The doom and gloom stories about how Twitter growth is flat-lining has definitely been reflected in the conversations I’ve been having with new small business clients coming to me for social media help. They don’t get Twitter, they say, and more ominously, they don’t see why they should.
“I’m trying to help people filter out the junk,” said a professional organizing client. “I’m not going to hang onto it on Twitter.”
And yet, except for rare exceptions, I insist on a Twitter component to my clients’ social media strategies. Why? Because Twitter has been the single-best way for me to learn from my peers, connect with people who have something worthwhile to say and establish that I have something worthwhile to say, too.
How have I lifted my Twitter feed from the junk? I treat it like gold. Here’s how you can, too.
Keep your feed sacrosanct
We don’t let just anyone into our front door. So why would we let them onto our Twitter feed? Twitter can be your window onto the virtual world, so be judicious about what you’re going to see. Only follow people and companies that are useful to you, people and companies that have something meaningful to say about your profession, location, clients, hobbies, politics, entertainment, whatever floats your boat. Unfollow them immediately if they are no longer useful (constant sales pitches, abusive tendencies, waaaaay too much snark) and never, ever, ever blindly follow back. Look through the peephole at every Twitter feed and, if they’re not for you, don’t open the door.
Use Twitter Lists
Twitter Lists are a great way to take your feed full of useful information about your profession, location, hobbies, etc., and break them into individual streams of info about each topic. I have lists focusing on social media, D.C-metro area restaurants and Virginia wine (as well as 21 others). So, with a couple of taps, I can instantly discover the latest news in my industry, a place to eat out on Friday night, and where we should go wine tasting on Saturday. Unfortunately, creating lists aren’t as easy as they could be. If you’re new to Twitter, you can download this guide to creating a Twitter list. If you already have an established Twitter feed, the app Listomatic takes some of the finger work out of creating your lists. Making the Twitter lists easier to create and manage would be one way Twitter might be able to get some of its enthusiasm back.
Be true to your voice
I owe my first social media client to my Twitter feed. He said my posts made him laugh; that he liked the way I put things. I use too much hyperbole and too many exclamation points, but it’s who I am. Allow your Twitter posts to reflect who you are. Don’t believe that a too-cool-for-school snark is the only way to be successful. Let your Twitter posts sound like you, let them offer up your goals for your business, your good intentions toward your customers, and your honest motivation to be a contributor to a positive virtual community.
Liking, re-tweeting, commenting on, and clicking on good content in your Twitter feed is the number one way to insure good content keeps appearing. Let people saying things that you like know it. Those are human beings on the other side of that screen and they are looking for the same validation you are. Don’t be afraid to tell them that you like their message.
Focus on the quality, not quantity, of your Twitter followers
I have a vineyard client in the Russian River Valley wine-growing region of California who only has 622 followers and is only following 595 feeds. But they are connected to every winegrower, winemaker, wine writer and wine organization in their area, and are followed back by many of them as well. Nothing wine related happens in their area that doesn’t pop up on their Twitter feed. This took time, it took patience, and it took repeatedly saying, “Hey, we like what you have to say! Hey we have something to say, too!”
It also took restraint to not blindly chase after followers. Instead, we focused on only distributing posts that are useful to our followers and only taking in posts that say something we need to know. In this way, this client has a Twitter feed that provides a golden, clear view into their industry, instead of a view crowded by a bunch of junk.