Twitter for Beginners Part 3: Finding Your Voice, Curating, Chatting & Analytics
Welcome back to the third installment of my Twitter for Beginners Series!So far we've learned:
- Some basic Twitter terminology
- How to set up your profile
- Finding and gaining followers
- Tweeting, replying and starting conversations
- What to do if someone is harassing you (muting & blocking)
- Making the most of Twitter's Tailored Trends feature
This final chapter will go more in-depth about how you can build your brand on Twitter, how to find and share great content, defining your tweeting 'style', and building a kickass network of people and brands that care about you.
So without further ado, let's get started!
Develop Your Voice
Whether you're tweeting from a business account or just trying to grow your own reputation online, what you say and how you say it will play a defining role in your success. Because social media can seem very simple to do, many people start blindly and try to develop their voice as they go.
While this is certainly okay, it's much more prudent (and time-saving) to sit down and ask yourself some basic questions about who you are, and how you can best convey that information online.
Some questions to ask are:
- Who are you?
- What are your goals?
- How do your Tweets support and further the above statements?
My answers would look like this:
- Alyson Shane, kickass content marketer & copywriter
- To grow my audience, work with great clients, and have a positive impact
- By sharing interesting content, engaging with my community and putting a heavy focus on local events and causes
If you're a small business owner yours might look like this:
- Babe McBaberson, DIY wizard and crocheter of charming baby clothes
- To drive traffic to my new website and generate sales
- By connecting with influencers, bloggers and other DIY-ers like myself to build a strong public profile
You get the point. The key to developing a strong voice online is to know who you are, what your goals are, and how your tweets help you further those goals. Your tweets and the content you share are a reflection of who you are, so always be mindful of what you say.
It's okay if you don't know this stuff right away. It might take a few days, weeks, or even months before you really have a solid idea of how your tweets can be the best that they can be, but the trick in the interim is to keep tweeting. Don't be paralyzed by indecision! When in doubt, be conversational, kind, polite, and share your work.
Curate Your Content (and Find Interesting Stuff)
Churning out interesting, funny, retweet-able content on a regular basis might seem like a breeze, but if you're just starting out it can seem like an insurmountable mountain of websites and jpegs.
Of course, sharing your own work and website content is important, but the trick is to pepper it in-between tweet replies, retweets, and sharing articles and images that help your followers get a sense of who you are. The aggregate of the content you tweet out is how people will start to develop an understanding of who you are, and that's what will make them care about you (and your product or business).
Here are some tips to get you started:
Twitter has a great 'List' feature, which allows you to separate people that you follow into public or private lists that you can quickly scan for new content. The difference between a private and public list is, of course, than other people can see your public lists, but Twitter will also notify users when you add them to a list, as well.
By organizing people that you follow into relevant groups (eg: affiliate organizations, local businesses, influencers, etc) you can scan huge swaths of people that you follow quickly and easily, and reduces the likelihood that you'll miss an important tweet from someone you care about.
The downside to lists is that it can be a slow, manual process (believe me, I've curated lists for myself and various clients more times than I can count) but the time that your future self will save is 100% worth the effort.
Use a Curation Tool
Many people choose to use a content curation tool, which allows them to collect a variety of different content (blog posts, videos, images, etc) and publish it in a single place at once. This can accomplish a few different goals: it can tell "stories" which are centred around a particular theme, it can work as an aggregate of a variety of different topics in a newspaper-style format.
The upside to using a tool like this is that you can organize content as you find it and the tools will provide up-to-date versions for your audience to access. You can also use these tools to publish daily "newspapers" of content, such as with Paper.li, which will @mention people whose content you've included in your collection.
There are a few different flavours of content curation tool, but here are a few popular ones:
Paper.li: You may have noticed that some of your Twitter followers will have tweets that read like: "The So-and-So Daily is Out!" - this is a tweet created using Paper.li. This tool allows you to create daily or weekly "newspapers" with content from Twitter users, you and the people you follow, or certain hashtags. Paper.li publications aren't permanent, however.
Storify: This platform features live story updates from content sources selected by you using a drag-and-drop editor. The single-editor experience works okay, but when you purchase their enterprise plan (surprise, surprise) the multi-editor experience becomes a lot more useful. You can add your website as a custom 'source' which includes your site's content in your Story.
