Social media has gone through a startling transformation from MySpace teenagers complaining about their parents to multi-national corporations engaging with their customers in a way never thought possible. Social media has become an advertising force to rival television and billboards without any associated cost and for companies to eschew this phenomenon is entirely their loss.
Of particular note to organizations is Twitter, a simplistic messaging system with a 144 character limit. While it may not sound like much the ease of use combined with the incredible reaching power of hash-tags allows companies to communicate with customers who may not even be aware they exist.
Social media can be a difficult vista to navigate for the uninitiated and to that end SORT is happy to present a few tips and tricks to those trying to get a handle of Twitter.
As companies have made the leap to social media it has quickly become apparent that there is a huge potential to reach potential clients that no other medium is capable of achieving, being able to advertise and liaise with peers simultaneously. Your ability to communicate with individuals through social media is commonly referred to as ‘Reach’ and measures how many people will receive a message that your business has sent out. Reach can be a surprisingly complex statistic as it takes into account not only individuals who directly receive your message but also how many will be exposed to it through retweeting. Chains of retweets can potentially reach many times your follower count through sharing functions!
However this article is not designed for firms who have thousands of followers, and if you’re starting out you may be struggling to achieve a double-digit follower count. Thankfully Twitter has a means of artificially inflating your reach, known as hash-tags. These tags can be attached to your tweet at any point, and will allow individuals searching for that specific tag to see your post, for example if you were tweeting about climate change you would probably use the #climatechange hash-tag.
If you are unsure about what hash-tag to use, if you begin typing one into a tweet you will be shown a variety of auto-complete popular tags. Using our previous example, at the time of writing typing #climate shows auto-complete results such as #climatechange, #climate, #climateaction in order of popularity. Another method is to browse a tag you know, such as #environment, and find similar hash-tags mentioned in posts.
Use Hash-tags when Retweeting:
Retweeting is that act of posting someone else’s tweet on your wall (giving them credit of course!) which allows it to be seen by your followers however unlike Facebook sharing, retweeting allows you to add a comment. Adding a comment is a great way to weigh in on issues however what is important is that you can add hash-tags in this comment. By adding hash-tags to retweets you are boosting both your and the original tweeter’s signal.
Retweeting is also a fantastic way to network on Twitter; people love it when you retweet them and you get recognized as being aware of your field, it’s win-win.
Twitter is all about forming connections with people and organizations, however while a twitter account may represent an organization it is run by a person such as you or I. This means that when you like and retweet them (remembering to comment on and tag retweets!) they’ll appreciate it. The more contact you have with someone the more likely they are to follow and retweet you. The follower system in Twitter is fantastic as developing a relationship with other groups allows you to share their followers, which is especially important when starting out.
There have been countless times I have added an innocuous person or organization to Twitter only to find my feed bombarded with an endless stream of retweets at the same time every day. I am sure anyone who has used social media is familiar with this situation.
Being active is great but remember that people want to see things other than you in their feed, so space tweets out don’t dump a days worth of tweets in 15 minutes under the assumption you’ve done a days worth of tweeting. Mass dumping of information is almost certain to go unread, and since tweets are displayed in order of when they were posted individuals checking their feed or hash-tags an hour after you deposit several Stephen King books worth of information on their feed may not see a single tweet of yours.
Take the time to make a post and a retweet or two every hour or two, there is no benefit to accomplishing your daily tweeting in one fell swoop.
Be careful who you follow/retweet:
The internet is no stranger to heated arguments and these are not the sort of exchanges you want to associate your brand with. Always remember that successful companies do not post slap fights for all the world to see.
Even the most innocuous of retweets can lead to unexpected turmoil so try to avoid political discussion altogether. Obviously in some instances this is unavoidable, environmental firms are likely to hold some strong opinions regarding individuals who do not believe climate change exists, but always keep your tone civil and remember, conversations can only be seen if you respond to them.
Finally remember that your opinions are not the opinions of the company you are representing, so avoid subjects outside your purview and don’t go and join the Benito Mussolini Appreciation Society.