FOC-kskeltonWhen you are a marketing manager in today’s business world, social media is a very real part of your daily responsibilities and resume of skills.   Jobs are won and lost on social media skills.  As mentioned in my last blog, Duck, duck, TWEET (not goose): http://bit.ly/1Ni97VP, Twitter is the most challenging for many marketers.

We are on Twitter to be part of an online community with like-minded colleagues.  We want to be sure our voice and message is reaching everyone and we are not missing the latest vehicle being used.  We want to secure our “reach”.

For my son, who just began college this month, Twitter is an important connection for meeting and creating a new community socially.  Most kids are off of Facebook and from what I can see in that world, it is all Twitter and Instagram.  So he is starting fresh, with goals similar to mine at work….  grow followers, ensure engagement.

A benefit to being on Twitter is to be updated with the real-time happenings in our industry but being a passive poster and reader is not how to get Twitter follower growth.  In addition to posting, you have to comment, start conversations, being active.  It is just like actual social interaction - at least the rules and concept are.

In the business world, ‘Social Media’ sounds like a fluff part of a marketers job to many but it is becoming almost a full time (and critically important) job in itself.  I sit on my couch, at night (because it is the only time I can steal in a day) to try to learn more about how to grow my company’s Twitter Following.  A project that I am launching now.

Honestly, the simple answer on how to be followed starts with following.  Begin with finding your target list of companies and individuals and add them to your Twitter network.  Sounds simple, right?  You “just” type in their usernames in the Search box (if you know it) and if you do not it takes a little more investigating through Twitter pages, email signatures and website pages.  Usernames are not all obvious.  If you follow and show some activity by replying to posts, commenting, or even sending a message, they should “follow” you back.  I mean, let’s face it, they want more followers and someone is responsible for that goal too.

Marketers do not need to reinvent the wheel for Twitter.  How you brand your company and yourself to your industry is what will make a difference in this Twitter community. The reasons why people engage are the same for why they will Follow …….. they need to find you interesting,  your posts as valuable information for their job and you as established and popular in the industry (that always helps).

After sifting through countless hours of tips, tricks and explanations - from my couch while Dateline is on in the background - I have come up with my own quick list that now is on my bulletin board.  Yes, I still use pen, paper and a bulletin board in addition to all my digital tools.

fiber optic center marketing blog graphic

So from my bulletin board I share ‘Kath’s Path’ to boost Twitter follower numbers:

  1. Start looking at your Twitter PROFILE as your first impression….because it is
  • The photo can influence if people read your posts and follow you. Use a clear photo of yourself, not a random icon.   Using the same photo, clear image of your face, in all your profiles (FB, LinkedIn, Website thumb nails) as this helps people feel like they recognize and “know” you before they actually do.
  • Your Twitter Name should make sense so either your name or the company name or your expertise.
  • The ‘Bio’ is critical to attract the right followers … include ‘keywords’.   It may help your profile come up in searches, so think keywords.  If this is being scanned to decide if you are a good fit then including what you do, where you work, which industry you are in and your expertise is important.

 

  1. Have a strategy for content by topic
  • Use different types of content: links to your own articles, links to other relevant material that would make you a helpful resource to others for sharing, comments on relevant topics.
  • Do not use this for promotion. Hard work and real articles will be the foundation for promotion but you need to be a relevant, expert source worth following and if your tweets are ads, you run the risk of being unfollowed quickly.
  • Tweet with Opinions and Questions. Get your followers engaged (avoid tweeting only an article title or link). Be seen as someone who wants to share expertise in a two way relationship and the tweets will automatically get more exposure and more Twitter followers.
  • Show authority in a particular subject - experts in specific fields have a greater chance of attracting followers.

 

  1. Hashtags might seem silly but they are a part of the strategy so embrace.
  • The easiest way to form a hashtag strategy is around events. Find every event hashtag in your industry as it will be targeting your desired audience.
  • Find and use relevant hashtags to your content. Relevant creates more Twitter followers but random, non-strategic use is seen as spam and you will be unfollowed.
  • Hashtags can expose your brand to millions actively searching your topics. If you provide answers in your tweets, you will most likely be followed.

 

  1. Retweeting - everyone likes to be retweeted
  • If you retweet and include in an @ reply that person will see you acknowledged them
  • Retweets are the easiest way to get in front of tons of new customers and hopefully followers

 

  1. FOLLOW people that you want to follow you
  • Follow your target list of who you want to follow you: prospects, customers, industry experts, competitors and media
  • Do not follow more people than people follow you or your legitimacy will be questioned.

 

  1. Tweet Consistently but map out a scheduled strategy
  • Do not look irrelevant with your last tweet over 10 weeks ago
  • Don’t tweet every 20 minutes because you will clog up your follower’s newsfeeds and ultimately get you “unfollowed.”
  • The current best practice is 3 tweets per day spaced out with a few hours between each. This reminds your followers who you are but does not dominate their feeds.
  • Keep up with Twitter Etiquette and best practices – there are hundreds of articles on this

 

  1. Spread your Twitter URL
  • Include your Twitter URL on your LinkedIn, Facebook, press releases, business cards, email signatures, and website.

 

This is a pretty watered-down version of my notes but hope it helps as a starting place and eliminates a few hours of sifting on your end.  My biggest takeaway was that I have not been doing this by the latest and greatest best practices and I will not be able to follow all of them but I am excited to set out on a new project with a focused strategy.  And yes, I will probably be on my couch, during the late night news, when I am working on our follower strategy because that is just the way we all work these days but think of me caring that much when you see me following you!

 

Be sure to follow @FiberOpticCntr

 

Additional resources from the FOC team include:

 

 

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Kathleen Skelton

About Kathleen Skelton

Kathleen Skelton, as FOC's Director of Strategic Marketing, utilizes her expertise in business development, online strategy, market planning, digital best practices, standard operating procedure development, and content management. A graduate of Curry College, she holds degrees in Communications and Education, English and Psychology. Kathleen resides outside of Boston, MA with her husband and four children. Follow @KATHLEENSKELTON