Social media is truly leveling the playing field for brands. For the first time ever, those on a minimal budget can potentially reach the same audience as Coke or Ford. Now that the big brands are realizing the potential of social media they are starting to throw big money at it, making it seem like the big vs. small brand disparity is back. Lucky for you, there are plenty of easy to use tools and techniques that allow you to establish a great social media presence with a minimal time investment via Twitter.
I recommend you begin by reading Jennifer Shinn’s blog post about social media goals, where she talks about the importance of setting social media goals and joining in on the conversation. After you have a basic understanding of your goals and a few ideas of how Twitter could be profitable for you it’s time to jump right in.
- Set up your Twitter account | Choose the right user name, then link to Twitter from your website to begin generating followers.
- Make a running list of tweet topics | The easiest way to do this is to do a little competitive research. Search for your competitors and note what they’re talking about, how they talk about it, and if it’s actually generating buzz or if they’re just tooting their own horn. The idea here is not simply self-promotion, but joining in on the conversation, being helpful to your audience, and generating trust over time.
- Get everyone in your organization involved | create an account on Bit.ly and share the login. Bit.ly is helpful for a few reasons – it allows you to shorten links so they fit in Twitter’s character limit, it lets you and other users to tweet directly from their site so you don’t have to share the actual Twitter login with everyone, and it provides basic analytics on links that you share so you can see how many people are clicking the links, if anyone else Tweeted the link, and more. If you want more control over account access you can use Cotweet, which gives each user their own login to tweet the same company Twitter account.
- Schedule your tweets | It is important that you remain active on Twitter. There are too many Twitter users who go through phases of tweeting all day for a week, then not tweeting for a month, and so on. End this cycle by scheduling your tweets in advance via Tweetlater. Go back to your topics list (above), write out a long list of tweets, and schedule them in Tweetlater to be released once a day (just make sure it isn’t timely news, in which case you’ll just look like you’re slow on the uptake). This will allow your account to run on autopilot when you don’t have the time for upkeep. When you do have the time you can spend it interacting with followers.
- Generate followers | Start by adding emails from your contacts list – you can do this right in your Twitter settings. Then, when you’re ready to step up try the tool Twollow.com. It works by following any user who uses keywords, chosen by you, within their tweets. If you’re selling shoes in New York you could set it up so it auto-follows a user who tweets “where’s a good sneaker store in downtown nyc” – targeted marketing doesn’t get much better than that.
- Participate in conversations | use Twitter’s search function to find out who is talking about your topic. When you find that NYC sneaker fiend it’s a great first step to auto-add them via Twollow, but even better is to follow up and converse with him. Send him an @user message saying, “hey @sneakerbro, try sneaker warehouse at 14th and 3rd, mention this tweet and get 10% off.” Now not only do you have a valuable brand impression, you also have proven yourself as a genuinely helpful brand that was there at his time of need.
By this point you have a pretty solid Twitter foundation – better than the vast majority of brands present on Twitter. There are plenty of other tools, strategies, and ideas out there on this topic, but I would suggest spending your time on the basics – participating in the platform and learning what is working for you. Good luck!
The JAR Group offers top notch customized social media planning and management services that will increase your revenues.