Clients are often eager to use social media. But, being successful on a social media platform is more than just creating a presence and updating content. It's about actively engaging your audience. What many don't realize is that there's a method to the social media madness - and those who have mastered it have become very successful at attracting, engaging, and retaining their audiences as loyal followers of their brand.
Here, I'll share some of my tips and tricks on how to actively engage your audiences through Twitter:
Tweet like a Celebrity
So, maybe not everything a celebrity says on Twitter is useful, or even interesting, but celebrities do have one thing right. They tweet often.
Tweeting often and with regularity signals to your followers that you are dedicated and engaged. It also signals transparency and openness.
Understand your Audience
Before you engage in a Twitter strategy, do some research on your audience. Who are the primary users of your website and/or brand? Are they on social networks? What is the online activity of the age group of your target demographic? What networks do they use the most? If your target audience isn't active on Twitter, maybe its not worth spending time and resources engaging on the platform. These can also be important questions to ask a client who is eager to engage on Twitter.
Engage in the Community
Not only do you have to tweet often and regularly, but you must also actively engage in the community to build trust among community members. On Twitter, this means increasing your visibility by:
- Following people who follow you
- Responding to direct messages promptly
- Following others that are in the same industry/profession/field
- Tweeting "at" others Using hashtags to engage in conversation.
- Check to see what topics are trending on Twitter by going to search.twitter.com and join in the conversation.
Offer Bonus Material
The content of your twitter feed shouldn't simply mimic your website's homepage - it should either supplement the material or be exclusive content to your Twitter feed. You can use Twitter to tease a reader, and then drive traffic back to your website for more in-depth information.
While the tone and language of your website might be professional, remember that your Twitter posts should be conversational.
Keep it Human
A lot of organizations connect their Facebook page and their Twitter page so that every time Facebook is updated, Twitter is updated as well with the same content. While this may seem like an efficient way to manage social media networks, it can actually hurt an organization's reputation. Users know when a machine, and not a human, is updating content. This makes it harder to earn the community's trust.
To be successful on these networks, it is imperative to have a dedicated staffer spending time on updating the networks. It doesn't have to be a full-time job, but someone should be curating content and actively participating in the community.
With Web 2.0 in the spotlight, we've learned a lot about how social media and social networks operate. We've learned what makes them succeed and what makes them fail. We've learned how powerful they can be. For example, social networks were often cited as the primary communication tool used in the unprecedented events that took place throughout the Middle East and North Africa in 2011, with some even attributing Facebook to the toppling of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak.
Using these powerful tools effectively is more important than ever - and it starts with understanding the basics.