In this episode, you’ll hear Nika Stewart share her winning Twitter content strategy that includes a focused Twitter content formula, Twitter lists, outreach, and engagement.
This podcast episode is brought to you by the #TwitterSmarter Twitter chat. Each week I host the chat and bring together hundreds of people in an active, one-hour discussion revolving around Twitter marketing. It’s every Thursday at 1 p.m. ET. Hope to see you there!
My guest Nika Stewart is a social media trailblazer, national speaker, and CEO of GhostTweeting.com. Nika has built a reputation for turning entrepreneurs and thought leaders into social media superstars. She does this by helping clients leverage the awesome power of social media to spread their messages and maximize brand awareness. With that goal in mind, her company has been building social communities and amplifying the visibility of celebrities and those who should be.
Your call to action for this episode is to try out Nika’s 50/30/20 Twitter content formula. It will not only give your audience value but also allow them to get to know, like, and trust you. That’s a winning foundation for building relationships on Twitter.
Once you’ve used the 50/30/20 post formula as part of your Twitter content strategy, let me know how it went! Send me a tweet @MadalynSklar. I can’t wait to hear how it works for you.
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Madalyn Sklar: Hey Nika, Thank you so much for joining the #TwitterSmarter podcast. I am so happy to have you here as our special guest. And my question for you is: What are your best Twitter tips?
Nika Stewart: Oh my goodness. Getting right to the heart of the matter. Well, I’m excited to be here. I love Twitter. Twitter is the platform that really got me into social media, so I’m really thrilled to be talking about Twitter. My favorite tips. Wow.
So when I started teaching Twitter and social media about nine – nine and a half – years ago, the biggest question that people had was “What do I post?” And now – nine and a half years later – the biggest question I hear is “What do I post?”
So I think that apparently content is always going to be an issue. And even for those, for those of us who feel like we know, like we’ve done this (We know what to post.), it’s still the basis. You know, it’s kind of the foundation. I think of our content as the foundation for all the other stuff.
Now, content is important. The right content is vital. But it cannot be all that you do on social media because then you’re just broadcasting. You’re just yelling at people.
And of course we need to have conversations and build relationships and just like in real life, nobody listens anymore if you’re just, you know, yelling at them and saying, “Hey, listen to me!” So you start with good content, but it … But then you have to do more.
But if you don’t know what to post … Years ago I realized that there is … If you look at all of the accounts that are really rocking it with putting out good content, there’s kind of a formula. I call it the 50-30-20 formula that I started sharing with people because it seems to make it a lot easier to … When you think to yourself, “I don’t know what to post,” look at this formula.
So 50% of everything you post should be related to your area of expertise. And that means, you know: who are you? What is … what is your brilliance? What is it that you do in business? How … What value do you give to people? And about half of your posts should give value in that area. But … And why not 100% of your posts?
Well, I say that 30% of your posts need to be … show you as more well rounded, so supportive or topics that support your area of expertise. And we can talk about some examples. But you know, whatever you do, your audience could get tired of just hearing just about your … what you teach or what you share or the value that you give.
So what other things would they be interested in from you as a great resource? What other things support them in growing in the areas that you help them with?
So that you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re just kind of an all around … You’re the go-to guy or gal in your industry because you, you’re, you’re not single-minded. You help all around.
And then the last 20%, which, kind of … in my years of being on social media, this goes up and down for me. This 20% sometimes becomes more than 20%, but I call it character development.
And really … what it is, is sharing you – because people … Social media is social, and people will only want to listen to someone if they like them and they trust them and they know them. And so just shouting out, you know, just broadcasting good value is not enough if I don’t like you.
So show me how, why I should like you, how do, how do we connect? It could be things, like, you know, you like kittens. You like walking. You like bead artwork. You know, whatever it may be.
And the more unique, the better so that you get people to go, “Wow, Oh that’s who you are,” or “Oh, I like that too,” or “Oh, that’s interesting. I never thought of that.”
So there’s your formula to look at, and it’s not a hard rule. It’s a guideline. So you don’t have to ever say, “I put out 10 tweets, and five of them have to be this and three of them have to be this.” It’s just a, you know, to think about.
About half of my posts should be sharing good value in what I know, so that people learn that this is who I am and what I can help them with. I’m also well rounded. I want to talk to you about more than just my single expertise. And this is who I am as a person. So that’s your posting formula.
