How to Use Twitter Strategically

#TwitterSmarter Chat: How to Use Twitter Strategically with Rachel Thompson

Some things, like social media, are more instinctive than planned. Though it’s completely understandable, it’s not always the most efficient way to go about managing a social media business account. We spoke to Rachel Thompson, social media consultant, blogging coach, and branding expert, about ways to use social media—and particularly Twitter—in a strategic manner. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Rachel Thompson
Topic: How to Use Twitter Strategically
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: How can I use Twitter to market my product or service without being spammy?

The best way to make sure people know what you do and offer, is to add all that information in your bio. It’s an excellent way to communicate your values and motivation for doing what you do. Remember, your bio is the first thing people see on your profile. And you only have 160 characters to convince viewers and try and convert them into your audience.

Your primary goal should be to achieve three main things, as our guest pointed out:

  1. Talk about what you do, instead of only who you are. Use action words to sound more present, and connect with your audience.
  2. Include relevant hashtags in your profile. If you recall in our last week’s chat, we talked about the ideal number of hashtags in a bio. Though there’s no strict limit, stick to a maximum of three.
  3. Always have links in your bio that lead to your website, blog, or mailing list. If you’re linking to an article or something with a lengthy URL, use link shortening tools to make shorter and more rememberable. Not only are short links professional, but they also allow you to include trackers and measure your clicks effectively.

All that said, it’s also extremely important to engage with people. Dolling up your profile and posting tweets regularly only get you so far. Unless you’re communicating with your audience, initiating conversations, and offering your opinions on existing discussions, you won’t be seen as original.

Q2: What are some other key BIO insider tips you can share with us?

Even though you only have 160 characters, you don’t always have to limit yourself. For instance, like Rachel does, you can include an additional link and even another profile you manage. This is a great way to showcase your complete capacity without bludgeoning your audience with promotional tweets.

Here’s another great tip: We all know Twitter asks for your location. But you don’t need to add it. A lot of people fill it in even when it doesn’t make sense for them to do so. Unless you’re a local business who relies on your geographical community, you don’t have to add a location. Use that space to convey something else instead.

Surely, you must’ve seen many people including hashtags and details about events they’re attending on their Twitter profile name. Thats’ a great way to make seasonal and relevant updates to your bio. Like Alberto said, you get 50 characters—be creative and use them well.

Q3: You mentioned ‘verbing’ our bios. What does that mean and why is it important?

Verbing is an idea that Rachel shared in her previous tweets. As she demonstrated, it’s the practice of using verbs to explain what you do and how your work benefits people.

Here’s an easier way to think about it: Is your bio inspiring people into action? Does it give them a sense of elation and satisfaction? Are you making them feel what you want them to feel?

Ashley put it brilliantly: share what you do, and not what you want to do.

Q4: What are your thoughts on pinned tweets?

Pinned tweets are a great way to drive clicks and attention to a specific content. It could be a promotion you’re running, and event you’re hosting or speaking at, or even a webinar or an article you want to share more widely.

Pinned tweets are prominent on your profile, and that’s why they get so much attention. Use that space to highlight what matters most to you.

Hannah shared a good use case for the pinned tweet. She’s a PR and social media manager and part of her job involves helping authors promote their books. Whenever and author launches a book, she pins that particular launch tweet to their profile. That way, when someone notices that author’s random tweets on their feed and clicks to see their profile, the book is the first thing they see. It’s a subtle, yet effective, sales move.

Q5: How do I know who to follow? How do followers become customers?

According to Rachel, most of us make one big mistake: we only follow fellows. It makes sense, in a way. As marketers and business people, we want to follow other marketers and business people.

However, when we do that, we miss out on connecting with actual customers. For example, by interacting with people who follow your competitors, you expand your brand to reach an audience that probably doesn’t know about you.

The more you communicate with people outside of your direct circle, the more horizons you explore. Identify people who talk about the same topics as you do. Look for communities discussing your keywords and industry news, and get involved in those interactions.

