This is the fifth in the series of “Practical Social Media”, looking in depth at how to set-up and run Social Media as part of your overall business strategy. If you have any areas you would like me to cover please let me know via the comments section below.
I hope you are still monitoring your keywords on Twitter. This is an essential part of effective Social Media; you should always be on top of what people are saying within your space online.
Whether you have used a dummy account or a real one to do your monitoring, we are now going to make sure your Twitter account is set-up as effectively as possible.
The core components of a Twitter account are:
- Twitter Username
- Your Profile Photo
- Your Name
- Web address
- Custom Design
There are some secondary components which we will also cover, but if you have the list above tied down you’re off to a good start.
This is how the world is going to view you most of the time on Twitter. This is the name you will include on business cards, literature or web sites when referring to your Twitter account. For this reason you must choose your Twitter Username wisely. It is possible to change your username but you want to avoid this if possible to prevent your followers becoming confused.
In the past the Internet was a place of pen names, where you could converse in anonymity. This is still possible, but doesn’t work too well when you are trying to be social. Therefore, best practise is to have a username that is as close to your real name as you can get. For me that is seanEclark as SeanClark was already taken.
Usernames can be a maximum of 15 characters long, must be all one word, and can contain alpha-numerics or underscores.
There is much debate over using your company name. I would advise that unless your company is a known brand, use your own name. People build relationships with people, and that is the aim of what we are after in this instance.
Once you are familiar and comfortable using Twitter there may be strategic reasons to use your companies name, at which time you can start a separate account if you wish.
Mari Smith has a georgeous profile picture, how could you not follow her?
Your profile photo can have a great effect on the success of your Twitter account. Again the advise is keep it personal. People are more likely to relate better to your vuirtual self, if it is a resemblence of your real self. And if you are likely to meet them in real life it can help build a relationship before you even meet.
Some studies have found that different styles of photo can impact whether people follow it or not.
As well as your username you can enter your real name, make sure you complete this field. Limited to 20 characters it allows you to display your proper name for clarity of indetification when people view your profile. It is also used in email notifications sent by Twitter.
Include County, (if applicable), and Country in your profile as an additional identifier for those specifically looking for you. It can help in some directories where people are searching for business types in a certain area. This does not appear in your Tweets. You can choose to include your physical location in your Tweets if necessary dependant on the application you are using to update Twitter.
An opportunity to link to your web site or blog. What you link to will depend on your startegy, but the aim of your profile is to encourage people to follow you. If you have a blog linking to this will be another way to gain new subscribers, if not then link to your main web site for now. We’ll be coming back to blogging later in the series.
You have 160 characters to give people a reason to follow you, use them well. Explain what you do, what you are passionate about and add a bit of personality.
Whilst some will follow you in the hope you will follow back, many people will follow you if they think you will provide them information of value in return. It is well worth testing your bio until you feel confortable with it. Don’t try to dupe people into following you. If you are not an expert in your field, don’t say you are, you’ll only get found out and lose more than just followers.
Definitely don’t use your bio to sell.
Mitch Joel on Twitter is an example of a great personal bio for business.
Other things you can do to improve the effectiveness of your account:
Add a Custom Design
Twitter allows you to customise the background and colours of your Twitter profile. In addition you can add a custom image, including text, that you can use to expand on your bio. Twitter recommends Themelon as an easy way to create a custom background.
Amber Mac does a great job of bringing her profile to life with a custom background.
Within your settings I recommend turning off all email notifications. Social Media can be tough to manage and it is easy to catch yourself nipping in to take a look every time an email comes through. Treat it like any other part of your work day. Give it a place and time, make sure you choose when to do your Social Media, don’t let it become another distraction.
Post your Tweets to Facebook
It is now possible to post any Tweets you send directly to Facebook. Do NOT do this.
The two platforms are seperate and should be treated as such. People use them in different ways and for different reasons, and if people follow you on both platforms yo run the risk of annoying them by duplicating your messaging.
Using Your Mobile
One of the reasons for Twitters popularity and the main reason why it has restricted message lengths is that it was designed to be used in conjunction with SMS or text messaging on mobile phones. If you have a smart phone you can downlaod a purpose built Twitter application for use on your mobile. But if you don’t or you are in an area where mobile Internet connectivyty is poor you can still send and recieve Tweets via text.
You can customise what type of messages you recieve and even restrict them to certain time sof the day. Once you’ve followed the instructions to connect oyur phone to the service you can send Tweets simply by texting to the number given.
Tweets by text can add a personal dimension to your Twitter Feed as you commentate on the things going on aroundyou.
There is a lot more to cover with Twitter, but it is important we get the foundations in place. We want to give the right impression from the beginning. A lot of people have gone before us and there have been many lessona learnt, but new ideas are still emerging as Social Media evolves, and we must adapt where we can.
In the next episode of Practical Social Media it’s time to talk about content. Before we go find our army of followers, we need to find them something to read.