Madalyn Sklar: I love this. This is really great stuff. For some people that may go, “Well, that’s so basic,” but like if you really dissect your Twitter profile so many times I noticed people are not really putting out great content. And it’s important.
Nika Stewart: Yeah, yeah, and it is. You’re right: It is basic. And, and so then I will say that I do social media rather than, I don’t really teach, I mean I love sharing what works for me and for my clients, but I wouldn’t call myself a strategist. I have to be a strategist. But then I do the work.
So rather than teach people how to do it, I just do it. And what I’ve learned over the years – and this is not very exciting and sexy, Madalyn. So this is not … Like, I wish I had something to say like: “Have you ever heard of this app? It’s going to change your life.”
Well, let me tell you something that is going to change your life: Just going back to the basics and being consistent will change your Twitter profile and your results.
And again, I hope you’re not sleeping, listening to this ’cause it’s boring and basic, but, oh my gosh, it works. Go back to the basics.
Look to see if you forgot because you’re such an expert now and you know what you’re doing. I have to go back to the basics, and I’ve been doing Twitter for, you know, 10, 11 years. And I still have to go, “Oh yeah, I forgot. I have to put out some more information about my expertise. I have to go do this outreach.” The basics are what get you great results.
Madalyn Sklar: Oh, I love that. That’s a tweetable right there. I love that. That is so smart and so well put. That’s great. I love that you’re talking about these things because I really think it’s important.
Nika Stewart: Well, I’m so glad because I always think that, you know, it’s kind of like life coaches that say, “You know, I’m going to teach you something, and you’re going to be really miserable while you go through it.”
Oh, Yay. I can’t wait to be miserable. That’s how I feel, like I am … I’m teaching “No, you actually just have to get in there and be consistent.” How boring. But it works. So go do it.
Madalyn Sklar: Yeah. Consistency totally works. I always stress that to everyone. I talk to being consistent. You show up and people see you. If you’re not consistent, people very quickly forget about you if they’re not seeing your tweets. Yeah.
Nika Stewart: Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, so be there. Now, of course, like we said, you don’t just … don’t just show up. And don’t … and, you know, don’t just keep broadcasting. So showing up is more than just broadcasting your message. It’s also doing outreach to get other people to notice you and to give people value in a way that they will notice you and remember you and want to come back for more. And I know you like Twitter lists, Madalyn, and …
Madalyn Sklar: I do, yes.
Nika Stewart: Yeah. And I, and I, you know, I went back and read your article with … last night just to see what you have to say again about Twitter lists. And it’s so brilliant. I find that Twitter lists help … help you in your outreach and your relationship-building because I kind of think … I mean, Twitter is, is humongous, and it can be very overwhelming.
I kind of liken it to stepping into a big city. Like, you don’t live in the city, but you’re going to step into this big city where there are just millions of people walking around. They’re just crowds of people. And your job is to step in and find people to start conversations with. Well, that’s overwhelming, and … like, how do you find the right people?
Well, creating lists is like setting up different buildings where, okay, this building over here is going to be all of my potential clients are just hanging out in this building.
And journalists who might want to use me as an expert in their new article: they’re hanging out in this building over here. And, oh, all of my competitors: They’re in this building over here. I should go kinda sneak in and listen to what they’re saying. Like that’s … that’s what lists are.
They allow you to step out of the crowd and just be in a room of those who you want to either listen to and learn from or engage with or build relationships with or get them to notice you. That’s really why I use lists for me and for all our clients because otherwise it’s just, you know, standing in a crowd and hoping that the right person shows up.
Madalyn Sklar: Right. Which … you know, if you’re following a lot of people in Twitter, your feed is going to be very large and very difficult to go through. Whereas, with Twitter lists you can customize your own feeds.
Nika Stewart: Ah, yes, exactly. And Twitter is now – they say they’re – testing a way to make it easier to use lists because if you go on your phone or online you have to click on lists and then click which in between different lists than get out of that and go to a different list.
So they’re testing something new on the phone where you can … it’s just swipeable. You can kind of swipe back and forth between different lists. So rather than just your home feed, you know, just swipe to the left and look at a list. Swipe to the left, look at another list.
