Twitter and I have had a funny relationship over the past few years. According to my profile, I first got Twitter in May 2011. I remember one of my former co-workers was really into it at the time and I wanted to know what all the hype was about - I wanted my own posse of Tweeps!
The thing is, I never really got into Twitter. For years I had a private Twitter account and only interacted with my friends (very rarely) or lurked on celebrity accounts (usually D-Listers, let's be honest). I didn't "get" Twitter for the longest time and there was a good 2+ year period that my account was basically dormant.
When I launched my web design / development business in 2016, however, I started paying more attention to social media and content marketing. Getting eyes on my business and website could only be a positive and I knew that it would be worth the effort...if I could just figure out how to use it properly!
Over the past few months, I've made an effort into using Twitter effectively to support my web design/development while also not sounding like a total self-promoting robot.
Looking forward to 2017, I will continue to revamp my Twitter strategy so that I can grow my following and further develop my business' brand online. And honestly, I'm excited to try something new! In this article I'm going to share my perspective and also outline a few of the ways I plan to implement my Twitter growth strategy. If you're looking for a little social media motivation and want to join me on this experiment, even better!
How I used Twitter before
Like I mentioned above, I was a fairly early Twitter user but I definitely was NOT a committed user. I had zero strategy and didn't care about growing my following - I had a private account and mostly used it to catch up on news or see what my favourite celebs and bloggers were doing.
I was also a little afraid of Twitter because it wasn't the most intuitive social media platform out there... it wasn't until pretty recently that I wrapped my head around it.
My Three Twitter Hangups
There were a few main areas that I held me back from using Twitter at first and these were also the reasons why I didn't adopt it right away as a way to promote my business online:
1) I was self-conscious about my Tweets. Tweeting didn't come naturally to me at first and I never know what to write or how to phrase things within the short character limit. Silly though it may sound, Tweeting only for myself stressed me out because I didn't have any cohesion to what kind of content I was putting out there. I didn't want to publish dumb status updates ("Just ate diner - yum!") and I knew I would never be particularly witty in 140 character or less. I was also too nervous to Tweet to people who weren't my friends which was pretty dumb since the worst that could happen is that they just didn't reply - and best case scenario, they might Tweet back!
2. I thought it would take too much time and effort. When I launched my business this past year, I knew I had to ramp up my content marketing and social media efforts. But since I hadn't done a lot of social media scheduling in the past, I (incorrectly) assumed it would take AGES and so much effort! Little did I know that tools like Hootsuite, Buffer and Meet Edgar could make my life easier and help me strengthen my presence online.
3. I thought my peers and prospective clients wouldn't care that I was on Twitter. Twitter is common place for people in the design field but I honestly wasn't sure how many developers were on Twitter. Turns out, there are a LOT! Along those lines, I assumed that since I worked primarily with small professional businesses, they wouldn't care about my Tweets or even see/read them. I soon found out that they do, in fact, check out my Twitter profile and being more of an active Tweeter has allowed me to connect with them in other ways! Fun fact: as of the 3rd quarter of 2016, Twitter averaged 317 million monthly active users. That's insane! If I can start using Twitter effectively, think about how awesome it'll be to connect with people around the world!
Why I plan to use Twitter differently
You know how people can tell you the same thing over and over again but until you have that idea for yourself, you never really understand or appreciate it? Yeah, that's how I feel about Twitter. For years people have been telling me how important it is to have a following on social media, especially as a business owner, and now I'm finally understanding that they were right all along.
Plus, now that I'm starting to learn how to use Twitter properly, I'm realizing how much FUN it can be!
For one thing, Twitter is really conversational. People will follow your account if they like the type of content you share and it can actually be pretty neat curating it all. Also, since Twitter has a character limit, it'll force me to get creative with how I share information while still having an actual personality online. I don't want my profile to be only business - instead, I want people to visit my profile and have access to a lot of interesting content but also get to know me a little.
That being said, I don't plan to start live-Tweeting any time soon unless I get a back-stage pass to the Grammy's or something ;) Some people love sharing every aspect of their personal lives online but that will never be my style.
I firmly believe that as I get strategic about my Twitter profile, I'll be able to support my business online even further. Here are a few of the ways I hope to see growth:
- Increase page visits to my website. Twitter will be a great way to get more eyes on my blog content and web design/development services.
- Connect with industry leaders. In 2017 I want to get featured in more media publications and get to know industry leaders in web design/development and technology in general and I have no doubt that Twitter can help me out.
- Drive people to my email list. I have some pretty lofty goals to grow my email list in 2017 and I think that by using Twitter to drive people to my website, I can then convert them to subscribers to my email list. Wish me luck!
- Engage with my peers. I'm planning to participate in Twitter Q&As and chats a lot more over the next few months and I suspect this will be a great way to get to know my peers a bit more.
My 2017 Twitter Revamp Plan
I say 2017 but in reality this is something I started a few weeks ago and plan to continue into the new year! Here are a few ways I'm going to use Twitter strategically to support my business:
1. Create and stick to a Tweeting schedule. I recently started using Hootsuite to schedule my Twitter posts in advance and this has been a game changer for me. I currently Tweet about 4 times a day (2 posts from other publications/people in my industry, 1 post for my own content, 1 post that is more fun/personal) but want to increase that to at least 5-6 times a day to get more of an impact. During the weekend I tweet less (usually 2 times / day) and I think I should increase that as well.
2. Reply to people's tweets directly. It's one thing to share someone's content but it's another thing to reply to something they share and let them know that you like it or find it interesting. This is also a good way to get more eyes on your profile since more people can find your Tweet through that original poster's content. I haven't always been great at this but I'd like to do this organically at least a few times a week. I would love to say that I'll do this daily but I don't know if I can keep that up.
3. Use hashtags. When I first started sharing my website's content on Twitter, I would just post a direct link to an article. However, when I started including even one hashtag, I noticed my engagement increased a ton! I plan to continue using at least one hashtag in most of my Tweets since According to Expanded Ramblings, tweets with hashtags receive two times more engagement than those without.
4. Get visual. One of the reasons people love social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest is because they are so visual and it's easy to consume content. It's well known that Tweets with photos have better engagement and I've certainly seen that to be true on my profile (see here, here, and here for a few recent examples). I plan to keep this up even more next year since people like getting a behind the scenes look at my life & business.
These goals are lofty but I know that sticking to it will only strengthen my business so I'd say it'll be worth it!
My current Twitter stats
Everyone loves to see numbers so let's take a look at where I currently sit on Twitter. Hint: it's not all that impressive - yet! You can see my profile here and give me a follow while you're at it!
Here's my November 2016 Twitter summary (the first month where I started using these strategies):
Tweet impressions: 23k
Profile visits: 810
New followers: 38
Tip: This information is super easy to get, just check out your Twitter Analytics to see where you stand.
I'm super excited to put more effort and strategy into my Twitter profile and I can't wait to check in on my results in a few months. If you want to track my progress and follow along, be sure to click over to my Twitter profile and give me a follow!
Now I'd love to hear from you: how do you use Twitter? How does it support your business? Have you been able to grow your presence on social media by following any valuable tips? I'd love to know what they are so leave me a note in the comments!
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