Are you frustrated with Twitter?
Tired of coming up with unique, sharable content and begging for followers?
I know how you feel.
I remember those days well.
I couldn’t break three-hundred followers, and I couldn’t get a retweet or a reply if my life depended on it.
Every night I’d log in to silence.
I even wondered if my account was real. Is this thing on?
I’d search for my account, and I’d search for my tweets. I tried talking to people, asking questions, making comments, following Twitter’s recommended users.
Still, nothing but crickets.
After about a month, I decided it was a joke, that all those “influencers” had to be doing something unsavory like buying followers or gaming the system. Both, perhaps?
Years later, after making some headway on the platform, I’m now a big fan—especially for writers and creatives. There’s simply no cheaper, better, faster way to build a platform.
Looking back, I realize I was doing it all wrong, but you don’t have to make the same mistakes.
Read on to discover a dozen things I wish I’d known about Twitter.
Twitter is a Numbers Game
The Good News:
Despite all the well-intentioned advice out there, Twitter success depends on numbers: targeted numbers. It’s not about forging quality, personal relationships a day at a time. This idea sells lots of books, though…
If you have a following of 100 like-minded people, your chances for engagement remain limited. Sure, your devoted fans and friends may like or retweet your updates, but the impact will be negligible. Also, they’re likely familiar with your work, so you’re not expanding your reach.
A person with 10,000 followers has an easier time engaging, generating link clicks, profile clicks, retweets, and replies. A user with 100K followers has an even greater edge.
As long as your followers have an interest in your genre, engagement will increase as your followers increase.
The Bad News:
Twitter keeps changing.
To curb spam and fake news, Twitter now limits the ways you can recycle content.
Longer character counts have decreased impressions (the number of times your updates appears in your follower’s stream). Some users increase the frequency of their updates to compensate for this loss in impressions.
Makes sense, right?
Here’s where things become complicated.
Increasing your tweet frequency works to a point. At some level, your followers become less inclined to engage. Finding this threshold, this optimum level of output, can be frustrating and time-consuming; however, if you’re serious about marketing on Twitter, it’ll be well worth the effort.Increasing your tweet frequency works to a point. At some level, your followers become less inclined to engage. Finding this threshold can be frustrating; however, if you’re serious about marketing on Twitter, it'll be well worth the effort. Click To Tweet
Commit to testing and tweaking your campaigns. What worked six months ago may become obsolete or ineffective. As more people adopt content trends, they lose their efficacy. Decide to work through the ups and downs.
There’s a reason why marketers spend time, money, and energy on copywriting: it works.
Tweaking your titles can make the difference between silence and engagement.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is giving everything away in your title. I know, you don’t play games, and you pride yourself on full disclosure. You may even consider it an expression of integrity.
The truth is that our brains work in predictable ways. We’re wired to notice novelty, curiosity, danger. Our brains don’t react to mundane, matter-of-fact information. When we receive the punchline upfront, we don’t care enough to click. You’ve spoiled the ending.
To make things worse, your tiny Twitter update competes with every other tweet in a person’s stream. Spend an hour looking at your stream. Which updates stand out? Which updates make you want to click?
Read a book on copywriting strategies.
Check out some of the wonderful title-generation websites available.
Once you understand the basics, you’ll find that rearranging a few words can make all the difference.
Dress Up Your Twitter Updates
If you’re sharing your thoughts, blog posts, products, and recommendations without images, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
Images stand out, providing an additional opportunity to hook your reader. Face it, you want clicks, and there’s no better way than adding a multimedia component to your update. Find a compelling image, or embed a video for increased engagement.
Often, without even reading your headline, a reader resonates with your image.
While we’re on the subject, you can level up your Twitter game by adding hashtags to your tweets.
While many hashtags are popular, focus on ones that produce engagement. You can evaluate a hashtag’s average, hourly rewteets with RiteTag.
It’s Not About You
The days of tweeting breakfast waffle images are over.
Become a reader-centric user.
Spend some time discovering what works in your genre. Find the influencers, and pay attention to their retweet numbers and likes.
Better yet, while signed out of Twitter, query the search box. Enter your genre’s most important keyword, and find out which updates are going viral. Are they quotes, article links, polls, infographics, or videos? What hashtags are they using?
What’s grabbing the most attention?