Madalyn Sklar: I’ve got that new feature. And it’s so interesting when Twitter has new features they’re trying out. One of the things I love about Twitter is that they just try it with a small group of people in the public that they just randomly pick people and get feedback.
And I love Twitter lists. That’s one of my favorite things about Twitter. And I was like, “Oh, I want this feature.” And I didn’t have it for weeks. And I was like, “Oh, how frustrating. Like, I would love to report on this and tell everybody how cool it is.”
Nika Stewart: Yay.
Madalyn Sklar: I finally got it late last week. But the problem I found with that … So for those of you listening if you’re on your mobile and iOS and, I imagine, Android, as well (I’m on an iPhone) … is when you’re on the home screen you can swipe across and it’s just very quickly and easily showing several different Twitter lists.
And the way this works, Nika – which I find it kind of interesting – is just randomly whatever are your most recent Twitter lists.
So I don’t know about you, but like my Twitter lists, I look at a lot are a little bit older. They’re not recent. So I was playing around with deleting some of my more recent ones and moving some things around just to see if that would fix it, and it didn’t. So they definitely have a little bug in it right now.
So right now I can’t even use the feature because when I’m swiping across it’s showing Twitter lists they already deleted, but it doesn’t mean it was deleted. So it still shows it, but it won’t populate any tweets into it.
So I’m a little frustrated, but I’m not terribly surprised. Twitter is trying this out. So they probably didn’t put a whole lot of effort into making it work perfectly.
But it … What I love about Twitter, they’re always trying new things and letting us tell them what we think. You know, Facebook doesn’t do that. Facebook make a major change and while we’re all bitching about it, they’ve already moved onto the next thing. You know, they don’t listen.
Nika Stewart: Oh, That’s true.
Madalyn Sklar: But I love how Twitter pays attention to people and what’s their responses to new features.
Nika Stewart: Yeah, I see that a lot. So every morning I do a daily briefing with my team, and, and, yeah, so Twitter is always in the news with like, “Oh, we heard that people were not liking this or loving this and that.”
You’re right. I love that they, they listen and they make changes. It’s, it’s so great. A refreshing change to some other platforms.
Madalyn Sklar: Oh, for sure.
Nika Stewart: Yeah. So when you’re swiping with these lists, you’re seeing, they’re only giving you a few as you swipe through?
Madalyn Sklar: Yeah, it was just like my most recent, I think it was three or four Twitter lists. And, which I think is … You know, it’s cool. It’s cool that they have this. I’m hoping they’ll make it so that we can select which ones because – I don’t know about you – I have tons of Twitter lists, both public and private.
But if I’m really drilling down to, like, which ones do I look at every day, it’s not a very big number of them. It’s just a handful of, of Twitter lists that are my powerful ones that I must look at every day.
So I think it’s smart that Twitter is incorporating this and making it swipeable, so simple and easy to go through. I just hope they’ll let us customize it as to which list we would like to do that with.
Nika Stewart: Yeah. And I think, like you said, if we all are vocal about it, hopefully they’ll hear it and make it that way. But you’re right. It’s so new. Of course that’s going to have some bugs in it right now.
Madalyn Sklar: Right.
Nika Stewart: Yeah. So what are your favorite lists, Madalyn, because I think we have … We, like you said, you’re using just a few every day. And so we use at our office for our clients, we set up … Really when it comes down to it, our main one we call relationship-building.
And everyone who we know that our clients want to either get in touch with them, have them notice them … We put in this list, and that’s kind of our daily go-to. And journalists are a big one too. It’s a lot of our clients want to get media attention. Do you have any favorite topics?
Madalyn Sklar: Oh, I do. Now since everybody knows me as a resource of information on Twitter, I have a list where I pay close attention to the various profiles at Twitter, like Twitter, Twitter business, Twitter video, Twitter support.
So I have a list of just like the top ones whenever they’re releasing new features and have information about it.
And I check that every morning because Twitter likes to just spring it on you. Like, “Hey, we did this, check it out.” And so I don’t want to miss that. I want to be one of the first to let people know about it. So I keep that list very close to me so I can check it regularly.
I also have my oldest list that’s been very successful to me. I call it “Social Media Smarties.”
