Essentially, Twitter is your opportunity to skip the middle man, the first date, the introduction and the first dance. It’s understood in Twitter culture that one person can reach out to another without a proper introduction and just talk. Novel concept but true.
However, before you talk, make sure you understand the difference between conversation and spam. If you are unsure you are probably spamming.
While there’s no middle man for your Twitter relationships, it also means that there’s no one to make a graceful introduction. No friendly face to explain that you are socially awkward or new to social media. You’re live all the time — no deleting or ducking.
Requirements to Tweet as a Brand
- You have to love people and love talking to them. 24/7. If this isn’t you, move along to another social network.
- Keep up with the times. Know what’s trending and what’s yesterday’s #fail.
- Know who you are talking to.
- Just because someone uses one of your identified keywords doesn’t mean they want to hear about your latest product.
- Ask questions. Care about the answers.
- Dinner party rules apply. Politics, religion and other hot topics should be avoided unless you want the drama.
- If you have doubts about whether a Tweet is appropriate, immediately delete and walk away from the keyboard.
- Invest in relationships. Targeting influencers is important, but Twitter is very relationship-based. No mass Tweets allowed.
You’re the Boss. Now What?
CEOs have a different perspective on cost benefit analysis and tweeting. How much time should you spend? How much do you have to know? Can’t someone just take care of it?
In short, you need to know enough to evaluate proposals and efforts on the company’s behalf. If you’re not going to be the principal person doing the tweeting, that’s fine, but you need to know if you’re getting a good deal. And, you can’t be a complete idiot about the topic. Start with this list of CEOs to follow on Twitter and expand to other CEOs in your industry.
We recommend that every CEO have a Twitter account and know how to use it — at the very least for crisis management. It’s not necessary to be @Zappos, and if you are ultimately uncomfortable with the platform it’s wise to take a pass, but a basic Twitter strategy and community can be invaluable when you need it.
How to Tell if Your Tweets Are Paying Off
Twitter can seem disjointed and random when you are just getting started. How can you tell whether your frustration and time is paying off? And, even if tweeting is the last thing on your mind, how do you tell what people are saying about you on Twitter?
There are many Twitter tools that make this easier, but to start, try these:
- HootSuite – Schedule Tweets and create follower lists. Most find it more user-friendly than the Twitter interface. Resist the urge to use a management software platform until you are very comfortable with the Twitter interface. And don’t schedule Tweets until you are VERY comfortable — it can come back to haunt you.
- Tweriod – Helps determine the optimal times to tweet based on your followers.
- Hashtagify.me – Research hashtags for popularity and relevancy.
- followerwonk – Find influencers for your topic/keyword and compare users who are following you to other influencers in those keywords.
- Twitonomy - Compile contact lists and access analytics.
- Social Mention — Analytics and keyword use as well as influencer identification.
- TweetReach – Ever wonder how many people read any particular Tweet? Now you can find out. You can also spy on the competition or find people who are influencers in your area of expertise. We find their metrics to be solid and the reports are easy to decipher.
- Retweetrank – Who is retweeting you? How do your Tweets compare to others?
- Favstar.fm — Who has favorited your Tweets? Who favorited another Twitter user’s tweets?
- WhoRetweetedMe – Exactly what it says, find out who retweeted you with analytics and influencer status included.
- Commun.it — Very comprehensive Twitter community management.
- BackTweets – Wondering how many times one of your articles has been Tweeted? Use BackTweets to search for links on Twitter — it doesn’t matter if they are shortened or not, you’ll see both in the results.
How to Search Twitter
Run a few searches for people or brands and you’ll see it’s not Google-easy to search Twitter. Mashable has a good tips and tricks guide to Twitter search, and you can employ some of these tools for more in-depth Twitter searches. If you are a Twitter power user, you’ll need to find a combination of tools for different metric analysis and monitoring goals, and the right tools will depend on your specific needs.