How many times have you said one of the following about social media?
“It’s a waste of time.”
“I’ve never gotten a good response from Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/Google+/etc.”
“I tweet and nobody responds.”
You’re not alone. Countless businesspeople struggle with posting on social media, especially when it comes to writing something compelling and meaningful in 140 characters. That frustration comes largely because there has been little (or no) social media training on how to communicate effectively in short bursts.
Do You Make These Mistakes?
I frequently see the same three mistakes being made when people tweet. Let’s look them over and see if you’re falling victim to these errors and how they can quickly be corrected.
Mistake #1 – Failing to Engage
Posting tweets (or any other social media posts) is not just about pushing out information you want to announce to the world. It’s about communicating and engaging your followers. Failure to do so usually results in an audience with a short attention span.
What are your followers looking to gain from an online relationship with you? Sure, they want the products and services you offer, but that’s business. What about the relationship? Besides what you sell, people want to get to know you. The same holds true with an online relationship via Twitter or other social sites.
When deciding what to tweet, think of the topics/ideas that would be of interest to your customers. A good mix might include tweets mentioning that you’ve:
- added a new product the customer might find valuable
- extended your hours
- found an article applicable to your customer
- come across recent news relevant to your customer’s industry
- and much more
Take a look at this snippet of tweets from my own Twitter feed.
This one gets my attention because it speaks to me wanting to control the results I get online and in my life. It doesn’t talk about what Paul Evans… it is geared toward what will interest me as the follower. Here’s another Tweet:
Sandra’s post is relevant to me as a service provider. I always want to be conscious of providing excellent customer care to the companies my team and I strategize and create content for.
Here’s a tweet from Business Insider:
Does this have to do with business directly? Maybe… maybe not. But, because I have an iPad and a Gmail account, I am appreciative of knowing about this new app.
Here’s a tweet from sharing a SlideShare Presentation:
Again, for the right audience, this post would be very helpful.
On the other hand, posts like the one below talk only ABOUT the person/company instead of TO the Twitter follower:
If you spoke on the phone or face to face, you would be much more conscious about making sure your communication is relevant to your customer. Why? Because it isn’t polite to talk about yourself all the time. Decorum suggests that putting the other person first is more appropriate. Apply those same manners to your Twitter posts.
Mistake #2 – Ruining the Punch Line
One of the best ways to use Twitter and other social media accounts is to drive traffic to your website. While there are dozens of approaches to writing tweets that achieve this, one that is particularly effective is to pique curiosity. Yet, many site owners that attempt this seem to ruin the punch line, so to speak. To get the desired results, you want to create miniature cliffhangers or teasers.
Think about the last movie advertisement you saw. Did it say something like:
“With lots of dramatic twists and turns in the plot, you’ll think Susan is safe, only to find out she dies in a horrible and unexpected accident right at the end”.
Of course not. Why? Because you want to draw people in and make them curious about what will happen. So, for example, instead of tweeting:
“Here are 25 pieces of software that bring you competitor data”.
You would say:
And rather than:
“What a biography author thinks about Ben Franklin, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs”.
Which would entice you to click?
Mistake #3 – Not Posting Often Enough
Have you ever just sat in front of your computer monitor and watched a Twitter feed scroll by? You should try it sometime. Tweets come flying onto the screen literally at the speed of light.
This is real-time communication and, depending on how many people/companies you follow, there can be 10, 25, 93 tweets per minute easily. Most followers never click to the Twitter profile pages of those they follow. If they don’t see the information in their own, live Twitter feed, they don’t see it at all.
So, posting one tweet a day is all but useless. Two or three tweets? Better, but something along the lines of 7 to 15 scattered throughout the day would be a good average (depending on your industry).
Regardless of what types of tweets you write and how engaging they are, it will do you little good if practically no one sees them. Bump up your frequency and you’re likely to see much more participation by your followers.
Like most other things in life (choosing the right clothes, cooking dinner, raising children), it isn’t that Twitter doesn’t work… it just takes a little education on how to do it right.
More Twitter tips
If you’re interested in more Twitter tips, check out these two articles:
- 7 Twitter Tips Guaranteed to Grow your Following and Influence
- Advanced Search Operators: How to Mine Twitter for Valuable Business Leads
If you’re struggling with how to write exceptional tweets, headlines, bullet points or other short copy, have a look at Karon’s wonderful new short course called “Short Copy Success Secrets.”