Twitter needs no introduction so I won’t talk here about the life and history of the popular 140 character social network.
With the ever-changing face of Search Engine Optimisation and with social media becoming a strong part of that, SEO is more SEM (Search Engine Marketing) than ever before. If you want to be an SEO rock star then maybe you should look at social media stardom too.
To really make an impact, just showing up isn’t enough though, and I see too many potential rock stars crash out like a one-hit wonder. You need to turn up and you need to engage, and it takes time to build.
So here are my 13 power tips to help you become a Twitter rock star…
Let’s start with the first…
1. Play with your bio
No you can’t skim this part. This is one of the most important parts of your Twitter. Would you have a website with a crappy ‘about us’ page? Would you leave off your website address from your business cards? No! So don’t forget to fine-tune your bio.
Key points for a Twitter bio are:
- You only have 160 characters to sell yourself and attract others (that’s a text message).
- You need to stand out from the rest, so be original.
- You’ll need to come across as real. Showing your interests is a great way to do this and also gives people something to relate to. (But try to avoid ‘loves coffee and all thought are my own… blah blah blah’ – it’s been done to death!)
- Twitter bios are searchable, and show up on Google. Get your keywords in there – as long as it makes good reading and entices Twitter users to follow you.
- #Don’t #Use #Too #Many #Hashtags. There’s a terrible trend of people who put reams and reams of hashtags and lists of keywords in their bios. This will get you found, but with a confusing looking bio, they’ll see you but not click!
- Tell Twitter where you are in the world. Worldwide is OK if you are worldwide. If not, put your town or city to attract a core of local followers and help with local search SEO.
Want more tips on crafting the best bio possible? Mashable posted a great post on this subject and it’s aptly named How to Write a Rockstar Twitter Bio!
2. Sing to the RIGHT people
Engaging means interacting and conversing with people on Twitter. Twitter is great for many things but the reason it’s so powerful is because you can connect with people from all over the world on similar subjects – instantly.
Automate everything and you’ll miss all this, and that’ll mean missing the main point of Twitter. You’ll also miss out on all the cool traffic you’ll gain to your website from people who care about you and your content.
I like to pick times of the day when I’ll go on Twitter and spend some time interacting with people I follow. I make sure I follow the right people so that these interactions are valuable (more on that later on) and, more importantly, I select solid times to go on.
Going on Twitter when fewer people are there may not be as good a use of your time as going on when they are. On the other hand, if there are fewer people around there’s less competition for attention and it’s quieter so you can have more meaningful chats. It’s a fine art getting it right but I’ll give you a few bits for starters.
- Early morning and evening is very busy and interactive. People check social networks first thing (mainly on their mobiles) and then later when they have more time to chill and read those juicy articles and nose about on other people’s updates.
- Lunch times are also good as people tend to have some down time and check on social networks among other things.
- Other breaks in the day can include mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
Try your network and see when you get the most action. Marketing is all about testing, and Twitter is no different.
Bear in mind that generally late evenings are more chit-chat and centered around gossip and TV. Unless you’re a keen ‘shoe-horner’ of your brand into all manner of events then you may find this a tough time to get traction so therefore it’s not a great use of time. This is industry-specific but you get the idea.
3. How about a duet? Use reciprocation
The world runs on this stuff.
“You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”
The way to fully capitalise on this is to scratch the back of people who you would like to scratch yours!
Go for the influential people in your field. Find useful people and centres of influence in your town or city if your focus is local. Start by taking an interest in these people. Retweet their posts and favorite their tweets. Talk to them and take an interest in their content.
This may seem all one-sided to start with but people feel the need to reciprocate favours and good deeds done to them. As humans, we feel indebted to people who help us out, and some social media love can do that. Reciprocation is one of the powers of influence highlighted by Dr Robert Cialdini in his brilliant book on the powers of persuasion.
Start with influential people in your circles and work outwards. Obviously don’t aim too high straight away, as influential people will also be busy and often won’t have time to respond or reciprocate. I have to be honest: Stephen Fry probably won’t tweet you back.
4. @mentions – is the volume on your speakers working?
Here’s a worrying idea: most of your tweets won’t be seen by everyone. Are you missing the biggest trick in the Twitter book?
Now this isn’t like the awful Facebook algorithm that many marketers are screaming about. Twitter is still open and it’s easy to engage with everyone. But did you know that conversations are hidden from most of your followers?
Here’s a situation:
You’re asked about your product on Twitter.
It’s a great excuse to sell your product and its many positives.
So you reply with a great tweet – maybe including a link to more info – and you feel pretty cool about not only answering and selling your product but also encouraging people to check out your product page.
But there’s a problem.
When you press ‘reply’ to a tweet, the person who asked you the question will appear at the beginning of your tweet making it start with @.
