Travel | Mindfulness | Social Media | Inspiration
Do you want to start Tweeting about your business, but don’t know where to begin? You’re not alone. The first time I tried to make a Twitter account for my business, I approached it with my usual philosophy of, “How hard can it possibly be?” I logged in, created an account, then promptly had an existential crisis. I couldn’t figure out who I wanted to follow, why I wanted to follow them, or what I wanted to Tweet about. I knew I needed other people to follow me, but I had no idea how to do this. For months I had exactly six followers.
Eventually, I realized I must be missing some crucial piece of information. I tried asking my friends and colleagues, but they were as clueless as me. I told myself, “If Katie Perry can figure this out, so can I.” I started researching the problem online, and slowly (with a lot of trial and error) realized why I’d had an existential crisis: I didn’t understand how Twitter worked, and was using it for all the wrong reasons.
The problem was that I started using Twitter to communicate with my customers. If was a celebrity, or was in an industry where my customers all had Twitter accounts, this would have been a great idea. But the problem was that only five of my customers Tweeted.
Truth is, if you want to use social media to communicate with your customers, Twitter is usually not effective. But if you want to use Twitter to network with key influencers or promote your business, it can be a highly effective tool across multiple time horizons.
Twitter is a numbers game. Don’t think of it as a popularity contest, think of your Twitter followers as a distribution channel for your marketing content. There are two ways to grow followers: through a large, “scatter shot” approach, or a smaller, more targeted approach. I tried the larger, scatter shot approach at first (at one point I even paid $50 to accumulate followers via a paid Twitter ad), and realized that many of them were low quality, and inclined to stop following me for no apparent reason whatsoever. I called to mind the 80/20 Rule, which states that 80% of a company’s revenue comes from 20% of its customers, and realized the same held true for social media. Better to focus your efforts on organically building a smaller following that is inclined to actually read your posts, or click through to your content. You don’t want to narrow your field too much, but there is no need to seek followers that have no inherent interest in your company’s mission statement, unless their network appears to have demographics similar to your target market.
Remember: In the 21st Century, partnering with someone means that even if a third party buys their product instead of yours, you still win because you’ve gained eyeballs. Maybe a person passes on your product today, but now they know about you for the future. Or perhaps their friend will see your product and want to purchase it. This is why networks are so important. Twitter can help you target, and connect, with people in your market that have already accumulated a large number of followers in your company’s key demographic. These are called key influencers. Any effective Twitter strategy involves identifying and interacting with these key influencers.
It takes time to build a large network. That doesn’t mean Twitter is useless in the short and medium terms- quite the contrary. I’ve used Twitter to build my social media presence in countless other ways: securing third party blog posts, being featured as a key contributor/expert on other sites and building partnerships both online and in the physical realm. All of these can help you build your network or, at the very least, drive traffic to your company’s website. Remember: social media is the PR and SEO of the 21st Century. The best part about it is that it’s free.
Ready to try for yourself? Got to twitter.com and create your account today. If you need help, read Part 2 of this series: Twitter Basics for Business Owners: Part 2- How to Tweet.