Never Underestimate the Value of Entertainment
From politics to celebrity gossip, people love to spend (or waste) time online. Sharing something heartwarming, controversial, or downright funny can bring awareness to your account and/or personal brand.
Find some insider humor to share with your readers. YouTube is full of entertaining videos and clips, covering every imaginable genre and taste.
Offer a controversial survey, a giveaway that connects readers with your blog, books, products, or services.
Capitalize on the Human Element
Social media users are fascinated with rags-to-riches stories, with abandoned-pets-finding-forever-homes stories. They love to see evidence that things can (and do) improve. They’re also drawn to hard-luck stories and pleas for justice.
Find ways to connect on a human, empathetic level.
Find and share media that speaks to the challenges, to the everyday courage required to show up and soldier on in your field. Share the highs and lows, the feeling elements of your genre.
You Can’t Be All Things to All People
It’s natural to want to cover your bases, but there’s only one Oprah.
While casting a wide net seems logical, diluting your message can create branding issues.
If you’re an author trying to grow a platform for your books, you may want to avoid updates about politics, religion, or your obsession with fantasy football.
Focus on your brand identity, so people can associate you with a single, understandable, congruent voice.
Too many users clutter their streams with random content. Consider the number of times you’ve muted or blocked an account after a political rant or an unsavory, mean-spirited update.
Capture Leads from Day One
Think about it.
Marketing on social media can eat up enormous amounts of time and energy—two resources in short supply. This dedication cuts into your work time.
Decide you’ll capture leads for yourself. Even if you amass a million targeted followers, they could disappear overnight.
Twitter could shut down, change their rules, change their algorithm, or terminate your account.
In the blink of an eye, you’re starting from zero.
Take advantage of the pinned tweet function, and offer an opt-in upgrade, a piece of free premium content in exchange for your follower’s email address.
This way, you can make your efforts stick.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
While it’s natural to crave instant success, avoid triggering Twitter penalties for aggressive following and unfollowing. You can also get in trouble by spamming the system. Familiarize yourself with Twitter’s terms of service.
Always play by the rules, and build your account in a sustainable fashion. Avoid buying followers or adopting advice promising to make you Twitter famous overnight.
To avoid burnout, commit to reasonable goals. Increase your efforts incrementally.
Compared to most social media platforms, Twitter’s analytics are wonderful. Set aside an hour each month to assess your account growth, average daily replies, retweets, link clicks, and other stats.
Having access to the past month or year’s data can show you exactly what’s working and not working.
Also, if you’re curious about assessment, try a few Twitter apps and services that dig deeper into analytics.
If you’re looking to make deep, long-term, one-on-one connections with people, Twitter’s probably not the right place. Think of it as business, a place to grow your platform. It’s not Facebook (and that’s not a bad thing).
Early on, I can remember trying to discuss important topics with other users. These conversations degraded quickly as trolls grabbed the reins, steering the conversations into ridiculous realms.
There are better ways and means for in-depth, serious discussions.
You can, however, leverage this narcissistic quality to your advantage.
Play the game.
Focus on others. Play into what’s popular. Retweet others. Elevate yourself by elevating others.
You Need a Consistent Presence
If you’re using Twitter as a marketing tool, you need a consistent presence. If you’re only signing in a few times a week, you’re not going to make adequate progress.
Schedule daily Tweets, so your name and offerings are always visible. You don’t have to be on the platform to interact with it. Try Buffer’s free plan to set up tweets in advance.
It’s easy to forget and become inactive. A few times a year, I purge inactive followers. You wouldn’t believe the number of users who haven’t tweeted in a year!
Make a daily habit of tweeting and following. Make sure to follow back any relevant accounts.
Start a spreadsheet or a record of your following and tweeting activities. At the end of each month, review your account to find out what’s working.
Watch your engagement numbers, profile visits, etc. These numbers disappear when you’re inactive.
It’s Incredibly Powerful
I don’t think anyone could have predicted the incredible rise and power of social media.
It can launch careers, so be cautious about dismissing its potential.
Most users miss out on its potential because they don’t know how to play the game.
And for the moment, it’s still free. There’s time to learn, grow, and experiment.
Even if you’re only Twitter famous, you can turn that into a full-time living. Capture your leads, and grow your platform. Convert your social media fans into long-term clients and customers—280 words at a time.
Now, onto you…
What have you discovered about Twitter marketing?
What do you find frustrating?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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