I’ve been an avid Facebooker for a good decade now, but I didn’t join Twitter until 2011. I admit I primarily created an account because I wanted to follow the members of my alma mater’s basketball team. Besides reading their tweets a few times a week, I didn’t do anything. I just didn’t get it—it was kind of like Facebook, but with nothing but really short status updates and something called “hashtags”.
It wasn’t until a couple of years (yes, years) later that I realized how beneficial and how much fun Twitter can really be. With a little practice, I’ve come to feel like I’m part of the action. Because of my activity on Twitter, I’ve been able to meet and interact with several of my favorite athletes, sports broadcasters, and fellow fans. It’s even facilitated a few in-person encounters that never would have happened otherwise. I’ve been able to promote my personal sports blog, and I’ve even gotten RTs, replies, and favorites from a few admired sports celebrities.
While as a business owner, you’re probably not interested in getting attention from college basketball players like I am, some of the same principles apply to your Twitter activity. You want attention from potential customers, and if you play your cards right, Twitter can be a great tool to achieve that.
There is a bit of a science to it, though. I came across this article the other day that mentions some great Twitter suggestions for businesses. Here are my top 3:
- Don’t Be Too Salesy- My Tweets that get the most interaction are the ones that are funny or informative—not the ones that are promotional for my blog or other personal endeavors (although those do get some traction). Of course you can be self-promotional once in a while, but I believe Twitter is primarily about entertainment and providing useful information. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with tweeting out a link to an article written by a thought-leader in your industry or a funny meme you came across—in fact, it’s definitely encouraged, and it will help you get (and keep) followers.
- Avoid Repetition- Sometimes I’m disappointed if no one is interacting with me, and I’m tempted to send out the same message again and again until someone pays attention because I know it’s just THAT amazing, but you have to know when it’s smarter to pull the plug. I once saw a company tweet out the exact same message several times a day, begging people to sign up for their newsletter. After I’d seen that tweet for the 20th time in one week, they got unfollowed really fast. Keep it varied; keep it interesting.
- Be Active & Responsive– It wasn’t until I started actively using Twitter on a regular basis that I really got something out of it. No, you don’t have to tweet out a play-by-play of your day (in fact, please don’t), but if someone contacts you on Twitter (or on any social media channel, for that matter) with a question, answer it. If they feel ignored, they’ll take their business elsewhere. And don’t let Twitter tell potential followers that you have only tweeted twice since creating your account 4 months ago—aim to Tweet at least a few times a week at first, and grow from there.
Keep it smart, and Twitter can be fun and useful for businesses and college basketball fans alike.
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