A good way to identify potential audience and users you can follow and engage with, like Masooma pointed out, is to look at the Tweets & Replies section of their profile. A lot of Twitter users don’t tweet much, but they respond to comments and actively contribute to community discussions. You won’t know that if you’re only looking at their tweets.

Q6: I have no idea what to tweet about and feel kinda stupid. Any suggestions?

Naturally we all get stuck sometimes. That’s why it matters how you approach Twitter and social media. If you look at it as a task or as a business machine, you’ll stress yourself trying to come up with appropriate content every time. Instead, look at it as a medium to share your interests.

Identify what makes you tick. Pick up a few topics that you naturally enjoy talking about and share those on Twitter. There are thousands of people who have the same interests as you. Share their content, blogs, articles, videos, and infographics. And while you’re at it, share some of your own work as well. That way, you’ll get a healthy mix in your profile.

Overtime, when you’ve developed consistency in your topics, you’d have set your audience’s expectations. They’ll know what type of content you’ll publish, when you’ll publish, and how you interpret some of those topics. That’s how you establish your brand.

As for participating in existing conversations, take Taylor’s advice. Resist the temptation to tweet randomly. Instead, observe what people are talking about. Take in each perspective and analyze how you feel about it. Notice the language and tags they use. And then when you’re confident enough, go ahead and jump into the discussion.

Q7: How can I manage all my social media, especially Twitter? It feels like A LOT of work.

It is a lot of work. Social media can be overwhelming to say the least. That’s why it’s important to get help. Most successful social media personnel use tools to help them schedule some content and manage everyday activities.

Rachel’s favorite is Hootsuite. It’s a versatile platform that helps you schedule tweets, observe interactions, participate in conversations, and analyze how your content is performing.

Go ahead and find a tool that works for you. You can always try them out for free first. Most tools will also offer you an extension on your free trial if you need more time to make your mind up.

There are countless options for you to choose from, including Sprout Social, Buffer, Promo Republic, Zoho Social, Agorapulse, and more. Here’s a massive list of tools, categorized by business size.

The best thing about using a social media management tool is that it helps diversify your content. So you’ll have regular articles or blog posts scheduled, but you’ll also have impromptu conversations and Twitter chats.

It’s important to remember though, as Karla mentioned, that you should focus on what gives you the most benefit. If your audience isn’t on Twitter, then don’t waste all your energy trying to make Twitter work for you. Perhaps your audience is more engaged on Facebook. If so, prioritize that. Go where your audience goes.

Q8: What are your top tips for someone to increase their followers on Twitter?

Make time for engagement. See that you’re reading others tweets, responding to their comments, and sharing useful ideas with your audience. It doesn’t have to take all day. Like our guest said, five minutes every day can go a long way.

We often talk about consistency. Twitter is a fast-moving opinion-based platform. That’s why you should actively participate every day. When you slack off for a while, the algorithm interprets it negatively. The more you tweet, the higher your chances of being on your audience’s feeds. With Twitter’s updated algorithm, it can now suggest tweets and accounts to users similar to your target audience. Capitalize on that and show up regularly.

While you’re at it, be mindful of your hashtags and media content as well. Have a plan for your branded hashtags. When you use them strategically and consistently, you’ll start to develop it as a brand by itself. And to further enhance your brand, include visual media on your tweets. These could be GIFs from the default library or even custom GIFs that showcase you as a person. Either way, visual elements generate far more engagement than non-visual tweets.

There’re a lot of little things you can do to help increase your following. For instance, as Madalyn suggested, use Lists to compile and categorize Twitter users important to your industry. That helps you follow up more easily than looking for their content on a fleeting feed.

Make sure you’re respond to notifications regularly. Replying is ideal, but even a like can communicate that you acknowledge the person who’s taken the time to respond to your content. Be thankful for the people who try and initiate conversations with you. They form your community.

Well, folks, that’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading, and for more insights from our chat with Rachel, have a look at this Twitter Moment that our chat member Joana put together.

We’ll be back on Thursday for our next #TwitterSmarter chat. If you’ve got some time to spare, join us at 1pm ET—we’d love to hear from you.


About me, Narmadhaa:

I’m a writer of all things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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