By Sarah Lokitis
Sep 17, 2012
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I have spent a lot of time working with clients as they are getting started with Twitter. Anyone can tweet, but using those 140 characters to your advantage for maximum business impact is a great way to set yourself apart from competitors. In this post, I’ll share 5 ways to tweet to grow your followers.
Hashtags consist of using the number symbol (#) immediately followed by a word or words. For example, at Search Mojo we use the hashtag #mojowebinar when we are sharing something about a Search Mojo webinar. Other hashtags like #followfriday (#FF) and #smallbiz help organize your tweets because hashtags are searchable. Hashtags should be integrated into your social media strategy to help create organization. I recommend to my clients that they should not use more than two hashtags per tweet, as the tweet tends to get watered down. Some companies even use hashtags as part of their marketing efforts, telling their fans to tweet a certain hashtag to be entered in a contest or sweepstakes.
Share links back to your content and content your audience is interested in learning more about. Share your webinars, whitepapers, infographics, press releases, blog posts, etc. There are several URL shorteners like bit.ly and tinyurl to help meet the Twitter character limits. Always be sure to share a little bit of information about the link when sharing. If you just tweet a shortened link, users may not click on it because it could be spam or a virus. Also, note that when users retweet (RT, share) your tweet, several characters are added to the tweet. For instance, at Search Mojo when users retweet us, 15 characters are added for “RT @SearchMojo:”. Check to see how many characters you should leave at the end of your tweet based on your Twitter name. If your tweet is too long to RT, some people may strip off the last bit of your tweet to make it fit.
You know that list of SEO keywords you hold dear to your heart? Those keywords should be integrated into your tweets. If you don’t have a keyword list, go ahead and make a list of keywords that best describe your business and industry. Use those words in your tweets, while maintaining relevancy. Make sure your priority keyword ends up in your description on Twitter because Twitter uses a section of the interface to let you know who on Twitter is similar to you. This section is helpful, so you can find people and businesses you have something in common with to follow. Other people will see this too, so you want them to find and follow you.
The reason I say this is because when you start a tweet, “@Lokitis …” you are only sharing that with @Lokitis and any one who follows you and @Lokitis. This limitation is due to the fact that starting with an @ symbol is termed an “@reply”. Twitter created @replies for conversations on Twitter. To gain maximum exposure, share the same message with a period or other character in front. For example, “.@Lokitis Take a look at my latest blog post [insert link]”. That tweet will be shared to all of your followers, so they can see your conversation and take a look at the link. If you want to start a tweet with the brand name on Twitter, like “@SearchMojo is having a webinar Thursday that you should attend [insert link]”, try to rephrase or place a character in front, so your message is shared to your fans AND @SearchMojo.
What are your customers or prospective customers asking you? What is the top FAQ at your organization? Create a list of these questions and answer them in your tweets, focusing on the most relevant first. Create groups of questions to answer about current promotions, seasonal trends, or commonly asked how-to questions relevant to your business or industry. Keep adding to the list and share the answers on Twitter. By monitoring the conversations using HootSuite, Tweetdeck, Trackur, etc., you will learn more about your audience. You can share the answers or tweets more than once because on Twitter everything keeps moving. If they missed your answer in the morning, your audience may also be signing on after dinner. I’m not saying you should be on Twitter 24/7, but take advantage of the ability to schedule posts in the evening.