I’ve also found that it pays to have a fun name if it’s a public list because when you add people to a public list, they get a notification from you that says, you know, “@MadalynSklar added you to her Social Media Smarties list.” Now who doesn’t want to get added to a list called Social Media Smarties?
Nika Stewart: I love it.
Madalyn Sklar: So it started off as a … as a private – this was many, many years ago … It was a private list for my eyes only of just social media people. And over time I really built it out to a really nice list, and I thought, “You know what, why am I keeping this all to myself? Why don’t I make it public.”
So that really … I’ve curated a great list that other people can subscribe to and use. So then I renamed it the “Social Media Smarties.” And it is one of my favorite lists. It has a lot of people in there, and it’s just an easy way for me to see what are the top people talking about in social media.
It’s a way for me to find really great information that I can then share with my community. So I like that.
And another one that I’ve always loved is … When I have guests on my #TwitterSmarter Twitter chat and also guests for this podcast, I have a Twitter list specifically for that. So, so people can go and see who have been a guest on my podcast or who’s been a guest on my Twitter chat and go and see their tweets.
Nika Stewart: Mmm, that’s so great. Yeah. This so … And I know you could go on and on about lists.
Madalyn Sklar: Oh, yeah.
Nika Stewart: But it’s so valuable. And the … another thing … First of all, I love the idea for everyone out there who … whatever industry you’re in: If you make a list, and even if it’s private so no one sees that you’re looking at this – like you’re looking at all the Twitter news every morning… If you look at the news of your industry every morning, you’re going to be standing out from your crowd in your industry.
People are typically not doing this or don’t realize that it’s so simple once you put the people who deliver the news in your industry or might talk about trends or influencers who may come out with something in your industry … If you look every morning at what’s going on, you are going to be so in the know above and beyond other people, other competitors.
It’s such a great idea. And this is not about outreach and doing anything. It’s really just about listening and learning and becoming better at what you do.
Madalyn Sklar: Oh, so true. That’s the thing about Twitter lists: You’re just in a listen mode. You know, listen to the conversation, see what’s going on before you speak.
Nika Stewart: Yeah. And so then speaking of speaking: The outreach becomes so much easier with a list. So you may even every day just pick one list even.
And when you get good at categorizing who is in your list, it becomes even easier. But you may decide, “I’m going to look at potential clients” (that list) today. And you then look for … It’s kind of just monitoring what they’re doing, listening, and seeing what conversations you can jump into.
And I think that your audience probably knows this, but just remember this is not about selling or promoting at all. You just don’t, you don’t sell, you don’t promote. You’re just joining conversations because people will want to learn more about you if you’re just a great person and you’re, and you’re giving your advice or you’re adding to a conversation and you’re funny or whatever, your personality shows up. Then people want more.
They do not want more if you’re promoting. So just, you know, look at a list, monitor, join conversations, add value, give people what you want. It’s the, you know… It’s the golden rule. If you see someone who is talking about something that is going on in their lives, maybe they want it shared. Maybe they are promoting something, so you can … Instead of promoting your stuff, you share what they’re promoting, if it’s appropriate. Who doesn’t love that? You know, it’s, it’s so simple. Again, basic. Give what you would want other people to give to you, and that’s how you get noticed on social media. And lists make it easier to find the people to do that with on Twitter.
Madalyn Sklar: For sure. These are such great tips and strategies you’re sharing with us. It does sound basic, but they work.
Nika Stewart: Yeah. Again, and again, I wish … I wish I was … I had something more sexy to say. But I’m right now wearing a very sexy outfit. So if you could picture that, then you might be more excited.
Madalyn Sklar: That’s awesome. Great. So what other tips do you have for us?
Nika Stewart: Let’s see. I think that until you have the swipeable lists, use lists and use an app like Hootsuite. And we’re going to talk about some apps I’m sure.
But Hootsuite, I find to be one of the simplest tools to look through to find, you know, to kinda narrow down your search of who to talk to and who to listen to. So you just make different columns, and, and you put your, your Twitter account in. And you can put all your lists in different columns, and you can also have different searches by keywords and hashtags.
So, maybe you don’t know who is … talking about a certain topic. So just search for keywords and hashtags and have that be in a column. It’s almost like a list, like you’re narrowing down your search on Twitter to just people who are talking about something. And then you’re looking in real time at conversations that are going on.
