Social media marketing managers sometimes find themselves in a position when they need to create a brand's Twitter account or a company representative's account (e.g., the company's CMO) from scratch.
What's the best way to go about it, and how does one do it correctly right from the start? There are many articles on the Web that talk about the best ways to engage with your Twitter followers, etc.
Nevertheless, we decided to do a comprehensive, step-by-step post that covers some not-so-obvious points the SMM manager should pay attention to in order to set a fresh Twitter account on its route to success from day 1!
1. Choosing a Twitter handle
First off, to register a new Twitter account, use an email address that you check on a regular basis. Why is this important? According to twitterquette, it's common practice to react to follows, mentions and direct messages in a timely manner. You'd hate to miss the moment Seth Godin tweets at you, wouldn't you?
And, the first thing you need to do when creating a new Twitter account is to decide on your Twitter handle. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Make it as short as reasonably possible
For example, check out the Twitter handle of Vahe Habeshian of MarketingProfs:
- The handle should be easy to spell
Twitter handles are often used in public profiles, on business cards, and where not. Ideally, it should be easy to spell, easy to copy and easy to remember. If it is not, people may stumble on it, and you probably wouldn't want that to happen. For instance, here is a Twitter handle that's quite challenging to spell:
- Include your brand name
If it's a corporate account, try to include either your brand name or the name of your product, or both into the Twitter handle.
- Include your first and last name
If it's your personal account, it makes perfect sense to use your first and your last name as your handle. But this should be done if (1) the name is available, and (2) it's fairly easy to spell.
- Get a keyword-rich handle
Some brands have keywords in their brand names, in which case it's easy for them to use those keywords in their Twitter handles. Other than that, use keywords in handles with care - you don't wish to look like the spammy guy, do you?
Plus, certain keywords may attract the unwanted attention of the MassFollowBack mob.
- Do not piggy-back on another handle
Sometimes, the name of your corporate or personal brand is already taken, which means it's not a good idea to simply add 123 to an already registered name. First, the extra characters in your handle will be a bummer. Second, this could make you look like you're too late to the Twitter game. Meh.
2. Adding Twitter profile info
Once you have created a Twitter account, fill out as much information about yourself as possible. This is good to do for 2 reasons: first, this will increase the chances of your account being found in search for certain keywords (including brand-related search terms); second, this will produce a favorable first impression on your visitors.
- Include brand positioning
Whether it is your brand's account or your personal account with which you will be tweeting for business, remember to tell your followers what it is that you do for a living.
- Make use of hashtags
Do you know some popular hashtags that could be used to describe what you do? You can always add a couple of those to your account description, without going over the board with them. This will increase the likelihood of your account being found by just the right people. However, remember that your profile is not a status update - it's better not to use more than 3 hashtags, or else your profile may appear spammy:
- Say what you will be tweeting about
It's also a good idea to let potential followers know what you will be tweeting about. Thing is, there are Internet marketing professionals who tweet about Internet marketing, and there are those who tweet politics, dog food, weather, and what not. Even though some eccentricity may attract a particular type of followers, it's still good to let people know what you are (you are not) planning to tweet about:
- Add some personal touch
Even if it's the Twitter profile which you will be using for B2B communication, add a few words that describe you as a person, not just as a business person.
3. Tweaking your profile settings
- Remember, you are not an egg
If one has an egg (Twitter's default avatar) set as their profile picture, this is the surest tell-tale sign of the account being fake/spammy/set up by a bot. So, adding at least some kind of picture to your account is a must.
If it is your brand's account, using your logo as a profile picture works great in most cases.
If it's a personal profile, upload a HQ image of you . Plus, it is best to keep your personal image consistent across all social networks, so that you can be easily recognized elsewhere.
For instance, Kristi Hines of Kikolani is always easy to recognize by her signature headshot:
- Brand your Twitter cover and background
Many tweeps (Twitter people) utilize their Twitter covers and backgrounds for branding purposes. In general, it's wise to treat your Twitter page as a landing page, where each pixel of its real estate should be meaningful.
And, if you are looking for nice Twitter covers/backgrounds, TwitCovers offers quite an extensive selection of these, any of which can be conveniently added to your profile in just a click.
- Add links to your Web properties
Most likely you are not planning to make sales right off of Twitter. Hence, as Twitter is essentially a lead generation resource, remember to include a link or two to your money website, you LinkedIn profile, or any other online page you'd like your followers to visit.