Twitter then only shows this tweet to the person you’re tweeting, and people who follow you both.
Not so open now is it?
The good news is, you can get round this.
Just put anything in front of the @ symbol and it becomes a tweet for all to see. It doesn’t matter what, a full stop or a ‘hello’ will do it.
Stop missing out on extra attention and reach on Twitter.
5. Make your content rock out!
Create content from your interactions and share it – this offers value and sends traffic to your website.
This is a simple but effective trick. When you have great conversations or see cool conversations about topics related to your business or products, blog about them. Then when you publish the blog, re-ignite that conversation by sharing it with the tweeters and get that interaction on your website’s blog comments instead.
Even if you don’t get the comments you’ll get the RTs, as the people you mention will want to share something they felt was worth tweeting about. Make it a thought-provoking topic for more chance of interaction and engagement. Bring Twitter to your website.
The initial burst of traffic to a blog post from Twitter is one of the oldest but most effective tricks in my arsenal. There’s a theory that early ‘noise’ on a post will help its longevity and potential to be evergreen content. So when you post new content, blogs, and news to your site – get social with it.
Share it out there, and I don’t mean once in a half-hearted way. Create ‘link-bait’ by crafting intriguing titles for your tweets. Questions work well for this and ‘Do you?’ ‘Have you?’ titles make people more inclined to click.
Get early buzz on your posts and make sure you share from your own social media share buttons. This will ensure that any further engagement on your social media post will be counted on your website share buttons.
If you share your blog post from your blog’s tweet button, any retweets of your tweet will affect the tweet counter on your website!
Why is this cool? Well that gives your post social proof that other people have shared it. When people land on your content not only will they feel they should read it but they will also want to share it; as people tend to follow other people’s actions like sheep! (Another power of influence!)
More early action = more notice from Google and more chance of this content ranking in the future.
6. Tour the world (virtually)
Share your Twitter with the world using website links and social bars.
To make the above tips work you’ll need to have social shares on your website. Don’t hide them and if you can, make them float down your page or have them in a column on the left or right of the page. Most online readers will skim and you need to have those babies in the right place at anytime they feel the need to leave. People like to share good content but they hate looking for a way to do it quickly.
Powertip: Track your blog URLs in Twitter by pasting and then searching for them in Tweetdeck. You’ll find people who shared your content and you can thank them, follow them or favorite the share.
7. Find new fans
Use ManageFlitter to find and engage with new users.
Twitter has many third party apps and tools. The next tip focus on a selection of the ones that rock my world (feel free to add yours in the comments).
Twitter ain’t a thing without an audience. ManageFlitter is a powerhouse of follower knowledge. Twitter works well if you find people and then they follow back. It’s an old technique but it works. Finding the accounts is often difficult and you can’t just follow heaps of people at a time.
ManageFlitter gives you the Powermode and this allows you to filter Twitter into users, bios, active, spammy, size, amount of tweets… you name it, ManageFlitter has a filter for it.
Find your ideal follower and put the criteria into ManageFlitter and follow and wait for reciprocation. You can also interact with them during your Twitter times that we discussed above, because they’ll be in your timelime once you follow them. Placing the right people in your timeline ensures you’ll be able to take an interest and start the reciprocation process.
8. Plan your setlist
Use Buffer to schedule.
Twitter takes time and you’ll want to make the most of it. By scheduling your content, and what you really need to get across, you’ll leave your Twitter time free for interaction – and that’s the important ‘live’ stuff right there.
Buffer is awesome, because you can decide on your key times to share and then set these in your schedule. Then all you have to do is load tweets in and it puts it into the next slot on your schedule.
The beauty of Buffer is that you can add content from your browser with cool extensions for Chrome and Safari. You also get stats from buffer as it tracks the special links it creates too.
Buffer have a cool blog on all things social media too. Stuck for ideas for content to tweet? There’s a Buffer blog for that.
9. Use the right instruments
Use Tweetdeck to find and save hashtags and search terms.
Twitter is a powerful tool for search but this isn’t like Google – it’s live! If you want to track live conversations, keywords, and brand mentions then Tweetdeck is a simple way to do it.
After some initial set up by searching and creating columns (Tweetdeck is made of columns of streamed tweets) you can simply return to Tweetdeck daily and see what’s popping in your area of conversation. Follow people, RT them, ask them questions and generally get amongst it. I like that, after you’ve set this up, you can hop on to Tweetdeck and catch up quickly.
Use Tweetdeck to save searches, but schedule from Buffer – the saved schedule in Buffer saves you time.
Powertip: Save hashtags for events that you’re going to so you can keep on top of pre-event networking.
10. Spy on other wannabe rockstars
Use Followerwonk to grow and enhance your audience.
