Written by Brad Shorr
Twitter, with more than 300 million active users, is an excellent platform for startups ready to introduce themselves to the world. Here are tips for building brand awareness and an enthusiastic community of followers.
- Before opening a Twitter account, create relevant, sharable website/blog content. Some of your tweets need to link to website content to give users more information about your business.
- When creating this content, think about your audience segments. For instance …
- People in the Twitter venture capital/startup/entrepreneur community will be interested in your company’s backstory and business plan.
- Customers will be interested in your product/service value proposition.
- Business journalists and bloggers will be interested in your story based on where you’re located (local journalists are often eager to promote new, local business) or what industry you are in.
- Users within your industry will be interested in what is new or disruptive about your business, products or services.
- When setting up your account, include popular, relevant hashtags in your profile, since a lot of users conduct searches based on hashtags. Here’s more information on how to find them.
- Pin a tweet at the top of your “Tweets” stream that links to your website home page. This pinned tweet must include a striking image and text that describes your business using a few target hashtags. The pinned tweet is very important because it is your first impression for any user checking you out.
- Compose and schedule tweets geared for each of the four audience segments noted in #2. There are several good platforms for managing Twitter content. I’ve used Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprout Social and TweetDeck. All of them are good. For each audience segment, your tweets should include their popular hashtags and a strong message aimed specifically at them. In addition to tweets linking to your website content that you have designed for them, also …
- Retweet other influential Twitter users within each audience segment.
- Sprinkle in tweets that do not link to anything; just offer some insight or useful information.
- Schedule tweets at least two weeks out. Anywhere between 5-15 scheduled tweets a day is a reasonable benchmark.
- Start following people in each audience segment. Slow and steady is the way to go here. If 10 people are following you, and you are following 5,000, you will look desperate or spammy. Give people a chance to follow you back. Pro tip: The best people to follow in each segment aren’t necessarily the most popular, and these are the ones Twitter typically recommends. These users probably won’t follow back or ever catch you on their radar. Better targets are users with, say, 5K-10K followers who are following at least a few thousand. These are people with influence and are interested in engaging. Find candidates to follow by …
- Doing Twitter searches for people based on your targeted hashtags.
- Browsing through the followers of people (or companies) you’ve decided to follow.
- Browsing through the people your followers are following.
- Searching hashtags for industry events, hot industry topics and product-/service-related topics.
- Check your stream twice a day or more. Retweet shareworthy content from the people you’re following. Retweeting is a great way to get on their radar. In addition, comment on some of their tweets with thoughtful The people you are following and their other followers often read comments and follow based on what they see.
- Always respond to comments and retweets. Anything you can do to engage in a conversation will help you, not only to build relationships but also to let other people on Twitter know you are interested in engagement, not just self-promotion. Very important for inspiring retweets and attracting new followers.
- Set goals for Twitter after one month of effort. Building brand awareness on Twitter takes time, and results vary a lot depending on scores of variables. Trying to set goals far in advance is like throwing darts, but after a month of solid effort, you’ll have a pretty good idea of where you can be in another 3-6 months. Good measures for Twitter include the number of followers, number of retweets, influence of followers and retweeters, and tweet impressions. Also, take a look at referred website traffic from Twitter, and most important of all, new customers, media attention and other conversion activity resulting from your Twitter presence.
Author Bio: Brad Shorr is Director of Content Strategy for Straight North, an SEO, Chicago agency. He has been an active member of Twitter since 2008.