempts to self-promote are often rebuffed by savvy consumers who are usually more comfortable in the social space than most companies. Ignoring social norms can quickly backfire and draw unwanted negative attention to your brand. It’s important that businesses focus on connecting with customers, instead of the more self-serving reasons; if companies connect with customers, offering helpful solutions, that genuine spirit of service will transcend any need to be visible, or self-promote.”
6. Keep in touch with industry bloggers, media, competitors, leaders and anyone else that works in your industry (especially prominent industry figures).
Follow them to receive their updates and to make your presence/profile visible to them (oftentimes this is enough to get them to follow you back too, and then they’ll be receiving/seeing all your posts and updates).
Engage them in your tweeting, using @mentions, retweets and replies.
If you can get someone to follow you, it acts a little bit like a newsletter in the sense that you're getting the company name out there in front of people. You’ll be on their minds moreso than if they weren’t following your tweets.
7. Make new friends.
This will be easy if you read a lot of articles and content from others in your industry; most people have a Twitter and insert their Twitter handle into the website/content that they post onto. So follow those people, follow others who follow them, etc. Following people is one way to get people to follow you back, but again, it’s obvious when someone is following 15,000 people and only has 100 followers. Twitter users can sniff out that kind of manipulation pretty easily. But that said, if you follow someone in your industry or someone who has similar interests—professionally or personally—often times it will make sense for that person to follow you back (then they will be getting 100% of your posts/tweets/updates), so follows are a good way to get a wider audience.
8. Use #hashtags and @mentions. Both help in many ways.
1 - 3 are recommended, with 2 (combined) being the ideal. But if you don’t have 2 or even 1, don’t force it.
Only use @mentions when it makes sense to do so; again, don’t force it!
Example: Let’s say you want to post an article on Twitter called “The 10 best radiology tools of 2012.” It’d be nice if that post could show up in Twitter for relevant keywords, such as radiology—so that if someone typed radiology into the Twitter search tool, your post with the hashtag #radiology would show up. So the tweet should be something like “10 Best Radiology Tools of 2012” http://bit.ly/2466 #radiology” A potential reader or subscriber now sees your magazine and know that it exists. We’ve just planted a seed.
9. Use social media to monitor conversations about your company/brand, if applicable.
If you start utilizing some of the tools above and get more of a community/response going among some loyal followers, you may start seeing some mentions/talk of your company, in which case you can casually monitor to see what people are saying. If there is a complaint, address it. If there is praise, retweet it (with a personal comment + thank you) on your magazine’s Twitter account for all your followers to see → social proof. When people see others praising and following you, it influences their thoughts towards your brand as well as encourages them to praise/follow you too.
10. Use Twitter to give live updates on events or conferences that you’re attending.
This is one of the most important benefits of Twitter, and this ‘live’ feed capability is definitely what distinguishes it from other social media channels. You can utilize Twitter for any event, conference, etc., but let’s take the presidential debates for example. People may be at home, alone, watching the debates, but if they’re on Twitter, they feel as though they are among a big group of people watching the debates together and making jokes, commenting, sharing thoughts and opinions on what’s going on. Apply this concept to any event or conference you’re attending as part of your job. Give people updates of a conference, give them helpful/useful tidbits you’ve been learning at seminars and workshops, retweet and mention people you just met so that you can create a networking/business relationship, etc. You can do a lot in the area of events/conferences/seminars/workshops—really anything related to your job.
These are the kinds of things you should tweet, retweet & mention:
- -Helpful, useful information. Small tidbits of info are most effective for Twitter, or relevant stats that you just learned at the event/conference that impact your industry
- -Retweets and mentions of new people you recently met at the conference
- -Industry news that’s relevant to others (even better if that info hasn’t yet trickled all the way down to the people not at the event/conference) If you’re at an industry event or conference, chances are you’re getting a lot of new, relevant info that people outside of the conference haven’t been exposed to yet, so this gives you a chance to establish yourself an important thought leader in your industry. People will see you as being at the forefront of the industry → they will follow you and your updates → trust you and your expertise, not to mention the reputation boost this gives you and your brand. Being a thought leader and giving your readers/followers the most relevant, newest info, you can quickly rise up to the top of your industry
11. Listen. Make it a dialogue, not a monologue.
Engage people in conversation:
- -RT them
- -@mention them in your tweets
- -Ask them questions—and not just about work, although that's good too. Balance it.
Just be human. Have conversations. Don’t overthink it. Don't worry if the post seems irrelevant—the people in your industry don’t necessarily want to be hearing about work matters all day, every day, all the time.
12. Engage followers in funny, interesting or entertaining posts just for the sake of fun.
The audience, while professionals, are humans too, and we all love to laugh, be entertained and feel like we’re part of the conversation—not being fed constant self-promotion. Think of your brand as a person. You know those people who just post about themselves ALL day and don’t even seem to notice anyone else? People tune them out because of their selfishness; it’s a turnoff. Remember that your readers are people, first and foremost, and they want to engage with a brand that is also human. Give back, engage, ask your readers what their weekend plans are, post an interesting photo with a trivia question, post a funny comic related to your industry. Change it up; see what your readers like and respond to.
13. Keep in mind that you’re not just competing within your industry for attention on social networks, you’re competing against the world.
While among other companies in your industry, your Twitter posts may be more interesting than others’, but compared to all of the other competing content/photos/videos/posts on Twitter, it may be too boring to be noticed. Your readers will skip right over it in favor of a cute Instagram kitten photo or funny comment from a friend. Even outside the Web: if someone has their smartphone and they open up Twitter to browse while they’re walking the streets of NYC, what’s going to catch their eye? Certainly not a boring white paper or webinar post. One must not assume that users are only accessing the Twitter content while sitting at their desk at work in a quiet and calm environment. You’re competing, literally, against the stimuli of the world at times, as mobile users are opening their smartphones and thus, Twitter, as they’re out and about in the world, going to cafes, bars, clubs, restaurants, etc. You are competing with that, too, so content MUST be interesting, eye-catching and exciting—on top of being relevant and useful for the industry.
On that note..
14. Think mainstream.
Step outside of your industry for a second, take off the hat, and think more like an entertainment company that knows how to cut through the clutter and distractions and get people to zone in on their show.
And there you have it! Long, I know, but now you have something to go back to reference, all in one convenient post. You're welcome.