Twitter: 12 Guidelines to Engage & Build Your Following If You Are Not Lady Gaga

How to Tweet Around the Clock

Unless you’re Lady Gaga, it’s difficult to amass lots of Twitter followers without actively engaging. To build a Twitter following and related reputation, you must provide  information on a regular basis that your target audience finds interesting and useful.

So how do you do this? Here are twelve tips to help you tweet around the clock.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to actively tweet 24/7. Instead you need to find a format and process that works for you. As with other social media formats, you must be present and engage when your target audience is active on Twitter.

  1. Create a deal-of-the-day. While being openly promotional is frowned upon on Twitter and other social media networks, having one special per day that expires after twenty-four hours or when there’s no more product is acceptable. Followers understand that this account is for the one special deal. Target has this type of dedicated account.
  2. Share a Tip-of-the-Day. Like a deal-of-the-day, this approach is a single tweet. It must contain useful information based on your product or offering. Consider ways to make these connections positive. The goal is to connect with your audience and give them a reason to pay attention. Alternatively you could offer a quote of the day or a recipe of the day.
  3. Curate must read information in your category. Instead of continually tweeting all day long, select a small number of must-read columns. Chris Penn does five tweets of top articles. If you use this approach, do it at a consistent time every day so that people know when to expect and look for your tweets. Also consider adding a unique hashtag.
  4. Set a consistent tweet schedule. Like other forms of media, your audience needs to know when you’re going to publish. Sharing tweets on a regular schedule helps build your audience. For most businesses, tweeting throughout the business day works. Major usage times are lunchtime and late afternoon on the east coast. For example, I generally tweet once an hour every day from about 9.00am until about 6.00pm. Remember, you can schedule your tweets using a Twitter client like Hootsuite.
  5. Limit your tweets per hour. You don’t want to dominate your followers’ Twitter stream. Therefore, it’s important to space out your communications over time. The two exceptions are if you’re participating in a Twitter chat or live tweeting (see below.) If you’re doing either of these activities, make sure that you warn your followers or they’re libel to rebel and unfollow you. BTW—Keep your tweets per hour under 100 or you’re likely to find yourself in Twitter jail.
  6. Retweet other people’s content. Twitter like other social media platforms involves supporting colleagues and people you respect. Where appropriate, retweet useful and/or interesting content from people you follow. Don’t just retweet a link because the person is well known or because you want their attention. Check the related information to determine whether it’s useful for your followers. (Here’s an article that makes the case that Twitter isn’t a conversation!)
  7. Respond to people who mention you (Twitter handle). Face it, we all are looking for recognition. Thank people who tweet your content directly or follow them. The same holds for #FF (or #FollowFriday).
  8. Be part of Twitter’s virtual water cooler.  Just as coworkers chitchat, it’s important to exchange pleasantries with people you know on Twitter. While this may seem to be a waste of time, it’s at the core of how people bond. Often regular participants do this at the being of chats. This also holds true for birthdays and other milestones. The #UsGuys have a 24/7 Twitter chat that extends offline. Stop by.
  9. Say cheese. Don’t underestimate the power of images on social media, including Twitter. Pass around your recent photos. J.Krum’s shot of the US Airways plane in the Hudson was a turning point for this type of Twitter sharing.
  10.  Join a Twitter chat. Chats are a great way to meet like-minded individuals. It’s a great way to expand your Twitter connections.
  11. Hit the speaker trail. As an expert in your field or as an author, offer to be a guest on a relevant Twitter chat. A number of authors of social media related books have done virtual tours on different Twitter chats. It’s useful to write a related blog post related to the main questions involved.
  12. Be the on-scene reporter. Live tweet from an event or conference. Make sure that you include the event’s hashtag and the speaker’s Twitter handle. (Note: I use TweetGrid for live tweeting so that I can follow multiple streams at the same time and not worry about typing the hashtag every time.)

Twitter, like other social media venues, requires continual fresh content. The big difference is that it is restricted to bite-sized chunks of 140 characters or less. Like other social media, it needs to be fresh and engaging. To this end, your tweets must sound human and be spaced out over time.

What other suggestions for using Twitter all day long would you recommend?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Tip of my hat to Patrick who attended my #PRSAHR presentation and inspired this post with his question.

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