Twitter: You either love it, or you hate it. Some small business owners have never explored the platform, despite our advice. Others tweet up a storm. But how do you know if it’s right for you?
Back in “the day” — the day being a long, long time ago, way back in 2013 — we had some tips:
- Keep tweets short and sweet
- Follow the right people
- Pay attention to pop culture
- Don’t tweet too much
- Follow the rules
Well, the “rules” have changed, and Twitter has become a major player in the small business scene. Love it or hate it, it’s time to jump on board. Here’s how to use the social media platform in 2018.
Be Short(ish) and Sweet(ish)
In November 2017, Twitter officially doubled its character count, from a paltry 140 to (a slightly less paltry) 280.
What does that mean for you? You have more space to tell your small business’s story. No more abbreviations. No more text-speak. No more sounding like a confused A.I. robot with only the most marginal grasp of the English language.
Should you use the full 280 characters? Don’t feel obliged to. You still need to save some of those precious characters to allow for even more precious retweets. But there’s nothing wrong with making your tweets just a bit clearer (and way more grammatically correct) by ditching the “ur” and going with “you are.”
Follow the Right People (This Still Holds True)
Twitter is all about following and being followed. Your followers will see your tweets; you’ll see the tweets from the people you follow. It’s a pretty simple system.
There’s no guarantee, however, that your followers will follow you back to complete the circle — which is why you not only need to follow the right people, but think outside the box about the people you follow.
Only follow people who you might, someday, build a relationship with. If you’re a wedding planner in South Dakota, there’s not much point in following a bride-to-be in Los Angeles — unless she’s expressing a desire to get married in Pierre.
Conversely, there’s no reason to follow everyone who follows you. If you sell oranges in Florida, why bother following a broccoli farmer in California, even if he follows you? It will only clog up your feed with green vegetable tweets, while you continue to deal in orange citrus fruits.
Pay Attention to Pop Culture (This Still Holds True, Too!)
Trending topics get attention. Whether it’s the latest Kardashian pregnancy rumor, Wendy’s and Wingstop going at it in a rap battle or even something as simple as the NFL playoffs, find a way to capitalize on it!
Imagine you sell burgers and/or buffalo wings in Philadelphia. You could play off of the Wendy’s/Wingstop feud by retweeting their raps with a rap of your own. Are you in a city with an NFL team that didn’t make it to the postseason? (We’re talking about you, Cleveland Browns fans!) Show your hometown pride by tweeting a special offer for despondent fans and including the trending hashtag.
Don’t Tweet Too Much (#TweetAway)
Back in the early days of Twitter, tweeting something out to your followers pretty much ensured you would be seen. But with approximately 6,000 tweets per second (check the live count here), you have to expect that some — if not most — of your tweets are going to fly under the radar.
It used to be enough to tweet out a link to your blog post once, and expect the traffic to come rolling in. That doesn’t hold true anymore. Now, because so many people are on the platform, it’s advantageous to tweet that link several times over the course of a month to ensure that you have your audience’s attention.
Still, it’s important to realize that quality trumps quantity every. Single. Time. Look at your analytics and see what people are responding to. If you’re not getting any response, you need to up your game.
Follow the Rules (It’s Still a Thing)
Twitter “jail” is no fun for anyone. Although the rules are ever-changing, there are some hard and fast “don’ts” if you want to keep your account on the up and up.
- Don’t Spam. If Twitter notices you’re following (or unfollowing) a ton of users in a short period of time, they can suspend your account for anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
- Don’t Spam (Again). If Twitter sees an unusual amount of spamming complaints against your account, you’re busted.
- Don’t #Newsjack Irresponsibly. Newsjacking is a thing that happens on Twitter (and everywhere else) all the time, but if they notice that you’re using trending topics “with an intent to subvert or manipulate” the topic for your own business’s gain, you’re in big trouble.
For more information on what not to do, see the full list of Twitter rules and policies.
Twitter is a great platform for small business marketing — if you know how to use it. There are plenty of ins and outs, and an equal amount of do’s and don’ts. When used correctly, Twitter is an amazing addition to your existing small business marketing strategy.