Upcoming: Twitter recently introduced a 'Curator', a single platform for live engagement, real-time trends and displaying Tweets which isn't open to public use, yet. I'll be covering it in an upcoming post once it's available publicly and I've played around with it a bit!
Lean on Curation Sites:
This is one of the best tricks I've picked up since I started taking content marketing seriously. It can be extremely time-consuming to troll around various websites looking for content that's relevant to you or your brand, and checking these sites a few times a day can save tons of time and effort.
Here's a list of a few that I like:
- Reddit (You can curate customized subreddits specific to different topics)
While these might not be perfect for you (some are obviously a bit more tech-related than others) ones like PopURLs, Reddit and AllTop have a wide variety of topics and flavours to suit whatever you're looking for. Using these sites to quickly and easily find fresh content to share is such a huge time-saver!
Make the Most of Twitter Chats
Like the name implies, a Twitter chat is a large, group conversation hosted on Twitter. There are thousands (at least) of Twitter chats which range across a wide variety of trends, topics, and ideas and are organized by hashtags, which we talked about in the first post in this series.
Moderators who organize the chats generally ask questions to the people participating, who then reply and respond to each other, but there are less formal versions of Twitter Chats which can simply be organized around a central theme or topic.
In order to actively participate in the chat you must include the chat-specific hashtag in the body of your tweet. This allows other users who are participating and searching that hashtag to see your replies, and to respond if they want.
Here's an example of a question/reply from a Twitter Chat I participated in a while back:
Twitter Chats allow you to access vast networks of other people in your industry, or who are interested in the type of work that you do. It's a super easy easy to find out what other people are thinking and feeling about different topics, to gain insight into issues relevant to what you do, and simply to find new people to follow.
You can find chats relevant to your interests by using tools like Tweetreports, TweetChat or simply following industry leaders who host them, or ask others that you know what chats they like to participate in.
Customize Using Third-Party Tools
One of the great things about Twitter is that it's been around long enough that there are a lot of different options, both on desktop and mobile, to help you manage your content. However, there are a lot of options for different operating systems, so here's a list of a few of the popular ones out there:
Twitter App: Standard, regular 'ol Twitter, available across all platforms. This is great if you're just getting started and don't need a lot of customizable features. It has account switching, so if you're managing more than one account you won't feel left out.
However, you're also at the mercy of promoted tweets, changes to the chronological listing of tweets, pictures appearing in-stream by default, and a multitude of other things that can get annoying if you're spending a lot of time on the platform. However, as I said, it's great to just get your feet wet.
Here's what's available on each platform:
On Windows: MetroTwit.
On Blackberry: Übersocial.
I also use a web-based program called Hootsuite, which helps me organize and schedule tweets in advance. This tool (or a similar competitor, Buffer) allows you to organize what you want to see into columns and to schedule tweets, which is really helpful if you know you have content that needs to be promoted in the future, or if you've got a lot of content that you want to distribute over an extended period of time.
Pay Attention to Your Analytics
So now you've found your voice, your community, and you're tweeting, sharing, and participating in chats on a regular basis. Great! But it doesn't mean anything if you don't understand how to leverage what you're saying.
Analytics can help you determine a variety of things, including:
- How many times you tweeted in the past 28 days
- Total tweet impressions, and impressions per tweet
- If interaction with your followers has changed
- What types of content gain the most interaction
- When your followers interacted with your content
- Who your top followers are
- What your followers are interested in
The tweets dashboard is your hub for understanding how your outgoing tweets are doing. You can quickly see your most popular tweets, how many people they reached, and the level of interaction each tweet received. You can also see your daily tweet activity as well as how many follows or unfollows you had in a single day.
By paying attention to the days which showed the best performance you can which tactics to apply to your tweet schedule, and which days are the most effective. You can also compare previous months to see how your tweets do over time, determine the best types of content to share, and so much more.
Twitter analytics might seem overwhelming at first, but it's your best tool for understanding how and when to connect on Twitter.
In the span of three blog posts we've learned how to understand Twitter, how to get started, and how to use this powerful social network to grow your online profile and attract attention and interest to you and your business.
Make sure to follow me on Twitter so we can stay connected, and if there's something else that you'd like me to cover, or a burning question that you'd like answered, drop me a line! I'm planning tons of content like this series and if I can cater it to what you need, even better!