If you’re not using social media as a tool to define your personal brand and expand your business or network, it’s high time to get started. In 2012, Facebook reached one billion active users, and Twitter continued to become a major avenue for conversation among connected consumers. The latest data indicates that 32% of internet users worldwide are members of Twitter, and 175 million Tweets were sent daily throughout 2012.
Minnesota School of Business students are learning to use social media tools to enhance their careers and build their businesses. Twitter is a great tool to enhance the reach of your business and brand yourself as an expert in your field.
The “micro-blogging” platform has a distinct set of best practices: what works well and drives engagement on Facebook isn’t applicable to Twitter. We’ve compiled some expert insight on how to stand out and develop a following on the network:
1. Take the Time to Optimize Your Profile
Before you start Tweeting or following friends, take time to fully complete and optimize your photo. Customize your background, upload a profile picture and cover photo, and complete your biography and location. Many Twitter users are wary or distrustful of profiles that seem incomplete. Using buzzwords and keywords to describe your business or interests will optimize your profile for search.
2. Understand the Lingo
The language and nature of messages on Twitter can feel daunting to a social media newcomer. Allison Boyer, BlogWorld contributor recommends you familiarize yourself with the following terminology:
- Replies: If a message starts with an @ sign and someone’s Twitter handle, it’s essentially a publicly-accessible private conversation between two users.
- Mentions: If a person’s Twitter handle appears somewhere in a Tweet other than a beginning, it’s going to be published to all followers.
- Direct Messages: These private conversations can only be sent between two people are following each other. They remain invisible to any of your followers or friends.
3. Promote Other People
While following other Twitter users is a way to begin building relationships, actively engaging by replying to Tweets, ReTweeting or sharing content will build your engaged audience. Marketing expert Chris Brogan recommends developing a 12 to 1 ratio: promote one other article or Tweet for every 12 personal links or ideas you share.
4. Keep Your Tweets Short
Earning ReTweets is key to driving traffic to your website or gaining exposure beyond your personal circle of followers. In order to increase your chances of writing content that’s shared, keep your Tweets to 120 characters or less. While the limit on the social media network is 140 characters, shorter Tweets are more likely to be shared due to the fact that shorter messages can be shared without editing. If you’re posting links, use a recognized shortening service like bit.ly to save room.
5. Post Regularly, But Don’t Be a Spammer
Maintaining a consistent presence on the network is bound to help you gain exposure. By regularly sharing high-value content and engaging with other Twitter users, you can build valuable relationships. Ensure you don’t cross the line from self-promotion into spamming if you’re trying to promote your product or services! Repeatedly sharing the same content or posting multiple Tweets in rapid succession is more likely to result in being blocked or un-followed than positive attention.
Twitter is not just for personal use, use Twitter to enhance your career. Business Management students at Minnesota School of Business are learning how to use social media tools to benefit themselves and their employers.