I Am Twitter and So Can You!

By Anton MolodetskiyJuly 13, 2016

Most every company today believes it should have a social media strategy. But actually, in practice, a surprisingly large number don’t understand what’s required to have a social media presence, let alone what they should be sharing or when. Hence the rise of the “Social Media Strategist” role within organizations — a job that didn’t even exist just 10 years ago. In the spirit of knowledge sharing, and to help bring clarity to your social media strategy, here are some of the finer points (and pointers) on having a voice on Twitter.

Why Twitter?

Creating a long-term Twitter presence provides plenty of tangible benefits to companies that choose to invest time into the platform. Although it may seem like you’re just talking into the void, if a company can provide value to its followers, the payoff is real:

  • Greater brand awareness
  • An opportunity to engage with its community (customers and relevant media)
  • An ability to track relevant news in real-time
  • A chance to track important industry trends
  • A window into the communications strategies and actions of the competition
  • Establishing a voice

    When starting to use the platform, it’s important to establish your own consistent voice. Brands will often choose to be formal, tweeting only industry news and company announcements. Individuals, however, can use Twitter to promote themselves as a go-to source for content and opinions in their field. It’s also a great opportunity to show sides of yourself others may not know about (such as a fondness for rollerblading) and, of course, humor always helps.

    Choosing your passions

    The most important question to ask yourself when starting to tweet is “what am I passionate about?” Twitter is a great place to connect with people who are interested in the same things you are, but to attract new followers and provide value to those who already follow you, focus on the things that are really important to you or those subjects that you are truly an expert in. Hashtags are a great way to find the right community. Or, use Twitter Search to find business-oriented topics or personal-interest topics:

    Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 11.51.42 AM

    Picking your tools

    Twitter Search, however, isn’t the only tool you can use to become more efficient. Third-party platforms like TweetDeck and HootSuite allow you to track social interactions and provide analytics to quantify the effectiveness of your outreach. They also help monitor multiple twitter streams and manage multiple accounts — invaluable for social media professionals who may be simultaneously running different accounts.

    You can also find sharing tools embedded on most media articles. These, however, often automatically write your tweet for you, so take some time to add a custom thought whenever sharing.

    Writing that first tweet

    “Hello world!” wrote many of Twitter’s 16,000 users in 2006 when the service first launched. While that number would grow to 332 million in just under a decade, that tweet would prove to be a common one for first-time tweeters. When writing tweets, follow these simple rules:

  • Be timely. Sharing content as close to the publication date as possible will keep the information fresh. Also, time your tweet so it publishes during a time when your audience may see it (i.e., 10:00am – 4:00pm PT is a reasonable timeframe if you’re on the West Coast).
  • Use hashtags. Do your research and understand which hashtags will help your prospective audience to locate your tweet. As a rule, more than three hashtags usually overwhelm the tweet and make it seem too busy.
  • Don’t forget the info. A straight opinion will only take a Tweet so far. Back up your ideas with relevant URLs, the handles of other users and any company names you may be referencing.
  • Copy+Paste tweets ≠ value. Provide value. Although I’ve already mentioned this, its importance is hard to understate. Copy+Paste tweets will never have as much impact as those that provide original opinions. Try to make reading your tweets worthwhile for your followers.

  • Connecting with others

    Don’t forget that Twitter is all about relationship-building, meaning the size of your network is just as important as the quality of your followers. Build your following by varying your hashtags, joining trending conversations and continuously engaging with those who don’t already follow you.

    As a final point, it’s critical to remember that Twitter is a public platform. Although private options exist (Protected Tweets or Direct Messages), anything you write on Twitter can be seen by anyone who accesses your account. This means that although building your own voice/brand is important, if a tweet could be found offensive, you automatically put yourself, your clients, or your company in jeopardy for posting it. Think before you tweet and make every tweet count.

    Anton is Bhava's jack of all trades when it comes to content strategy and influencer relations. When he's not hovering around the office coffee pot, you can find Anton mucking about on Twitter, making a mess in the kitchen or getting lost in the woods. A glass-has-room-for-more kind of guy.