How to Look Like a Pro on Twitter When You Have No Idea What You’re Doing

Whether you think Twitter is dying or not, it’s still a network worth paying attention to.

Frequently, businesses or people who like to regurgitate the gossip of Twitter being dead or dying are just plain bad at Twitter.  They think they’re active – but they’re really not.

Most businesses active on Twitter aren’t really as active as they think they are.  They put in a token amount of effort and call it good. They blame Twitter, not their inactivity or incompetence, on why they don’t see any results from the platform.

The thing about social media, Twitter included, is that you don’t get credit just for having an account and existing there. That’s not how social media works, and it’s not how you get visitors, site traffic, or increased search engine rankings. Social media and the internet don’t work like a checklist you just check off as you accumulate Required Internet Participation Activities.

Twitter isn’t a dying social media network. To the users who love it, it’s an extremely active, robust social media network, and it’s extremely useful to a variety of business industries.

Does your industry have news and events?

buy propecia in bulk Guess what!

Your industry probably has other businesses and people – either prospects or potential new hires – who are active on Twitter.  It’s a place where people share information, and if anyone you’d like to do business with is active on Twitter, that makes it a network you should be active on.

Twitter is the network where news breaks. It’s fast, it’s brief, and it’s where businesses and personal brands alike can get more casual.  Or not, whatever floats your boat.

So how do you make your business look like a pro at Twitter without sinking hours and hours of effort into it?  It’s well and good to say you should be active on Twitter, but let’s face it, you don’t really care enough to sink hours and hours into learning it to a level to actually be a pro.

set up twitter for business

The obvious basics: get your profile picture and header image sorted out.

In order to be perceived as professional, you need to look the part. If you’re creating this Twitter profile on behalf of your company, then it needs to be the brand logo. It should be a PNG file, and it should be easily recognizable. It also  go site needs to be in a square format.

Sure, your logo is probably an oval, or rectangle, but don’t crop the logo down using the profile crop tool. Use Photoshop or a similar tool to paste the logo onto a square, plain background (white or black or whatever your branding style guide describes), and then use that as the logo.

If you’re creating an individual Twitter profile, it needs to be about you – creating multiple accounts to represent your business only dilutes the branding and brand recognition. You don’t want people searching for your business to be confused about which account they should message if they have a question. You absolutely can create a personal Twitter and use it to help spread your business’s message – but let’s start with the basics before we start jumping into multiple accounts.

Your header image should be visually appealing and branded, but not look like it’s a clip out coupon from a bargain magazine. Use an image – stock photo or an image from a paid photoshoot for your business – that has elements of your business brand colors within it.

Make sure that the image is large enough that it doesn’t look pixelated, but also be sure that it’s not so large Twitter won’t accept it at all! Their upper limit is 10 MB, so as long as it’s not a massive image, you should be alright.

The bio – you want to use this to make finding you on other networks as easy as possible.

Use Bitly to generate a shortened link of both your business’s home page, and of the business’s LinkedIn page (or Facebook page).

In the link section when you edit your bio, put the bitly link to your business’s home page.

In your bio, use your value proposition as the description (if it’s too long to fit, figure out how you can rephrase it so that it  does fit), and at the end, add the link to the other social media network.

This funnels people from Twitter, a low buying-commitment platform for B2B, to a different network that’s more likely to lead to conversions. LinkedIn is my preferred next step for business, but if you’re in B2C, or you’re already seeing success with Facebook, then by all means – use that in your shortened link instead.

Wondering why I’m telling you to use a link shortener? You should be customizing your URL so that you can easily see how much traffic you’re getting directly from the link in your Twitter bio. Learn more about doing that by reading through my past blog on the subject.

You want your bio to be succinct and to the point.

Once you’ve got the bio fleshed out, you’re done prepping the basics of your profile. This was the easy part.

using twitter for business

Next step: Interacting with people.

The hardest part about not looking like a complete dinosaur on Twitter is posting and interacting with other people on Twitter.

The easy thing to do is tell you what not to do.

