No matter what stage your startup is in, social media can play a substantial role in reaching new and existing customers worldwide with minimal to no cost. However if you’re unsure of how to use Twitter in a productive way, you’ll feel like you are publishing content to an endless ocean of no interaction. Yet, if you get it right, your startup can rival your more established competitors without spending countless dollars on a comprehensive marketing strategy. We're here to provide you with the following tips to get you started.
Step 1: Have A Voice
Remember when you are publishing content and interacting with people through your startup's Twitter account, you’re embodying your brand’s persona. What are your company's values, likes, dislikes, and interests? Reflect on what kind of content you would interact with as a casual user. Eventually, you will develop a foundation of topics that you can continually refer to for content to publish. If you feel intimidated by posting original content right away, consider looking to content sources that are in line with your voice to draw some inspiration (But be sure to credit them!) Engage with the community by liking or retweeting their content so you organically develop audiences for your content once you're ready. Keep in mind that content doesn't always need to be full blog posts or articles. What you decide to post just needs to be engaging and authentic to your company.
Step 2: Be Consistent
Commitment and consistency is crucial to many kinds of relationships and those hold true to the ones you’ve garnered on Twitter. Once you have defined the voice of your startup, decide how often you will post and adhere to a general schedule. Those who build loyal and engaged followings on Twitter are those who do it consistently. Take inventory of the kind of content you want to publish and that will determine the frequency of your posting based on your ability to deliver it on a regular basis. Following someone who is likely to interact with you and follow back in return involves a mutual understanding that each person will bring some value to the other.
Step 3: Use Your Resources
As you ramp up your Twitter efforts, you can use tools to schedule your posts, optimize content for your audience, and keep your content calendar organized. Free and paid resources are available such as:
Hootsuite - A great tool for scheduling tweets. Additional features include an RSS feed which can help aggregate other content to post for you at a scheduled time.
Buffer - A tool that provides insights on the best times to post your content. This information is helpful since content can fade away quickly when published at a time of little engagement or if it is competing with a larger wave of something else that is trending.
Followeronk - This resource helps you understand your followers through a variety of metrics such as social authority, follower count, and how often they tweet. Understanding who is the most active and likely to engage can inform where to focus your efforts.
Klear - Influencers play a pivotal role in bringing attention to content. This tool helps you get granular information on who is following you and strategically researches accounts within the niche you want to build awareness in. With a built-in CRM, you can track each tastemaker you enlist to an individual campaign and see what ROI results from each relationship.
Liftmetrix - Beware of vanity metrics that appear impressive such as a high follower count that isn't coupled with consistent engagement. Liftmetrix helps cut through the artifice of numbers that won't help your startup's visibility in the long run by providing recommendations on what to post based on its performance and when.
Step 4 - Engage Engage Engage
Remember that social media involves a give and take. The content you publish isn't enough to build your following. Explore companies and other influencers who are supplementary to your own and meaningfully engage with their content. A retweet, like, or comment on a regular basis shows that you are a real company that wants to add value to the community. Additionally, Twitter is a powerful way to communicate directly with your early adopters, evangelists, and even naysayers whom you can try to convert.
Step 5 - Don't Forget The Basics
Having fun and highlighting your company’s unique personality keeps social media interesting, just watch out for typos and misspelled hashtags. There are general rules that everyone in the Twitter community follows, and you will avoid unnecessary headaches if you mind them as well. Always give credit for something you post from another source, be friendly and respectful on Twitter and never let the urge to be a troll or the tweets of one goad you into that kind of behavior. Be an active participant and if you give as well as you receive, traction will build organically over time.