On the surface, Twitter is easy: Tell something you’d like the world to know in 140 characters or less. Yet, it’s not quite that simple. You can tweet your little heart out, but that doesn’t mean anyone is listening. Here’s my approach to building an audience on Twitter. Consider this food for thought as you figure out the best path for you.
1. Tweet regularly
If you have long patches of silence, followers are going to wonder why they’re bothering with you. I unfollow someone if they haven’t tweeted in a month. So give them a reason to keep you on their radar. I usually tweet five to eight times a day. If that’s unrealistic for you, attempt to tweet at least weekly.
2. But don’t overtweet
People tune in to Twitter to hear what a variety of voices say. If they feel yours drowns out everyone else’s, they may tune out. For example, if you have six tweets to send in one day, spread them out so they don’t appear as one big lump in someone’s feed. Use a url shortener with a timer or a third-party platform and schedule those tweets at intervals, perhaps every 30 minutes or every hour during the workday.
3. Tweet about others more than yourself
I’ve heard that for every tweet about yourself, you should post 12 tweets about others. This sounds like a recommendation for social media experts who spend a good chunk of their day on Twitter. Most of us don’t have the time for that. I aim for a 70/30 split favoring others, so I can help others without ignoring why I’m on Twitter in the first place (to promote my business). Keep in mind that social media is about being social and spreading the love. Nobody wants to listen to you talk solely about yourself. And people will be more likely to retweet you if you retweet them.
4. Participate in Follow Friday and other Twitter memes
Memes are an easy way to put others before yourself. Much of the Twitosphere participates in Follow Friday. All you have to do is say something to the effect of: Happy #followfriday to: (and then list folks you follow that you think send out good tweets). Of note: Many use #FF instead of #followfriday. There are also memes specific to certain professions such as #writerwednesday or #teachertuesday. Figure out if there’s a day for your profession and spread the love by calling out some professionals in your field on the designated day.
5. Have good taste
Don’t retweet just anything willy-nilly. Aim at becoming a trusted source of information in your field. Only retweet information that others will find helpful. If you retweet useless or silly information, people will be less likely to click on the info about your business. Tweeters often love contests, so definitely retweet those.
6. Tweet the same information again, but word it differently
People check Twitter at different times of the day, so feel free to schedule the same information at intervals throughout the day. However, word it differently so your stream doesn’t look repetitious. For a blog post, I usually tweet it at least twice, maybe four times, if I think it’s especially noteworthy. I have heard social media experts say that if people are not interested in it the first time, why would they a second time? But casual users will likely look at their feed for the latest tweet and not scroll down to see what they missed. So if they log on in the afternoon and you tweeted that topic in the morning, they probably won’t see it. Give your information a chance to be found without being obnoxious. If you’re running a promotion or giveaway, feel free to tweet that way more than usual. It’s expected.
7. Be prepared to handle complaints over Twitter
Twitter is seen as a legitimate means of making complaints, so don’t be surprised if it happens. Reply via Twitter that you’re looking into the issue. That way, you don’t appear to the world as if you’re blowing the person off. If you need to, switch to direct message or email to handle the issue.
8. Thank people who retweet you
And thank people for Follow Friday shout-outs while you’re at it. It’s a quick and easy way to spread the love. And it lets your followers know: Hey, I’m listening, and I’m appreciative.