Written by Jennifer Hogue of the Hogue Insurance Agency
We all hear the hype about Twitter, and if you are like me, you know you should be using it but have absolutely zero idea what “using it” entails. One thing I can tell you for sure (from experience) is that you can’t just build your profile, upload your photo, and expect people to flock to you. In fact, posting three times a day isn’t even enough to do the job when it comes to Twitter–that is unless you expect to wait years to see results.
The key to using Twitter successfully is to make good connections. That’s right–using Twitter as a genuine engagement tool versus a place to advertise your latest specials or happy customers makes all the difference. Think about Facebook: you use Facebook to comment on photos of your nieces and nephews, you join conversations about children and diets and your community. In this same way, I’ve seen the most success with Twitter when I use the one-to-one approach versus the one-to-many.
Let’s talking about what engagement actually looks like and how Twitter makes it easy to grow your network.
Twitter allows you to communicate with anyone else who has a Twitter account. As opposed to Facebook and Linkedin where you have to be “friends” or “connect”, Twitter allows you to “@” anyone with an account. Whether that’s your next door neighbor or the CEO of Amazon (hey there, Jeff Bezos), Twitter is a completely open social platform.
Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to @ someone just to say hi, ask a question, or provide encouragement. Being engaged will get you noticed.
Twitter isn’t just for connecting with large brands and celebrities. Every day people in your community are all over Twitter as well. I’m not only talking about your potential customers; I’m talking about referral partners, industry experts, investors, and so much more.
Pro Tip: Use Twitter to connect and communicate with people who are influential in your industry and follow who they follow.
For example, an influencer in the insurance industry is Chris Paradiso. When I first got my Twitter, my marketing team suggested that I go follow him, “@” him, and then go follow his followers/who he follows. Not only do I hope to learn from him, but I now get to see what other cutting-edge ideas are taking place in the industry from people he engages with.
One word: hashtag. For those of you who don’t know what that means, it is the “#” in front of a word that generates a link and aggregates all hashtags related to that topic. For example, if I were looking for people who care about insurance, I would do a search for “#insurance” to see what all people are saying in my area. Pretty awesome isn’t it?
Pro Tip: Be sure to search for hashtags relevant to your industry. This will help you find people who are also interested in your topic.
Twitter is NOT an easy game. In fact, I am still a rookie myself who is trying to learn and get comfortable with using Twitter. However, I know that I am not alone in this, as do I know that we small business owners have to evolve with the times. My biggest piece of advice: DON’T GIVE UP when it doesn’t seem to be working. Eventually, people will start following you back; you have to make them notice you.