I’m going to be completely honest right out of the gate and say that when I first heard about and started using Twitter, I thought it was pointless. Even in my web-based journalism class where using Twitter was a part of the grade I didn’t do much with my account. Then what I realized was that I was doing almost everything wrong and it only took a few simple steps to correct those problems.
I would like to assign the biggest tips on how to use Twitter properly as the Three R’s; relevance, response and retweet. According to Forbes, the reason Notebook of Love is the most engaged brand on Twitter is because they tweet what people want to hear. It is also why I believe Blake Shelton is one of the most popular and talked about country artists on Twitter; he tweets about real life. People also want to know they are being heard. The reason why I think Lay’s Potato Chips is sometimes effective on Twitter, as I talk about in my other blog, is because they seemingly respond to every tweet they receive. And retweeting is simple, it makes people feel good that you enjoy their content. I’ve been retweeted four times since joining this master’s program and it feels awesome!
Engagement on Twitter is key to success. Having followers is great, but if none of them engage with your content by replying or retweeting, it has no impact. Aaron Lee thinks starting early is an important factor in the process and I would have to agree. Followers will come eventually, as I’m seeing more come now, but giving them the content to follow is even more important. People that already follow you can spread word of mouth for others to join if you give them the incentive to by producing valuable content. Lee also gives some pointers on how to produce good content, such as using images and hashtags. I have very love/hate relationship with hashtags. They are convenient in grouping tweets together and good ones allow people easier access to your tweet. On the other hand, some hashtags are so random and people wouldn’t use them in a real conversation unless you’re Honda. Mashable says the best ways to engage are to be authentic and don’t act as a push marketer. I know I respond better to people that are using their own voice instead of what the company wants me to hear. And in a recent question that was posed to my Facebook friends, most are likely to rebel against push marketing and not buy from that brand.
Now we have to talk about what not to do on Twitter. I’ve already talked about marketing, not replying and not tweeting period. Kim Garst also suggests that you should be as transparent of a brand as possible, with imagery, content and the name of your brand openly visible to the public. On the other hand, the New York Times suggests that too much time engaging will leave you dependent on Twitter for basic needs, which I think is a bit far-fetched. The article felt to me like the author was above using Twitter with the vocabulary he was using, some of which I didn’t understand. There can be a middle ground between using your brain and becoming a machine and I resent the fact that he is telling me that’s where my life is headed if I continue to use social media.
One final point I want to touch on was something I mentioned in my intro about using Twitter in a classroom setting. Obviously, in my case it failed miserably, but that’s not to say it can’t work. Part of the reason why it never worked for my class is because student journalists either weren’t on Twitter or didn’t know how to use it to it’s full potential. If my class had devoted some time to teaching us how to tweet engaging content, although hopefully not like Cal State-San Marcos did, we may have fulfilled the required number of tweets for full credit in the course.
What mistakes are you making on Twitter and how can you improve them?
Do you feel your tweets accurately represent you as a brand?