  • Don’t use those free automated responder tools. You know, the ones that say “thanks for being an engaged member of my community! -courtesy freebie tool, get yours by clicking here!”. Those are cheesy, terrible, and don’t work nearly as well as they want you to believe.
  • Don’t use all caps – I can’t believe I still have to tell people this, but online, it looks like yelling. STAHP.
  • Don’t thank a follower for following you, and in the same tweet, send them a link to buy something from you. You know what gets people to unfollow you almost immediately? Doing that.

There’s some less obvious things that you’ll want to avoid doing as well.

Use hashtags correctly – don’t just add # in front of random words and consider that good. Hashtags are ways of sorting topics, much like the way you’d file papers in a filing cabinet. You don’t sort your papers by random words on those papers, right? You have files for various customers, or files for your car paper work, or home paperwork, insurance, etc.

That’s how a hashtag works. It’s how you can find tweets that other people have specifically tagged as being related to the word behind the #. In order to be a hashtag, everything behind the # needs to be one word – so you’ll end up with word monstrosities that don’t seem to make sense until you figure out what words were shoved together.

Don’t complain if someone follows you or interacts with you and they’re not in your target demographic. I see a surprising number of folks get offended, or at least perturbed, that I or a client end up following them, and we’re not a perfect fit for who that person thought they’d be attracting as followers.

Above all, try to treat people as kindly as you would treat them if you could see them face to face.  It’s easy to hide behind the anonymity of a screen to be nasty or snarky, and you may come across as rude without meaning to.  Try to err on the side of being too nice – no one ever got mad at a company for being too pleasant to talk to.

Relax! It’s the internet, and Twitter in particular has a short attention span. Follow people, if they don’t post information you find relevant or helpful, then unfollow them.

Easy peasy.

You can, and should, also look for people tweeting about topics related to your business or industry, and tweet at them. Tweet something conversational in response to their tweet, or simply thank them for sharing an article you liked. Over time, these small interactions build up into a community.

The key part of that is time. Expect this type of community building to take several months, if not a year or more.

In order to attract people to interact with, you’ll need to post.

Posting is relatively easy. You search for content from other people, and share it. Learn more about curated content here – it’ll keep your Twitter feed active and full, and encourage people to follow and interact with you.

Sharing your own content is the other key part.

For each blog post, aim to write at least 10 status variations to use on Twitter.

One way to generate this list of statuses is simply to use the headlines you decided not to use for the blog – or simply the multiple headlines you wrote to decide on which headlines you’d use for each social media channel. One of the best ways to write a really great headline is simply to write 20 variations of the same headline, and then pick the most compelling version.

When you’ve already written 20 headlines, you’ve got plenty to choose from for statuses.

If all of those headlines sound a little too similar to use every single day, start switching them up by framing them as a how to, or a question, or a tip pulled from the blog.

I’ve created a status writing guide to help you do this as easily as possible – when you get to the bottom of this blog post, just click on the button to get it!

You don’t want to just blast your own content for three days straight once you’ve written all of these statuses, though. Switch it up. Try to get yourself into the habit of posting 1 status of your own content for every 3 posts of curated content you find. This rule of thumb has served me well for the last few years, and continues to do so. Sometimes I post more of my own (or my clients’) content, sometimes less, but as a starting point, 1:3 is still a great ratio.

It’s important to post every day on Twitter, but that doesn’t mean you need to remember to log in to post every day. Use a scheduling tool instead – click here for a recap of my favorite social media tools for Twitter in particular.

That’s it, really. Post regularly, remember your manners, and avoid automation until you’re more comfortable with Twitter.

Yes, that’s right – I said avoid automation until you’re comfortable, not avoid automation like the devil.

As long as you post consistently, and make a point to find other accounts to interact with, you’ll see your follower count start to climb. You’ll also start generating site traffic from Twitter, and you’ll be able to use it as a resource to find breaking industry news. You can start being the first in your LinkedIn groups to share news – rather than learning about it a day or two after a major event has happened.

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