Followerwonk is a powerful tool for searching Twitter. I tend to leave the simple stuff to Tweetdeck and use Followerwonk to spy on people. If you need to keep an eye on a competitor’s Twitter and how it’s performing then Followerwonk is perfect.
Followerwonk gives you the option to sign in with your Twitter and then simply put in the @name of your chosen competitor’s account and then track it. You get to see how they’re performing, who follows them (you may want to check them out) and then even compare your account with theirs.
There’s an old saying ‘know your enemy’ and Followerwonk gives you that power. The free version lets you play around but for the full features you’ll need to pay.
11. Stay connected while you’re on the road
Twitter was made for mobile – Get the right app – Tweetbot.
If you’re anything like me then you’ll spend a lot of time on your smartphone. Twitter was actually designed for the mobile web and originally wasn’t even meant to be for us all to use. The history of Twitter dates back to 2006, when a small company created a simple communication tool based around the humble SMS text message.
So it makes sense that Twitter still works like a dream on mobile. It’s mainly text updates (although recent changes make images larger and in multiple) so the smartphone is a great place to be on Twitter.
But getting the right app is important. I’ve trialled loads over the years but I’ve been a massive fan of Tweetbot ever since I tried it out. The new iOS7 version is slick and beautifully designed, but it’s the tricks it has up its sleeve that keep me using it.
Tweetbot allows for multiple accounts and seamlessly switches between them as well as saving searches and hashtags. The bottom tool bar is simple to customise as you tweet, making it small and unobtrusive way to pack in more options.
One of the most useful options is being able to type an @name by the person’s real name and the app offering up the Twitter name. Intelligent tricks like this save those ‘I can’t remember their Twitter name’ moments.
12. Keep the band together
Integrate your social media.
By integrating I simply mean ensuring you put out similar messages on Twitter to what you’re already putting out elsewhere. You’ll have other marketing. You’ll have a business story to tell. You’ll have events you go to, plans you’re making and things you’re doing and you should share all this on Twitter.
People love a story and people like to know what’s going on, so give them a story to follow and watch them show an interest. If you get them on board with your story then they’re more likely to engage and be a brand advocate.
Tell your story with Twitter. This superb post from Hootsuite explains perfectly why storytelling is a powerful tool for your marketing. It’s not new by any stretch, but it’s still as powerful as it always was.
Tell your story on Twitter and get an engaged audience takes an interest in your content because they care.
13. Keep playing and touring
The rule of 21 is the new rule of three for online marketing.
Twitter is darn busy. When you try to present a message/story/idea it may well get missed. That sucks, right? You spend ages crafting a message and then nothing. Hey, it could be worse – you could have spent a ton of money on it like this company did… only to find no one cared.
The fact is, on Twitter (and any social media) people are not really there to take in all the information that they see. Social media users are skimmers and they pop on and pop off. To get your message across you’ll need to be consistent and persistent!
When you publish a new blog share it a lot. Share it at the right times, and change the title to refresh or change your link bait. When you have an event, talk about it constantly. When you want people do know about something, post it often. The fact is, even when you’re sick of sharing it some of the readers you really want to see it still won’t see it!
There’s a rule of three in advertising. You have to share something three times before your target audience sees it. Place an ad on a bus and that bus needs to drive past three times before your audience even takes on board what it says.
On social? Oh man, it’s SEVEN times worse! You’ll need to schedule your posts out (around useful social interaction so as not to spam) many times before your message hits home. You’ll need to do a lot of circuits in that bus!
Powertip: When you publish new content, use Buffer to schedule it out across a week or so. That way you won’t forget and you can craft lots of great tweets in one go. I find right after I’ve published a post is a good time for me, but you find a time that works with your creative juices.
So there you go. That’s the basis of Twitter rockstardom right there. Spend time getting the basics right first.
Here’s my handy summary for you skimmers:
- Set your bio right, engage with the right people and don’t forget to @mention not @reply for better reach.
- Create content from your interactions and be sure to get early social signals on your new posts by sharing them a lot.
- Use your own tweet button on your website to help with social proof.
- Get tooled up with the right Twitter tools and apps.
- Schedule your important posts like a Twitter skeleton and hang everything else off it.
- Get mobile and find the right app for you (Tweetbot rocks).
- Integrate Twitter into your business – if you’re doing it – tweet it!
- The rule of 21 – not everyone will see your post the first time, second time, third time… schedule your content to share more often.
Being found online using SEO is so much more than link building and technical architecture. That’s all still hugely valid but Twitter can’t be ignored. Admittedly, it’s not the biggest part of SEO but it is a huge area for website traffic and brand awareness. If you’re looking at SEM instead of SEO then Twitter rockstardom is a great way to begin.