- Specify your location
This normally serves as a great trust builder, plus some people may follow you just because you are near to where they are. However, sometimes it's better to leave this field empty if, say, you have a global business and you don't want people from other parts of the world to feel left out.
4. Giving your profile a jump-start
- Ask your aunt and their cat to follow you
A Twitter account with zero followers does not produce a great impression. So, before you do anything to promote your brand-new account, ask as many people as you can to follow it. Just let your friends, colleagues, family members or old-time clients know that you now have this new Twitter account and ask them to follow you.
Besides, try to keep the following/follower ratio more or less balanced. If you're following way more people than your follower count, this will show that you are more of a follower, than the leader, and that you may not be worth following. At the same time, if you don't follow anyone back, this could make you look distant, arrogant and unsociable. Well, unless you are Seth Godin, of course:
- Create your first batch of tweets
Before you take your Twitter global, create your first hundred tweets. These will demonstrate potential followers what you normally tweet about, what they should expect from you, etc. After that, continue to run your account in a similar manner.
- Do not just tweet stuff - pitch it
This is something not-so-savvy Twitter users often forget. Thing is, it looks boring when you just tweet links to pieces of content. So, don't merely tweet things - accompany links with your personal comments. Be engaging. Questions and provocative comments are great conversation starters. Plus, the author of the post might stop by and reply to your tweet if it sparks interest.
5. Find your social management tool
Once you start tweeting, you will soon find it hard to keep tweeting at the same pace all the time. The main challenges include tweeting at peak times (week-ends and late hours) and remembering to tweet a great post several times with different pitches (which doesn't mean tweeting it 15 times in a row, which may annoy careful readers of your feed).
This is when SMM tools come handy. Social marketing software like BuzzBundle not only lets you schedule as many tweets as required at the required time, but also lets you do retweets, send direct messages, reply to others and keep track of your tweets right from the SMM tool, which helps you maximize the effectiveness of your Twitter efforts and save yourself a great deal of time:
6. Think like the follower
Being able to think like your follower is key to a successful Twitter campaign.
- Be grateful
It's common courtesy to thank users who share your posts on Twitter and retweet your tweets.
Whether you'd like to thank them for following you is another story, since sometimes you get followed by bots, suspicious-looking accounts, etc. So, it depends, but it's often a good idea as well.
- See your profile through their eyes
Whenever you follow someone on Twitter, you can expect them to check out your profile in the return. So, before you click the Follow button, give your profile a quick objective look, and think whether you would follow it if you were in the other person's shoes.
Thing is, your Twitter feed does not stay the same, it changes pretty often. At the same time, what a new follower often sees is the so-called "first screen" - a preview of your profile with your latest tweets that appears when one clicks on your handle. Does your first screen look appealing ? Perhaps it could use a compelling tweet or two? If you're happy with what you see, go ahead and follow that person.
- Get to know your followers' peak times
There's been a lot of research regarding the best time to tweet to one's followers. However, what is true for most of the Twitter-sphere, may not be true of your followers in particular. For instance, some research indicates that people in the US are most active on Twitter around 5 pm. But what if your followers come from Spain or Japan? Peak activity times could be different in those countries, and not only because of the time zone: working hours, people's habits and other things could be different there. So, do your own experiments and adjust the timing of your tweets to your followers in particular.
7. Make use of lists
Many people have no idea how to use Twitter lists or are unaware of their purpose altogether. However, if you're planning to make the most of the new Twitter account, Twitter lists are something well worth looking into.
When is the best time to start using lists? The answer is - as soon as you start using the new Twitter account. It's best to start creating them early on, or else it may be a daunting task to try to segment your 16,000 followers afterwards.
Twitter lists come particularly handy if you run a corporate Twitter account. Then your lists let you social-listen to tweets from a particular group of people only, easily get in touch with the right segment of users and simply know who is who among your Twitter contacts in general.
Now, Twitter lists can be private or public. When do you use which? You'd want to create a private list of contacts if you don't want others to know you added them to that list and/or if you need that list for your own needs.
And, you'd want to create a public Twitter list if you'd like others to feel flattered (for example, that you added them to a list titled "The People I Look Up To In My Industry"), or if you'd like others to follow your carefully formed list and get a bit of a promotion for your account this way.
For instance, here are just some of the lists in Ann Smarty’s Twitter account:
So, basically, these are the things that are good to know beforehand when you start a new Twitter account from scratch. Have a question or a suggestion? Do let us know in comments!
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