And, I know every, every industry has a different set of questions that people may be using when they’re searching or even … You know that there are people before they’re actually in the market for your product. They have certain things come up in their lives. So you have to think backwards. When people need or want … or are in the market for your product or services, what happens before that?
And those are conversations that you can look for by creating, you know, like a column of keywords or sentences that people might use on Twitter. And those are great conversations to jump into because now even before they’re in the market for your product, they don’t realize they will be soon. By the time they are … they already have a relationship with you.
Madalyn Sklar: Right. This is such great information you’re sharing. I love this, and you got a lot of great tweetables and all of this that we’ll have to set up so everybody can easily tweet these out.
I’m with you. I love Hootsuite and we can definitely talk about tools cause I always like to hear what tools other people are using. When I first started this podcast in 2015, a lot of the different experts and influencers I had on – when I’d asked, “Well, what are your favorite tools?” – they kept mentioning this tool.
And back then it was called “TweetJukebox.” It’s now been renamed to “SocialJukebox.” But at the time I had not heard of it. I didn’t know anything about it, but it was like guests after guests after the after guests kept mentioning this tool. And I’m like, “Okay, I got to check this out because this sounds like an amazing tool” and started using it, fell in love.
It’s a great tool for scheduling but really great for evergreen type posts and got to know the CEO. I’ve had him on this podcast twice now and just an all-around great guy.
But you know it was great hearing what other people use for tools and apps because many times there are some really good ones out there that we haven’t heard of yet. So I always like to hear … But I love that you mentioned Hootsuite because I’m a big fan of Hootsuite, too, and most people know about Hootsuite.
But I use it exactly the way you mentioned when it comes to listening. I’ve got my columns with different Twitter lists and different search keywords, especially hashtags. I’m always monitoring the #TwitterSmarter hashtag, of course, and just looking out at different things. And I can literally, in just one minute or less, I can get a very quick look as to what’s being talked about on Twitter.
Nika Stewart: Yeah, yeah. So Hootsuite is, is so great. I find Hootsuite is great. You can certainly schedule on Hootsuite, and for listening and looking at your lists and keywords. We … I’ve, I feel like we’ve tried probably … a bunch of tools that are no longer in existence – some that are, I felt like when they went out of existence that our business was going to fall apart ’cause it’s all we knew at the time. But luckily we now know to use many so that if anything happens we have backups.
Lately we’ve been really liking Post Planner, which I’m sure you’ve heard of.
Madalyn Sklar: Oh yeah!
Nika Stewart: That’s not like vague, but yeah, Post Planner I find is terrific for scheduling and also for evergreen posts. So you could put things in and say, you know, “Tweet this out once a month forever” or “put it in a pool of tweets.” And when you reach the end, start over again.
Certainly things have changed as Twitter’s guidelines have changed about recurring content. But I still find that Post Planner is great for, for my Twitter and for many of our clients for, for evergreen posts that we can preschedule. But yet engagement, I … you can’t do on Post Planner. And so we often go right back into Hootsuite to do the engagement or directly into Twitter.
But yet I have a favorite tool, which is sort of a tool, and it’s Twitter’s analytics. It’s right in Twitter so it’s not even, you know, it’s not a plug-in or an add-on. You go into Twitter and you look at your analytics, and the good thing is that you get all of your metrics and you get … You see a history. You know what’s working and what’s not working. It doesn’t tell you why.
So you have to just like Google Analytics, which I’m constantly trying to get better at. You can see why … You can see when people are coming to your site or how many people, but it doesn’t tell you why. So you have to be a detective and figure out … We’ll often look in a client’s … Certain posts go crazy with engagement and clicks and shares, and others don’t.
So we think we know the reason why, and we try it again and, “Oh, that wasn’t, apparently. the reason. So let’s try something else.”
But that could be a lot of fun. You’re being a detective. Look at the analytics. And a lot of people forget. They just kind of say, “Oh, I see. I got a bunch of engagement here so that must be …” But if you look at your analytics, you really see so much information about what’s working and what isn’t.
Madalyn Sklar: You really do. And I love that Twitter gives us these analytics. They’re baked right in, like you were mentioning before. And I find that so many people don’t even realize it’s there.
