John has been a professional social and commercial photographer since 2004. He's also a Qualified Business Mentor. He's a "Brain For Hire."
On my business Twitter account, I have over 6,000 people "following" me. Each tweet I put out is visible on their timeline of tweets if they are looking at it at that time. My tweet is also visible on the homepage of Twitter and visible to the general public. However, given the huge number of tweets sent per day, any tweet is only visible for a few seconds, if that. Thus it's important that the right people get to see your message on the right day and at the right time.
Thus, to get your message across on Twitter, you have to make yourself "attractive" to the viewers on the platform, and to be really effective you want to try and ensure that the people you want to notice your business or cause are actually seeing your tweets; you want to be selective about who is following you.
Play With the Power of Your Profile
Be clear and concise in your profile information. This small space is very valuable to you but wasted my many on Twitter. Use hashtags (#) as a precursor to text; this then becomes a subject heading that others can look up in search engines, which may bring people to your profile. You can also use HTML links in this text too.
It is very important to have a clear photograph of yourself or a clear logo from your business as your profile picture. It is then important to keep this picture as a static, unchanging picture as this is often how people will recognise you in their timeline. Although the cover picture can be much larger, the cover picture is not seen unless somebody specifically stops to look at your profile. Otherwise, the small profile picture is what they actually see with every tweet put out.
Tweets, Following, Followers
People who use Twitter and follow activity on Twitter are attracted to other people who are perceived as "active" and providing good quality tweets worth reading. This does not mean that they are constantly selling their product or service but that they are tweeting about a wide variety of subjects that the general viewing public may find interesting.
From the screenshot above from my Twitter account, you can see that I have put out over 12,000 tweets (on my profile information it shows that I've been active on Twitter since 2009) and that I have a good number of people following what I am writing, I am also following a similar number of people and what they are writing.
You do get Twitter accounts with a huge difference between the number of followers and the number of people being followed. However, Twitter gives greater significance to accounts where the follower: following ratio is close to 1:1. I try to keep these numbers similar for this reason and automatically follow back anybody who follows me.
However, in doing this, there are times when I have followed somebody who then starts to send inappropriate tweets to me. For me personally, these are sexual tweets or tweets written in a language I cannot understand i.e., where I do not know what is actually being written and being made visible to my followers. In these situations, via the Twitter settings, I choose to "block" these accounts. This action automatically un-follows them but also stops their tweets from being visible on my timeline.
As with any social media, it can be open to abuse and thus needs to be monitored from time to time.
When to Tweet
When I was a commercial photographer, I wanted businesspeople to interact with me and thus targeted more of my sales tweets to the middle of the day during office hours. However, over the last few months, I have started to promote my tuition and mentoring services. My clients tend to look this up after work when they've got home, and thus I target my main tweets to go out in the early evening.
I actually tweet 15–20 times a day on a wide number of subjects. My tweets containing information directly relating to my business only account for 5–10% of the total number of tweets I generate each day. The other tweets are on subjects that my clients may find interesting, even though totally unrelated to my business. For example, I get a lot of interest in the tweets of recipes I generate, especially recipes for evening meals which is when people are reading and interacting with the tweets.
As you can see, Twitter gives every user free information of when in the day is the best time to tweet for the tweets they are currently generating. This graph is visible on your profile page.
Automate for Ease
If you don't want to spend hours per day on Twitter and the internet, trying to find things to tweet about, then use online apps to automate your system.
In picking apps to use, I always start with a "free" service and then choose if I want to upgrade to the paid service depending upon how good the product is. Personally, I never start immediately with the paid-for service; I always want to test first. Likewise, I have an aversion to dealing with programs that are only free. If a company has no means of monetizing their product, then there's a risk that they might cease trading or change the product ad-hoc with little attention given to the impact on the people using the app. I always prefer to deal with companies where there is clear monetization of their product, and thus they have a vested interest in continuing to provide me, their customer, with a good service.
There are two apps, discussed below, that I use on a daily basis: "Buffer" and "Crowdfire".
- Buffer - A Smarter Way to Share on Social Media
Buffer makes it super easy to share any page you're reading. Keep your Buffer topped up and we automagically share them for you through the day.
