I recently had the chance to work with the City of Eugene and to analyze its social media practices on Twitter and Facebook. We used tools such as Edelman’s TweetLevel and observational analysis to determine what the City of Eugene was doing correctly, and where it could improve. We then drafted a report and had the opportunity to present it to the City of Eugene last week. The theme of our presentation – which occurred in front of more than a dozen representatives – was how to most effectively use social media, especially Twitter. Here is my three step guide to getting the most out of your company’s Twitter account.
1. Stick to the 140-character limit.
Twitter is an app built for people on the go. Its 140 character limit allows users to get the important information they need in a relatively short period. Twitter allows you to share directly from Facebook. Though it is tempting, do not do this. As an effective user of social media, it is your job to tailor your tweets down to the 140-character limit. Direct post shares are not meant to be seen on Twitter as the character count is not an issue on Facebook. When editing your tweets be sure to include all the information that you want to have in your tweet before you drop a link to the full story. Think of the tweet as a headline that is meant to whet the appetite of your company’s followers, not as a place to put unnecessary information.
2. Interact with your followers.
This can be as simple as favoriting a tweet that your company was mentioned in. Showing your followers that you are engaging with what they are saying goes a long way in improving your presence on Twitter. Using your company’s Twitter feed as a forum and not as a one-way flow of information is a quick way to prove the usefulness of your account in your followers’ timelines. Go the extra mile by joining conversations with people who are already talking about what you want to talk about. If your company works in sports, search Twitter and find people who are already talking about the latest game. If your company is putting on an event at a fun destination in town, search the name of the location and invite people who have recently talked about it. Going out of your way can prove valuable in increasing your company’s presence online.
3. Streamline the conversation.
As mentioned, joining conversations is a great way to increase your company’s Twitter presence. To make it easier to join the conversation, use a hashtag to organize your content. Choose a hashtag that is important to your company and important to your target audience. You will be able to search your hashtag and find users that are posting similar content to you. Join their conversations and watch the Twitter magic happen. Your tweets will now be easy to track and your online interaction will strengthen your company’s online reputation.
These steps are not going to grow your follower numbers instantly, but they are going to put you on the path to successful online interaction. Remember to stay active on social media, and don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work out right away. Persistence is key. Update your profile frequently – four times a week if possible – and make sure to always have your company’s best interest in mind.