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I want you to get the most out of your Twitter marketing. So to start off, let’s point out some basics that SO many people are doing that is VERY ineffective to growing a following and influence on Twitter.

  1. Following Everyone.
    This frustrates me because I see following as an endorsement. Some of the most powerful accounts on Twitter do not follow anyone, or follow very few – yet they have a huge base of followers.
    If you are following to gain more followers, only follow people in your target demographic. The way to gain more followers is to reply to several posts and show your support for people. They will follow you as you show that they are important to you.
    If you are following people that you idolize or want to quote, use lists instead. This way there is no limit to how many people that you place in lists, and you can sort and categorize. When you are ready to find people to quote, or want to catch up on your favorite celebrities, read the list like a newspaper, and cultivate content from there. Don’t waste your precious first 2,000 follows on accounts that are outside of your target demographic.
  2. Using Twitter for Constant Distribution.
    Do us all a favor, and unlink Twitter from every social network – you are likely using these tools wrong. It is time for a crash course. The principle is that you need to remember why people use Twitter in the first place – They want to consume small amounts of content very, very rapidly. So why are you constantly expecting your followers to go off of the site to read the rest of your sentence on Facebook, or view your image on Instagram? The Instagram shares make me the most frustrated. I could easily view your image in the stream that I have chosen to view your content. I have no desire to go to your instagram account when I chose to go to Twitter. If you want your picture engagements to go up – Load images into Twitter directly!
    You can share content from other social networks with HUGE results. Do it sparingly. Post a very short description of the content before the link – 2-5 words can be HUGE. When you link, be sure there is an image or a preview.
  3. Talking Like You’re Using a Megaphone.
    If all of your Twitter posts are sales pitches… You’re doing it wrong! {Click to Tweet!}
    Twitter is this HUGE source of reputation management. Do you want the reputation of just another spammer, or do you want to become a power player? It is time to chop out most of your sales posts. There is a better way – storytelling. We humans are addicted to stories; stories have been the way we have learned far longer than our current model of lecture. Stories breed an emotional connection with your audience. A very well executed story will make you unforgettable.
    So you are not a huge ad agency, and you don’t have the budget to make cinema-quality video. That is ok! Look at the tools in your budget. I love to recommend that you hire local photographers to shoot images with an editorial feel to tell your story. You could then potentially have dozens of high-quality images to share for weeks to come. Other options are presentations instead cinema video. Presentations can be made by a spokesperson, a slideshow or a whiteboard video. These can all be very low-cost options to tell your story.
  4. Ignoring Advanced Search.
    We are still learning advanced tactics for Twitter search. It is mind-blowing, as graph search is to Facebook. Yet so many businesses do not understand why it would ever be helpful, except to find one user that you are looking to interact with.
    Most business people join Twitter to just use it a platform to talk, but Search makes it a tool to listen. {Click to Tweet!}
    Just think of any data that you could ever want from people. Here are some examples: “Which accounts fall into my target demographic?” … “Who is talking about key words in my industry?”… “What events are people attending and talking about?”
    I hope these questions have started the wheel spinning! This is some of the things that you can easily find on Twitter. Facebook Graph Search does a great job of this as well, but it is not socially acceptable, or easy to find a person’s status that you are not friends with, and respond to that status. On Twitter, you can talk with anyone that you can find! This is incredible. People post statuses and they want them to be responded to.
    Tweeting is happening in real-time, so you can find out industry trends and events right as they are happening and gaining momentum. This means you are mostly getting the most recent AND relevant information from Twitter Search. 
    One Last Thing – you can make your searches even more specific and relevant by using the Advanced search feature. I use this most to limit the geographic area of my searches. If your terms can be confused with alternate meanings, than you can plug in terms to exclude to limit what comes up in your search.
  5. Not Searching Yourself.
    As a business person, your lifeblood is your reputation. {Click to Tweet!}
    So why are you not monitoring your reputation? Start making a habit of searching your name, your business name, events you attended/hosted, and any words that are heavily associated with your brand – such as your names for your products/services.
    When you are small, searching monthly or weekly should be plenty. But as you grow your reputation, you should invest in tools to monitor these words constantly, and set goals on how much the public is talking about you and your brand.
    Unfortunately, some people start searching and find a whole lot of angry customers all at once. It can be a shocking and uncomfortable situation. But in this social world, it is doing more damage by ignoring these dissatisfied claims. Reach out to all of these people and start the damage control. Tweets can be archived, so maybe when you have fixed some issues, some of the negative talk will go away. If you are seeing it on Twitter, search other business review sites, too. Most of those listings are permanent, and those customers are harder to reach, but you need to know.
  6. Ignoring Competition.
    Earlier we talked about building lists of people that you idolize or want to quote to your audience. I also suggest building private lists of your competition. This can help keep you in the know of real-time threats to your growth. You will probably find that your competition is making all the mistakes that we are talking about in this blog. So right away, when you start making changes to your execution, you will be doing better at Twitter marketing than they are!
    Some things to notice has to do with their audience. Notice how many followers/following, and browse who those people consist of. If your tactic is to follow people in order to gain followers, you may find that your competitors have already made huge lists of potential customers for you! You can browse their lists, and follow potential customers, and start interacting with them the right way. Look to see how much your competition is interacting one-on-one with customers and leads. Work on out-doing your competition on one-to-one interaction, but make the replies to people: powerful, helpful and meaningful. People flock to people who speak often AND always have meaningful things to say.
  7. Ignoring Trends.
    Your small business is not likely to make your own hashtag trend on Twitter. It is a waste of energy. If you are using your own hashtag, use it as a way to categorize tweets about your brand, so others can find you. It is much more powerful for you to hijack the hashtags that are already trending, and spin them to your story. This can drive awareness to what you are doing to people that may have never heard of you before, and can spin into a viral affect.
    You can also add value to the Twitter community by adding to the discussion of a current event from your unique perspective. Be sure to stay true to your brand.

    Let’s recap by outlining the steps to Successful Twitter Marketing:

1. Create your profile with powerful images that fit well, add a great description, and be sure to include your city and state if you want the locals to find you.

2. Only follow users you endorse, or that are in your target market. Try to follow less then those that are following you. Use tools to prune followers that are inactive, spam or not following back – such as Tweepi or Manage Flitter.

3. Sort users that you want to quote or that you idolize into lists. Sort your competition into private lists. Check often.

4. Post directly to Twitter as much as possible, instead of sharing content from other sites. Unlink your other social networks. They should not post to your Twitter feed automatically.

5. Storytell before you sell. Use images, video, GIF’s and slideshows to share your emotionally-compelling story.

6. Search for users that are talking topics related to your business, and join the conversation with meaningful things to say.

7. Also use Search to monitor your reputation, and relevant topics in your industry.

8. Follow trending topics, and add your perspective to the conversation. Hijack trending hashtags to tell your story.

I hope this helps you on your way to becoming a Twitter star! Don’t be silent, leave me questions in the comments and tweet to me at @Yourbizallies and @SauraJohnston Thank you for reading!