Promoting Yourself on Twitter

So, you've used Twitter before but now you need to step it up. If you have a project, product, event or group to promote, it's the perfect way to reach the world. 

This post will take you through the things you need to think about when you start to promote yourself on Twitter.

We’ll get everything up and running for your new venture, explore how you can really engage with people and then introduce some useful tools you can use. When we're done, everything should be a lot easier.


Your Account

When you start using Twitter to promote something, you'll need decide if you're going to use your own account, or create a new one specifically for your ‘brand’. Using your own name and face is helpful, because people like to connect with people and it gives everything a very personal touch.

Creating a 'brand' account has its benefits, as other people can help you run it and potential followers will immediately know what it's all about.

You can also keep it separate from your own online life, which is handy if you need to associate yourself with anything else on Twitter. The only thing you need to remember though is that the 'Twitter seas' are full of sharks, so a lot of people are likely to follow your brand account in order to sell you something. They probably won't be around long either, and they're unlikely to have any genuine interest in what you're doing.

You should also be aware of the best type of images to use for your profile, so this guide should help you. 


Your Bio

It’s a big mistake to think of your bio as something that’s just there in the background. It’s the key to encouraging people to follow you and it can also help them find you. 

You need to think carefully about what you write about yourself, because space is short and you need to include searchable keywords that are relevant to what you do.

For example, if you’ve written a book you need to make it clear that you’re an author and include the subjects you cover. You can also make your location very clear and give people a link to your website, which is often critical.

Take time to think about your bio and I think it’s worth considering how it will look to other people. I personally like to read what people do, rather than just be presented by a mess of hashtags.

It also helps to take a close look at what other people are writing about themselves, so you can match it or provide something different that's going to grab other people's attention.


Your Followers

I think it’s safe to say that focussing purely on the number of followers you have, or even worse buying followers, really won't get you anywhere. The whole point of being on Twitter is to connect with people who are likely to benefit from what you're promoting.

You really want followers who are likely to engage with you, so try to connect with people you think would be interested in your messages.

Twitter makes this easy, as they give you suggestions on your home page and you can also see who’s following the people you connect with. A good way to grow your followers organically is to regularly follow people. You could try following 10-12 a week (I find Saturday afternoons a good time) or just add a couple of people every day. It’s also nice to try to follow relevant people who follow you, to really start making connections.

As I’ve said at the start, a lot of people are out there to try to sell you something, so be careful not to waste your time on people who are never going to really connect with you. I think the best way to put it is that I’d actually prefer to have ten people who regularly engaged with me over a thousand followers who wouldn’t even dream of reading anything on my site.

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It’s a good idea to look at who’s following the people you’re interesting in and the people following them.

One bit of advice I’d really like to share is that you should avoid sending automatic direct messages when someone follows you. I personally consider this spammy and desperate, and I know that a lot of other people feel the same way


Your Lists

Twitter lists are awesome and you really need to discover this useful tool. You can find all the options for list in the main menu and it’s really easy to get started.

I think the most important thing about Twitter lists is that they allow you to see exactly what you need to see on Twitter.

Your feed can easily become a little bit cluttered and it’s easy to miss things when you’re following lots of people. Lists allow you to keep track of influencers, look at accounts you don’t follow and collect accounts together that deal with a specific subject.

They can be made private if it’s just something you need to see, or they can be made public so other people can subscribe them. This can obviously be a great way of engaging with people if you’ve taken time to create a list that they are likely to be interested in.

Another important thing to remember about lists is that they can help you control the number of accounts you are following. As an added bonus, you can also keep an eye on the accounts you're really interested in.


Your Messages

I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people don’t think hard enough about the type of messages they are sending. Do people really want to see constant links to your site or an endless list of things you do?

Twitter is all about connecting, so it doesn’t hurt to retweet and share other people’s content.

If it’s close to what you’re interested in, it’s probably going to be of interest to your audience. You could also share your thoughts and feeling about things and even make the odd joke now and then.

The main thing to remember is that you’re trying to persuade people to take notice of you, so it helps if you’re interesting and stand out from the crowd. It’s also worth taking some time to consider what type of posts are likely to be relevant to your audience. 

You need to find your ‘voice’ on Twitter and more importantly, work out who you’re talking to.

Will your humour go down well with them or are you coming over a bit too stuffy?Sharing tips and advice should also help you win people over. If you’re not sure though, just think about how your message could add value and impact the person reading it.


Your Hastags

Hashtags are a critical element of Twitter, but they can easily be misused. My advice is to use no more then 2 per message and if you can, try to make them part of it. Including a mess of hashtags not only makes the message hard on the eyes, as it also looks a bit spammy and desperate.

It’s important to make sure that any hashtags you use are relevant to your message to avoid wasting people's time.

Despite Twitter doubling the character limit on messages recently, it’s still a good idea to be as economical as possible. For example, if you were telling people about a book you’d written that was available as an ebook on Amazon, you may be tempted to write something like the following:

Don’t miss my new book, The Example that’s now available to download right now on Amazon via the Kindle Store. #Book #Kindle

This may be better as…

Don’t miss my new #book The Example that’s now available to download right now on Amazon via the #Kindle store.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember though is that hashtags aren’t case sensitive. A few years ago, the hashtag #nowthatcherisdead understandably lead a lot of people to believe that the singer Cher had died. When it was presented properly though, it was clear that #NowThatcherIsDead related to the death of Margaret Thatcher.

You will also need to go out and research all the hashtags that are relevant to you and the people you’re tying to reach. You should also get yourself a list of social media days that are relevant to your audience. This list should help you put this together.

You should also keep a close eye on any topics that are ‘trending’ to try and tie-in your messages.


