Since starting L. K. Rosa I have learned so much about social media and how best to use it for business. So many other small business owners that I have met at events are not yet aware of the potential benefits of using Twitter. So, at a Wedding Fair last week, I promised two fellow exhibitors that I would write a miniature guide. Be forewarned: This is not as miniature as I had hoped…
I’m by no means the greatest Twitter user in the world, but I can explain how you can be. If you build up your twitter audience, you can reach mass number of followers with every Tweet, which in turn will hopefully increase your number of potential customers.
I know you’re already interested and that is why you have come here, so without further ado:
1) Firstly you will need to create an accout with Twitter here. You need your own name and email address and you will have to decide on a username too. Usually, the best username is your own name or the name of your business: I chose @LK_Rosa
2) Twitter will direct you through some information to explain the basics of Twitter. You can also check for friends using your email contacts.
3) The next important thing to do is click on Settings and go to your Account. You should add a photograph – either a picture of you looking top-clever or use your business logo: I use my business logo so that it increases brand awareness.
4) You will then need to add some more information to your profile. Things like your web address, blog, your location and a short bio. Do complete this information as people on Twitter actually want to know this stuff! You could even customise your page – showing you care about how you are percieved by other Twitter users.
5) Set up Twitter on your phone. The whole point of Twitter is to be mobile so you can update interesting events in real time.
6) Follow family and friends. Find them using the search box at the top of the homepage.
7) Write your first Tweet.
How do I decide what to Tweet?
You want to gain followers on Twitter as there is no point tweeting if noone can see you. Therefore, you need to write interesting Tweets. Are you adding value to a conversation? Would you share this information with your busiest friend? No-one wants to hear your every move: “I’m eating Coco Pops for breakfast”, but people do like honest posts, a little bit of colour and emotion. People like interesting , helpful or entertaining snippets that they can tweet too.
Share links to articles you find interesting. Upload photographs and explain what or where they are. I use Twitter for “sneak peeks” – sharing pictures of my new jewellery before it is available to buy at lkrosa.com. I occasionally upload pictures of myself in my everyday life too, my followers can see that I’m a real person, not just a business.
Remember that you only have 140 characters to play with when you’re writing your tweet! Keep it short and sweet.
How do I get more followers?
This answer could be an entire article itself, so I’ll try to keep it brief, the key points are:
* When someone follows you, follow back – if it turns out that you are not interested in their tweets or they tweet too often, you can always unfollow later.
* Follow about 50 more people than are following you – this shows other twitter users that you are actively engaged in recruiting new followers.
* Follow people who are interested in similar topics as you (hunt them down using the search tool!)
* Most importantly engage with the Twitter community – Retweet (RT) posts that you find interesting (use the button that looks like 2 arrows chasing around a square). Favourite posts that you enjoyed (by pressing the yellow star button) and Reply to other users if they ask questions or if you have something to add (Write @whoever at the start of your post to reply to them or directly speak to someone)
Note that if you start a tweet with @whoever – only your mutual followers will see the post. It is futile to use this method to gain followers. It is used primarily to be an active community member.
How often should I Tweet?
Ah, the sacred question! This is so subjective you will have to decide what is right for you. If you tweet too often you will get unfollowed. If you tweet too little you risk getting lost in a plethora of updates. Balance is key. I would say that about 5 per day is about right for most people. I presently only tweet once or twice a day and this is enough for me at the moment.
The Hashtag #
When you’re tweeting you can use the hashtag # to emphasise key words or topics. For example, I will often use #jewellery or #handmade. This means that if someone wanted to see updates about jewellery, they could simply write #jewellery into the search bar and every tweet containing this hashtag will be listed.
Bear in mind the spelling as well – I’m happy to write #jewellery as I’m based in the UK and most of my customers, thus far, are UK based too. If I was aiming at the American market I would spell # jewelry instead. Just food for thought.
The hashtag can also be used to start a trend. For example, conferences will often give an ‘official hashtag’ to use when tweeting about the event. This means that everyone else at the conference can see what other attendees are saying simply by searching the trending tag. I use #lkrosa – but it is far from trending – in fact so far, it’s just me who has used it!
As I write this post, one of the high ranking trends is #business so I will be using that tag when I post the link to this blog! You can find up to date information about what is trending on your home page in the ‘Trends’ Box. Don’t be surprised if you find that #business has gone by the time your account is set up – they change quickly!
A Word of Caution
Everyone can see what you say on Twitter. EVERYONE. Tweets are searchable forever. Even if you delete something later, all of your followers will have seen what you said when you wrote it. So don’t write stuff you will later regret.
Avoid writing confidential information about you, your friends, your place of work. It is better kept in your head. There are crazies out there who could do a lot of damage with that kind of information.
Avoid writing personal information such as ‘I’m going away for a month in Guatemala with all the family’ – Even robbers have twitter accounts, so keep yourself safe.
Hopefully, you will have a good idea as to how to get started using Twitter for your business by now. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask and I’ll answer as best I can.
To finish up:
* It’s important to keep your Twitter account up to date. Check it at least every day as customers will use it as a way of contacting you or writing about you. You can retweet positive comments to your followers and you can manage negative comments by responding in a timely manner with the hope of fixing a potential issue.
* Don’t swear using your business Twitter account. It’s just bad practise.
* Don’t use contractions or deliberately misspell on your business Twitter: “Itz goin 2B a gawjus wknd!” – it is dismally unprofessional.
* @whoever mentions are clickable. This means you can click on the link and open their user bio. If you’re interested, simply press follow!
* Direct Messages (DM) are private messages that are not public. Start a message with “DM @whoever…” to send them a private message. (Be warned that if you follow someone, they can send you a DM, be wary of spammers and don’t click links that say ‘have you seen this photo of you? hjew.hfig.dhuiohrg.com’ or other similar messages. They’re nonsense. Real people will DM you a welcome message that makes sense.)
*Don’t spam other people. It’s not very nice. Also be aware that a constant stream of links, advertising and marketing information is likely to lead to people unfollowing you. Break up your marketing tweets with that emotion and personalbility we spoke of before.
*Finally, have fun! The more fun you have with Twitter, the more your enthusiasm for the business will shine through. I love sharing my sneek-peeks – and they get more comments too. You’ll soon find what works for you.
Don’t forget to follow @LK_Rosa when you’re up and running, you could even send us a tweet and say hi!
Love LKR xx