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Forming a strategy for your Twitter is a must but it’s only the beginning. The next big things are creating an engaging content and nurturing relationships on Twitter with your customers.
Luckily you can build relationships through smart, well–planned messaging. To do that you need to understand what is the real value of using Twitter.
To follow or not to follow
At the beginning of my journey with Twitter, I was super excited about every follower I got. I treated everyone of them like a valuable follower who will read my tweets. I checked their accounts to see if I could find something useful for myself.
Once I saw they post valuable content that meets my interests, I followed them back. If they haven’t posted anything useful, I didn’t.
I wasn’t interested in scrolling through useless content every day from people I don’t know.
Now, imagine my surprise when I've noticed that the same people that followed me one or two days ago, unfollowed me, just because I didn’t follow them back. That’s when I realized that most of the users want to have as much followers as they can. It’s a self–perpetuating machine: the more followers you have, the more people are likely to follow you.
But does it mean that these people engage in your posts? Not so much.
That’s why for me Twitter stopped being about numbers of followers long time ago. Now, it’s about relationships I create and the content I provide and read. The numbers of followers are just a by–product (check out the post Don't Buy Twitter Followers).
So here are some tips on how to use Twitter for business.
1. Find your inner voice and follow it
Even if you run a “serious business” (who isn’t), don’t assume that you should talk with your customers on an official foot. It creates a distance between you and customers. On social media you can use a more casual language. It makes you more human, fun to talk with and likeable.
But… if you’re serious by nature and you don’t want to delegate managing of Twitter to another person, stay natural in how you communicate. Forced jokes are worse than no jokes at all. Remember that!
Whatever tone you will choose, stay yourself. If you’re authentic and feel good at what you do, customers will feel it and guess what, they more likely will communicate and follow you.
Here’s the example of DiGiorno Pizza, a brand of frozen pizzas sold in the US and Canada. The brand’s slogan is: “It’s not delivery. It’s DiGiorno.”
As for their tweets, they're killing it!
They're not afraid to poke famous people.
Also, when it comes to any sports or pop culture events, they are always ready to comment.
Also, check out Dollar Shave Clubs’ Twitter. They really want to make its customers laugh and they often post funny videos on Twitter.
2. Stay true to yourself and your customers
Once you set a tone of communication, you should stick to it. Social media managers often start with a small amount of Twitter followers. They’re relaxed and flexible in what they publish. The relationship with followers is casual and has a short distance.
As their followers base grow, managers change their tone. They start to be more careful with what they publish, so it won’t hurt their business, stock prices or even their boss.
That’s needlessly. The point is to find your inner voice that you're going to use during your whole journey with Twitter. People liked you for who you were at the beginning. Even though your business changes, your customers stay the same.
Keep that in mind and don’t be afraid to be yourself. Look at Delta.
3. Engage, engage, engage
I know numbers are tempting, they boost your ego and you want to think that they mean something.
But do they? As our social media expert, Agnieszka said: “In social media you shouldn’t think about the numbers, you should think about the result.”
Following this idea, there’s one kind of followers that are valuable for your Twitter: those who engage in your posts. Those who read your content, click on links, forward your tweets and answer your questions. And the number of followers? It means nothing for your business revenue.
Nobody will buy your products just because you have a lot of fans on social media. But once they see your followers comments, the oh and –ahs, they might be tempted to try.
So, instead of setting up a strategy for gaining more followers till the end of the year, start engaging with users.
4. Create Public Conversations and move them to other channels
Many people organize “AMA” (ask me anything) on Twitter. It’s a quick and fun method to engage with followers. Plus, it’s not very tiring, since you have a limit of words you can use.
But for some cases, 140 characters is a limit hard to stick to. People love to talk, don’t they?
You should know that Twitter removed the character limit from direct messages, so it’s a great opportunity to move the conversation that you started in the public thread and continue it through direct messaging. But let’s not stop there. You can also move conversations to email or phone. This way you can take your conversations to another level.
5. Tweet directly to your followers
I’ve seen that the best use of Twitter for me personally is to reach out to my current followers through direct Twitter mentions. If you’re a CEO or social media manager at your company, you can try that by asking followers something about your product. Or whatever it is that you want to ask them. I usually tweet to people to let them know I published a new article that might interested them.
You’ll be surprised how likely people are to respond. It will multiply number of followers when you add this kind of value. You can say it’s pointless, since you already have thousands of followers, but isn’t gaining new ones who don’t engage pointless as well?
6. Tweet other people’s work and make a connection
I love to read other people’s articles about subjects that I am interested in. I often tweet them. Mostly to let the world (I mean, my 440 followers) know, that somebody wrote a great piece. I don’t hope for a response from the authors but when they do, it’s nice to read their tweet. Especially if they have thousands of followers.
And sometimes it takes very little to start a conversation.
For example I’ve had this situation lately. I read Paul Carrick Brunson’s post: "I've Worked For Two Billionaires. Here's What I Learned From Them.” I tweeted it from LinkedIn. Paul responded and thanked me for sharing his post, so I decided to take a chance and let him know about my side work, because it’s written in the close manner: “My life with a Professional Poker Player.”
I know it’s just Twitter, but then comes the thoughts:
“He worked with Oprah Winfrey, must be a busy guy. What will he do, tweeting a young writer from Poland about poker. What if he doesn’t like poker?”
If you have similar thoughts before reaching out to important, well known people, ignore those insecurities and go for it! In the worst case, that person won’t respond. I don’t think rude responses are an option. Twitter is public and it’s not worth it. So I went for it and as always, I was pleasantly surprised.
Since my work is in progress, our relationship still has time to grow, but I’m looking forward to it.
7. Avoid follow for follow
I mentioned this in the beginning. But here’s the example. One time a person was interested in follow for follow. Check out our conversation.
What’s interesting here is that Jan started to actually engage in my tweets. Not only tweets, actually!
He started to like my discussions in LinkedIn. He took my words to his heart and we nurtured our relationship. Unfortunately I don’t have many engagement on Twitter from other people who follow me.
The real value of using Twitter
I think Twitter works best when you’re yourself, when you get rid of shame, take chances and tweet to people. When they respond, you might be able to start a relationship.
At the same time it’s also important to educate people that numbers mean nothing and engagement is everything.
By doing this, you might be able to change a person who wants to follow you for a follow into a person who engages in your tweets. And that’s the real value of using social media, isn’t it?