Your Reach

The most important thing to remember when using Twitter is that very few of your followers will get to see your messages. Take a look at Twitter Analytics, in the same menu as lists, to get a good idea of how many people are seeing and reacting to what you send out.

Analytics can give you key insights into your audience to help you plan ahead.

Like Facebook, you’ll probably have to consider paid promotions to really spread your message far and wide, but there are some things to think about first. I honestly believe that if you optimise your organic (free) engagement by adopting the ideas in this post, you’ll naturally increase the effectiveness of your paid promotions as well if you use them. So many marketers seem to just think they can simply spend their way to success, and often seem to overlook creativity and effective practices.

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You should do your best to encourage your audience to retweet and like your messages as well, as this should really give your engagement a huge boost.

It’s also worth thinking about things your audience will be doing together. Last year, I was promoting an outdoor event in Dorset for a charity, so timing my Tweets around the broadcasts of Springwatch, which was also from Dorset, really helped to boost engagement.


Your Connections

Twitter is all about connecting with people, so you’ll want to reply to people and make them aware of anything you think they need to hear.

Responding to tweets is a great way to connect, but you need to make sure it comes over as genuine and sincere.

You’ve probably all seen comments in blog posts brazenly directing people towards a dubious website, or shamelessly selling a product to service. This won’t get you far in the long run and it definitely wont help you make connections.

Your followers should also be made aware of your likes and retweets and you can also tag them into messages using their username. For example, if you were trying to get my attention you could write something like:

Really enjoyed reading the Twitter post @SimplicitySys shared this week. Looking forward to trying out some of these ideas

Placing the username within the message will mean that everyone will see it and understand that I’ve been mentioned.

I could then reply with something like:

@example Glad you enjoyed it, I plan to write a similar post about Facebook really soon as well

Placing the username at the start of the message means that only they will see it.

The best thing about Twitter is that you can connect with anyone. Just be mindful that big influencers and celebrities are likely to be flooded with messages and mentions though, so your communication would probably need to pretty spectacular to get picked up. You may just be lucky though, so it’s always worth a shot. 

I’d also encourage you to think about direct messages, as they can be a great way to approach people if you do it in a considerate and respectful way. It’s also a great way to develop a conversation after you’ve connected with someone.


Your Strategy

So now we’ve gone through what you need to do, you really need to work out why you’re doing it. You really need a plan and objective before you get going to make sure you actually achieve something.

Take time to consider what you want the people you're communicating with to do after they’ve read your messages.

Do you want them to buy something from you, do you want them to spread the word about something or do you need people to turn up to an event you’re running? Getting all of this defined before you start can really make a difference, and help you make your messages mean something. 


Your Input

If you want Twitter to work for you, you’re going to need to put some time into it. I’d set aside a least half an hour a day if you can for the first few weeks to really help you get started.

It’s worth planning ahead and making sure that you can respond to people if they take the time to connect with you.

I’d also take time once a week to review your stats and if you can, schedule some posts using one of the tools I’m about to share. If you can, try to tweet out at least 2-5 messages a day to really drive engagement. It's also a good idea to have a good think about when your audience are likely to be checking Twitter as well.


Your Tools

When you really get going, you’re probably going to need more than the Twitter App. Here are some of the tools I use that should really be helpful:

This is an amazing free service that allows you to display the feeds, lists and notifications you need to see. It’s the perfect way to keep track of everything and you simply need to log-in using your Twitter account to get going. You can also schedule tweets and keep track of multiple Twitter accounts if you have them.

I’m a huge fan of Buffer and their free service should be enough for a lot of people. I use this service to schedule Tweets and it’s perfect if you have other social media accounts. I’ve also written about why I selected Buffer over Hootsuite in this previous post (please be advised though that recent changes to Twitter now mean that you can’t repost content in the way I describe in the post now).

Their free service alone should give you some great insights into your audience. It’s really useful when you’re thinking about who you need to connect with.

This service can help you get a good idea of what you’re audience is looking at. It’s also a great way to find new content.

This is an amazing service that I recommend on the site. It allows you to collect your content together and automatically share anything you like on Twitter. 

Here are some fun GIFs to make your posts memorable. You can also add them directly via Twitter if you need to.


Your Bananas

Now I’ve gone through everything that should help to get you stated, I’d like to talk to you about bananas. Seriously, imagine for a moment that you’re on Twitter trying to sell your audience bananas.

It’s fine telling them about how great your bananas are on a Sunday evening, but that won’t mean anything if they don’t buy them the next time they’re in a supermarket.

This is why you need to prompt your audience into taking action. If we take the example above, which one of these two tweets should be the most successful when sent out on a Sunday evening, when most shops are closed:

You really need to try our examplebrand bananas, they're delicious and great value.

or…

Next time you’re in the supermarket, remember to pick up some examplebrand bananas. They’re delicious and you’ll be glad you tried them.

Putting bananas aside and going back to your product or service, you may also want to communicate why you are unique and how buying your product or service will solve a particular problem or add value. You could also add a sense of novelty or surprise to raise your message over the competition, or make a familiar product appear fresh and exciting.

Don’t be afraid to hit your audience with facts and figures as well, or highlight the risks of ignoring your what you’re offering. It also helps if you disrupt the flow and shake things up a little, like I did by making this bit about bananas.

Promoting Yourself on Twitter

In a nutshell, Twitter is all about making the right connections and hopefully, making someone's day.

I hope this has been helpful and that you’ve got plenty to think about now. When you start connecting though, please remember me on Twitter and Facebook. You can find links on the site and I’m @SimplicitySys on both services.

If this is the first time you've read my work, it would also be great if you could take a look at the rest of my site to see what I’m doing here: