#SMX Liveblog: Twitter For Business (#14C)

It wasn’t that long ago that Twitter first debuted in 2007 at SXSW. And, in fact, it wasn’t that long ago that we didn’t even consider ourselves “social media marketers”—we were search marketers.

IMG_1946[2]If you only take one thing from this session, this should be it: Twitter is about human communication. Any brand that has an audience that they want to connect with can excel on Twitter. It’s all about finding the community; using the tools they’re using; engaging your community with content that adds value.

Ready for more? Here’s Ric Dragon’s nitty gritty Twitter for Business run down:

A quick intro to Twitter:

• When to use a handle? If your name is really, really long.
• Twitter posts have 5 basic elements: display name; hashtags; @mentions; shortened URL; via or by at the end of the tweet.
• RT = rewteet. What does MT mean? Modified Tweet! (Start using it tweet modifiers!)
• If you’re using an @mention, make sure you are including a period (or other character) before the @mention if you want that tweet to go into your public newsfeed (and not just to you and the person you are @mentioning)
• Consider the words you use in your bio; all of these words (including hashtags and @pages) are searchable
• Consider your background image. Ric uses Geico as an example of a company that is doing a great job. It doesn’t take too much and it makes a big impact to have a designed background image.
• Your user icon: As a brand, think about trying to humanize yourself with your profile image. Don’t try to include too much information. Make sure your profile image is clear.

What makes the language in a tweet great?

Make your tweets engaging! It’s like any other venue for content marketing. You have to write something enticing that will make your audience want to click through.

Here are some examples that excel:


When you’re retweeting, try adding a bit of personality to your retweets. Make people want to follow you.

Some Twitter for Business Best Practices

1) Write more @ tweets!
Communicate directly with people. Make an effort to reach out and talk directly with your community more. It’s not all about getting people to look at you; it’s all about you/your brand/your business engaging with the community.

2) Don’t automate tweets.
Yes, you can schedule tweets, but don’t automate them. Automation = content is going right from one platform to another (IE: right from your blog to your Twitter; or right from Facebook to Twitter). Imagine: What if your automation makes your account tweet something about Miley Cyrus when a catastrophic hurricane has just hit a neighboring state? Automation can inadvertently put your brand in awkward, unforeseen PR-disaster situations if you’re not careful.

3) Add value in what you tweet!
A story should have a narrative arc over time, and so should your tweets. Does your business have an event coming up? Creating a narrative arc around that event. Build up to it; offer sneak peeks; make the event your high point; and then keep the narrative going even after the event.

4) Leave room for retweets.
When possible craft your Twitter messages in a way that allows for the added “RT” without chopping off the end of your post (especially if the end of your post is the URL).

Twitter Lists

1) Use Twitter lists to connect with influencers
2) Consider the story that your list of lists is telling
3) Subscribe to lists that include you

Some Twitter Tools

Allows you to see if someone has followed you and you haven’t followed them back. Also allows you to see your top content influencers; your followers who are very active and often interact with your content (these people are your brand advocates!). It’s a good way to identify your brand advocates (and to help you reach out to them).

This tool can take two or more other profiles (as designated by you) and see who the two profiles have in common. It’s a great tool that can help you discover people to engage with; people that would be a great addition to your community.

Definition: A group of friends on Twitter that are planning to meet up. Also a request by a user to meet with friends via Twitter.

This is the idea behind a TweetUp: TweetUps are comprised of a bunch of people who want to meet up and communicate with each other via Twitter but they don’t want to have to include everyone’s handle every time (in every tweet), so they all start using a hashtag to communicate. And, thus, a TweetUp is born! This creates a great community experience, and also an excellent shared history for all the users.


Twitter chats are great places to meet people with common interests, and a great way for a brand to start building community with their community.

TwitterChat Lists
Search for this; this is a list of TwitterChats that are active

TwitterChat Etiquette

– Stay on topic (don’t ask questions that are off topic. Don’t start side conversations.)
– Number your answers. (A1 after Q1; A2 after Q2; etc.)
– Don’t self-promote (unless the moderator asks you [everyone] to introduce themselves at the beginning of the session, or if it’s at the end of the session and you have a relevant link to share)
– RT with attribution
– If late, don’t ask “whats the topic” (just read the stream! Catch yourself up)
– Say thank you (that’s just nice.)

Looking to make sales from Twitter? Do This…

The key is truly to connect with individuals and participate in real conversations. To become a real part of real communities with real people.

As a Twitter sales person you need to be asking yourself:
Can I help 5 people out per day?
Can I join 3 (or however many) TwitterChats per week
Can I host a meet-up?

Can I take time each day to engage with community for X hours?

Think in terms of a virtuous cycle of activity you can do:
Engage → Reciprocate → Nurture connections → Create Content

Should a brand follow back? Ric advocates for reciprocal followbacks

Take time to stop, analyze what you’ve been doing, and consider whether you can do better. Can you write better tweets? Can you engage more with the community? Can you personalize your @responses to people?

Should I have two Twitter profiles? One for me, and one for me as X-brand advocate?

Ric doesn’t advocate for two reasons:

1) Nine out of 10 times one of these accounts is going to get dropped off; you’re going to just give up on one of them.

2) Social media is all about being human. People want to know that Jon the Dell worker is also into Fishing. They want to see Jon as a human. Only positivity can come from showing your personality next to your professional tweets.

What if my brand is somber, or boring? Can we still use Twitter?

Yes! Using Twitter is all about connecting human to human. Sure silliness is a part of that connection, but it isn’t the sole reason people are on Twitter. As an example, if your business is a team of Divorce court attorneys (a rather somber profession) you don’t have to tweet doom and gloom; this “how can I serve my community? What do my clients (and potential clients) need?” Consider hosting something like a #DivorceChat TwitterChat so that people [your potential consumers] can get together and ask each other – and you! – questions.

Some Community Manager Considerations

– Don’t try to control the conversation; enable the conversation.

– Consider ways you, as the community manager, can help humanize the brand. One logistic that helps is ending your tweets with a human signature (for instance ^CA). You can also put the handle of the person that is managing the page in the brand’s Twitter bio. Mayb

e even use the community manager’s photo as the Twitter page user icon (of course, branded. Make sure the manager is wearing a shirt; or watermarked with a logo; or something else creative that allows you to clearly convey to your users “this is the X brand channel, and this is the human who is running this channel. Talk to them!”)

Chelsea Adams Brooks is a long-distance cyclist, aspiring cob house builder, schema/analytics/algorithm obsessor, and a former senior content writer at Bruce Clay Inc.

See Chelsea's author page for links to connect on social media.

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