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What is your Twitter strategy?

I'm curious about what strategies people are using to manage their startup Twitter account? I never have enough time or focus to do a good job on it, and it seems like the type of thing that you need to be actively involved in to be successful.

Do you manage it yourself, outsource it to a firm, or some other strategy? What tools are effective in increasing followers, clicks, etc? What doesn't work? Can you point to any meaningful outcome that has happened via your Twitter strategy?

6 Replies

Paul O'Brien
4
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Paul O'Brien Entrepreneur • Advisor
Tech Economic Development and VC CMO
Never outsource, social media is not a marketing channel, it's part of your culture. Either you embrace and do it, or you don't. And don't, is fine, it's not a requirement to being successful, but yes, you have to embrace it if you want it to work for you. Think of it this way, you have either a networking personality (you meet people, you socialize, you are comfortable in unfamiliar settings), or you don't - you can't hire someone to be that for you. Twitter, and all social media, is like that, it's not a good or bad characteristic to have, it just is; you either are that (and your business/brand is that), or your aren't.

Why do I say that? It SUCKS at acquiring customers, directly. I can assure you with 99.999% certainty that if you expect to get customers by tweeting out links with witty, insightful, or relevant comments, you will be disappointed.

Twitter does a few things well:
  • It establishes social validation of you and your business
  • It Alerts potential partners, investors, writers, bloggers, and influencers to you and your business
  • Intelligence about your audience, trends, opportunities, etc.
  1. The audience on twitter SUGGESTS you have a popular or validated businesses. Important to note that it suggests that. I've done studies that show that from 1-500 followers, no one cares. Once you exceed 500 though, if displayed on your homepage (for example), you conversion rate goes up. People are led to believe that you matter. You can further that by actually being validated there... rather than just having followers, tweet things (don't just retweet others)related to your industry and build an audience specific to what you're doing.
  2. The @ convention is very important to understand. It alerts people. It notifies THEM that you've mentioned them. People like to be mentioned. Mentioning others means they will pay attention to you. Consider how you might do that with regard to people that matter.
  3. With social intelligence tools in place like Dachis Group's platform or Fliptop,your twitter network is a veritable gold mine of leads, data, and opportunity.
BUT (there's always a but). NONE of that works (well) if you're just tweeting from Hootsuite or paying someone to do it for you. It has to be part of the DNA of your business.

Of course, take my first point with a grain of salt. You can fake it. You can hire someone. You can be there, but not fully leverage it. But, frankly, it isn't worth doing if you don't take full advantage of it.

Tools?
  • Hootsuite - Easily manage twitter when you learn how to leverage the search, scheduling, and team features
  • Dachis Group - intelligence about your brand, trends, influence, etc.
  • Fliptop - WHO is in your network
  • SocialBro - one I didn't mention: intelligence about the people in your network
Paul O'Brien
0
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Paul O'Brien Entrepreneur • Advisor
Tech Economic Development and VC CMO
Shoot, one other things, I can't figure out how to edit my answer...
Social media affects how you rank in search. It's SEO. There is no such thing as a social media agency (consultant), that can effectively manage twitter in the ways I outlined initially while ALSO knowing all of your analytics, content, and search strategies to effectively leverage social media for search. (that's like expecting a PR agency to effectively manage your search, content, and social media strategies too - which you should expect). Hopefully, painting a picture of why you really need this to be part of your standard operating practice.
Reem K. Yared
1
0
Reem K. Yared Entrepreneur
CEO at Help Around Town, inc.
Paul's advice is excellent: social media is your public persona. Make sure it portrays the image you want it to.
I also need to check out some of the tools he recommends.

As a general philosophy, my approach to all of social media is: post only if you have something interesting or useful to say. There's a lot of pressure to post on a regular schedule and general wisdom is to tweet x times per day, blog only if you can sustain the frequency etc.
I think you get more followers if you only produce content when you have something meaningful to say, rather than produce to a schedule. People are already swamped by too much content. Generating noise just because you're supposed to, brings no added value and costs you time.

In terms of getting followers on Twitter, what I've noticed works best is brand association. If someone with a huge following mentions you or follows you or you are somehow associated in a tweet, then all these other people will start following you, too.

For my business the challenge is the different types of content I produce. Still figuring out at which point to break out the different threads into separate accounts.

Twitter is good for broadcasting info that will be searched by keyword &/or that is perishable. It is good for 'this is happening here, now' type info or for starting or joining a conversation about a specific topic with people who are not necessarily already in your core audience. (Unless, of course, you're a star with groupies desperate to know what you had for breakfast.Then, you can tweet anything.)

I've discovered some interesting people, products & services based on Twitter follows. Either they started following me or someone I follow tweeted about them and got me interested. It's a good way to keep abreast of the complementary and competitive landscape.
Gaurav Sharma
0
0
Gaurav Sharma Entrepreneur • Advisor
Startupper
@Paul - These are some great tools. Do you know of any tools that help in content generation? For example provide you trending topics or suggest content that you can use in your messages that is industry specific or resonates with your brand instead of spending hours trying to find/generate content?
Clynton Caines
0
0
Clynton Caines Entrepreneur
SharePoint Developer at Discover Technologies
@Gaurav, you can always watch and participate inTwitter'strending topics. At this moment you might tweet about your free ticket give-away to 'Vegas' for example...https://twitter.com/search?q=Vegas&src=tren. I can't say if it works or not. It depends on whether or not your target audience isreading/participating in the trending topic, theaction you want them to perform, and whether or not your tweet is relevant enough for them to click-through.

In case someone is really set on outsourcing, here's one site (among many) to consider: http://socialsonar.com (no compensation :-( but I know the owner - good people). Like PR firms, sometimes you just need them - and who am I to judge?
Fahd Bangash
0
0
Fahd Bangash Entrepreneur
Product Leader
We use SocialSonar: socialsonar.com Cheers
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