So You Opened a Twitter Account… Now What?

Depending on your perspective, social media has become a necessary evil when it comes to recording traction and maintaining a presence within any industry. While there seems to be new social media platforms popping up each day, Twitter has withstood the test of time.

Originally Twitter was used to get news out quickly, through an inverted pyramid style approach. With the initial 140-character limit, sending out a tweet meant sending out the most important information first, followed by supplemental material if necessary. Today, the character count has doubled, directly reflecting the way Twitter has transformed from a news source to a free marketing tool a company can use to engage their audience and solidify their brand.

The first obvious, though necessary, step is to make sure your profile is complete. Whether you are creating a personal profile or a business profile, make sure you upload a high quality photo of yourself or your logo for easy identification. Never use random graphics – the photo that people see will be the photo they associate with your brand. By using images with no clear meaning, your account could be flagged as spam.

Once that is complete, you’ll need to write a punchy biography. Be direct and non-controversial in your writing if your goal is to gain a large following. People are more willing to follow strangers or unknown companies if they have a relatable, understandable bio that aligns with their own interests and perspectives.

While this is all important to gain any presence online, the content of what you are tweeting can make or break you. It is easy to post black and white statements, but do those really cause conversation? If you want your stories picked up, you need to create a dialogue without being offensive. Offer thought-provoking questions related to your industry and interesting external links to further solidify your messaging and keep things fresh. Occasionally posting pictures and videos is eye-catching and will keep things interesting for your followers, as well.

In addition to the content of your Tweet, knowing when to Tweet is equally as important. If you have a global following, you will want to post when most people are active, otherwise your post will get lost in a sea of other content. While there is no perfect way to make sure everyone in every time zone sees your tweet, a good rule of thumb is to post before people go to work in the morning or after they finish at night (before 10am or after 6pm.) Still, take your own time zone into account. If you are regionally focused, this step is not as important.

So we’ve got the content down, now we need more followers. The easiest way to get followers is by following everyone who follows your account. This reduces the likelihood of people unfollowing you. Perhaps take the time to publicly tweet to a new follower. This individual or business could in turn retweet your post, further promoting your profile. You could even go a step further and ask people to retweet your posts. For example, “Retweet this post if you live in the USA!” is a way to engage your followers and learn more about their demographic, while gaining extra exposure.

Additionally, there is a handy tool on the side of your Twitter feed that reads “Who to Follow.” This tool makes suggestions about who to follow based on mutual connections and interests. Find someone who is similar to you, follow them, then take a look at their followers. This is a good indication of accounts that would be willing to follow you back.

Lastly, use hashtags on every post. You can see what is trending on the side of your Twitter feed. By using these hashtags where possible, your tweet will be seen organically by more people. However, be sure to not #hashtag #every #single #word, as that makes the post difficult to read, making it more unlikely for a retweet.

Ultimately, Twitter is a game of give and take – you follow to get followers, and retweet in hope that it will be reciprocated. Still, you need to focus on the content of your posts, how often you are tweeting and when. By keeping tabs on all of this you are sure to up your Twitter game, and learn some fun new information in the process.

Emma James is a PR Associate at Eclipse Media Group where she provides a well rounded approach to client content, balancing quality content while preserving client voice.