Every year there’s a conference in Austin, Texas called South by South West (SXSW as it’s commonly known). It’s a combination of original music, independent films and emerging technologies. If you want to have a look, here’s the link – www.sxsw.com
The conference attracts all the leading tech brains from the States and Canada (the plane that flew in from Seattle was apparently nicknamed the ‘Nerd Bird’) and this year the focus was very much on social media. And a lot of the applications that were catching the eye concentrated on Twitter. After all:
- Twitter has 370,000 new sign-ups every day
- 175 million registered users
- And there are 95 million tweets daily
And all that in five years and 140 characters…
If you’re running a business, you ignore Twitter at your peril – your competitors are certainly not ignoring it.
So, here, borrowed from Optify – one of the many companies to launch a Twitter app at SXSW – is a six point guide to being successful on Twitter.
1. Establish your goals
Twitter should be as accountable and measurable as any other marketing channel. First of all establish what you want to use Twitter for and as always, make sure that your goals are SMART – the most important one this time is probably ‘attainable.’ There’s no point using Twitter as a customer service centre if you don’t have the resources to get back to people quickly.
2. Decide how often you’re going to ‘tweet’
Remember that Twitter is a conversation. Don’t batter people with tweet after tweet telling them how wonderful you are. But equally, don’t be silent. You don’t have a conversation with someone by saying nothing for days and then suddenly not letting anyone else get a word in edgeways. There is one alarming stat that says the optimum number of tweets per day is 24. For most TAB members – unless they pay someone to tweet for them – that’s simply impossible. But do tweet regularly & try and tweet something of value to your audience.
3. Organise what you’re going to tweet about
If you’re launching a new product or opening a new office, that’s fine – they’re perfectly logical subjects to tweet about. ‘Here’s a pic of me getting drunk’ isn’t. If you want to build up a select group of followers that you can really engage with, then tweeting information that’s useful to them is absolutely the way to do it. Don’t be afraid to re-tweet either: if someone sends you something useful, fine – pass it on to your followers.
4. Decide how you’re going to attract followers
Unless your name’s Billy No Mates, then you need followers – and there are two distinct approaches. One is to simply go for as many followers as you can; the other is to aim for a smaller, more select group that you can actually ‘talk’ to. I tend towards the latter, but different approaches will work for different companies. If you’re Ford and you’re launching a new car, then a select group of 200 followers might not be the right answer…
5. Twitter has to work as part of your business
Simple question – who’s going to do the tweeting? If it’s you, when are you going to do it? Try setting aside a small amount of time each day. And don’t forget staff resources. It’s exactly the same as a mailshot or an ad – there’s no point being deluged with enquiries if you can’t handle the enquiries when they come in
6. Measurement Tools
Success with Twitter is about much more than simply counting the number of followers you have – it’s about the quality of your conversation, and having that conversation with the right people. The good news is that there are some very sophisticated measurement tools available for Twitter, which are relatively inexpensive. If you’re serious about a Twitter campaign it will probably pay to subscribe to a reporting service.
If you want to see Optify’s full report then go to their website – www.optify.net – where there’s a lot of other useful information as well. And if you’ve had significant success with Twitter – or if you think it’s a waste of time – let me know. Controversial opinions always welcome…