"Buffer" for Social Media
Buffer is designed to automate posting to several different social media accounts at the same time. Although I have many accounts linked to it, I only use it on a daily basis for my Twitter feed, from which I attract fee-paying clients i.e., there is a monetary return on my investment in this app.
The advantage of Buffer for me is that I can pre-select suitable tweets and define when and on what day they should be tweeted. Buffer also automatically analyses my Twitter feed such that it recommends the most effective times of day to post to attract the greatest readership potential.
Plus, I can link my Buffer feed to a variety of blogs, by an RSS link, such that I have a constant and varied source of information on which to draw, to compose interesting tweets for my readership.
I started with the free service with Buffer; then when I wanted to radically increase my numbers of followers to be able to monetize a return from Twitter, I upgraded my plan with a small and manageable monthly fee. I haven't had any problems with Buffer and am still very impressed by the service I receive.
Following / Un-Following
The Crowdfire app allows me to analyse my social media accounts. For Twitter, this is where I monitor the ratio of followers to following. The app also tells me when people stop following me while I am still following their tweets.
For Twitter to work as an advertising platform, businesses need to be able to send out tweets to read, but on the flip-side, they must receive tweets too, possibly containing messages they don't consider important. It is this interaction back and forth (this activity) that makes Twitter interesting to the viewers (who are my potential clients).
When somebody stops following me, they are blocking my tweets (my message) from their followers, who are the people I want to be reacting with. If I don't unfollow these people, their message will continue to be broadcast across my followers, even though I am not receiving any benefit from access to theirs.
It is important to me that I promote and help the businesses who follow me, as through this, I have access to their respective followers. However, it is equally as vital to me to closely monitor this situation, such that if it ceases to be advantageous to me, I then break the contact and un-follow.
Thus, as a rule-of-thumb, I follow those who follow me and rapidly un-follow those who un-follow me.
Copy Followers and Targeting
A feature of Crowdfire is that I can "copy" the list of people following another person's account. This is to my advantage, in that I can copy the followers of a competitor. I could then follow these followers. And since many businesses use automated systems of follow/follow-back there is a good chance that many of my competitor's followers will end up following me and seeing my tweets. As I "play" the Twitter game to my advantage and am very active (even though this is mostly automated), my tweets frequently show up higher than my competitors who do not maintain profiles that are as interesting or as active as mine.
You can just as easily use this tool to target who you want to see your tweets, not just to take followers from a competitor. If you were trying to influence or target a political party, you may choose to take the followers from a local newspaper or radio station or to take the followers of a specific political representative. By this manner, you can control who reads your tweets rather than taking the "anybody" approach of whoever chances upon your profile and choose to follow you.
Messaging New Followers
Crowdfire can be set up to automatically send a "welcome" direct-message to all persons at the time that they start to follow me. This can be a very powerful marketing device, as direct messages are not limited to the 140 characters that tweets are
There are plenty of other advantages I have found from using Crowdfire. A screenshot of my dashboard is shown below. Again, I started with the free plan and then upgraded to a cheap monthly plan that fulfils all my current needs.
- Crowdfire - Your Marketing Sidekick - Twitter Instagram Facebook
Looking for a Social media engagement tool to grow? Crowdfire is one of the online marketing tools where you can have social media strategy and marketing plans.
To Summarise and Plan for Twitter
Twitter allows you to shout out a small message, called a tweet, 140 characters long to all the people who are following your account. Thus to increase the spread of your message you need to
- Have a good, clear message on your profile.
- Be sociable, not a salesman for your message.
- Tweet about what your followers want to see.
- Be clear about what you want to say and who to.
- Interact with chosen individuals in your followers.
- Identify and target new followers who would be good for your business/cause.
- Develop a system that works for you.
- Use free (or very cheap) online tools to automate your system.
- Dedicate some time to adjust the system for greater efficiency.
- Measure results.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2017 John Lyons
Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on May 28, 2017:
I appreciate these valuable tips for using Twitter. Thank you for sharing. I'll pass this hub along.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 30, 2017:
Thanks for sharing from your Twitter experience. Your article is very helpful and insightful. "Be sociable, not a salesman for your message." That makes sense, as are all the other suggestions you give.