So for those of you listening, if you’re like, “Where are these magic analytics I didn’t even know I had,” you gotta be on a desktop, twitter.com. And at the top right in the pull-down menu, when you click on that, one of the options in there is analytics. And you click on that, and a shortcut – and I’ll have this in the show notes – But a shortcut is just type “analytics.twitter.com,” and that’ll take you right to it.
And I tell you, Nika, one of my favorite things when I come in my analytics pretty regularly: I always like to look at the impressions because that lets you know who’s seeing your tweets – how many people are seeing your tweets.
But also an important one is profile visits. And I always stress to people the importance of having an optimized profile. Have everything set and updated and make sure your profile looks great ’cause, as you were mentioning earlier, as you’re communicating with people, we’re not there to sell.
But if they like you (They know, like, and trust you), they’re going to go look at your profile. They’re going to go to your website. They’re going to check you out. And I love knowing how many people are coming to my profile because it reminds you, you know: These people are taking a look at your profile. You got to have a great-looking profile. Have a pinned tweet at the top because that’ll get more eyeballs on it. Just really simple things that your analytics will tell you.
Nika Stewart: Yeah. And I don’t know if … now that you mentioned profile visits, Twitter is also rolling out and testing when you search for certain people or certain types of people, your keywords, and profiles, Twitter is now not just showing you the name where you have to then click over to the profile. But they’re going to give more information, almost like a profile card, which is wonderful if you’re, you know, I guess if your bio is wonderful and gets people to just click follow.
But it’s probably going to get less people to click over to your profile. So you know, you may, we may get more followers, but we may get less profile visits. So we have to look at that and know what to optimize. Now, you know, our bio – not just our banner and our pinned tweet. So, we have to get even more optimized in our profile because people may not see more than that before they make the decision whether to follow us or not.
Madalyn Sklar: That’s a great point. I’m so glad you mentioned that. That’s super smart.
Yeah. Twitter is always changing the features, optimizing, trying to make it an even better platform than it already is. And little tweaks like that can affect it. And I think you’re right. I think that could affect our profile visits.
But it’s interesting to look at your analytics – see how everything is playing out – because it helps you with tweaking to make sure you’re staying on point and getting your stuff looked at.
Nika Stewart: Yeah. And if it remained the same, how boring, and then … So every day …so, just change every … Like, you’re looking every morning. It’s changing pretty much every minute. So it keeps us on our toes.
Madalyn Sklar: Exactly. What other tools and apps do you like to use?
Nika Stewart: Well, let’s see. We’ve been, we’ve been testing out … PromoRepublic is a newer one, and I find that it’s OK. I’m not even really sure why we would use that instead of Hootsuite.
But right now we’re mostly … I mean we, I mean cause that … for mine I feel like, you know, as, as an agency doing this for many people we test out a lot. And then we often will come back to just, just a few. And so right now Hootsuite and Post Planner are our top. Let me see. Yeah, that’s really, I mean, Hootsuite and Post Planner and looking at analytics, those are really …
Madalyn Sklar: That’s like the three important things. I mean you’re covering all your content, your listening, your metrics all between those three. So I think that’s super smart and sometimes less is more, right?
Nika Stewart: Yeah, yeah. No, right. And I … You know, it’s like a candy store. Like if we want to test everything and try everything. But again, it would become completely overwhelming, and we would get less results if we were just testing and playing and going from here to there. But I do … I agree. I like the way you said that: Like Post Planner for scheduling. Hootsuite for listening and engagement, and analytics to see what … how we can make it better each day.
Madalyn Sklar: Yeah. How it all ties together. That is so awesome. This has been so helpful, Nika, I know our listeners are getting so much value from all of these tips and strategies you’re sharing with us. How can our listeners get in touch with you? What’s the best way for them to see more about you and get in touch if they want to talk to you?
Nika Stewart: Well of course on Twitter … My Twitter handle is my name, Nika Stewart, and the company website is ghosttweeting.com. And I would love to hear from you. Let’s chat … If you have any questions, I’d love to chat with you on Twitter. I’m on every day and otherwise you could reach out to us through the website.
Madalyn Sklar: Great. Well thank you so much for being my guest today and sharing all your wisdom and insights with us. Really appreciate it.
Nika Stewart: My absolute pleasure. Thank you Madalyn.