I'm going to admit something to you here. I got onto Twitter really late in the game. Like, only six months ago.
When my friends first started talking about and using Twitter, I had absolutely no interest. I didn't want to take the time to put my thoughts into 140 characters and I certainly didn't want to be one of those people who tweets about every single thing in their day. I don't like sharing that much of my life online.
It wasn't until I started my business that I realized the potential that Twitter has, especially for online business owners. Now, I tweet about 10 times per day (I use Buffer to schedule tweets, so I'm not logging in and out all the time) and I'm involved in Twitter chats a few nights a week. Why the change? Because working for myself can be lonely and Twitter is a great place to start engaging with people who are struggling with the same thing. I've found a ton of great people on Twitter that I've ended up connecting with more personally. I actually found most of my Inspired Online guests on Twitter!
So how can use start using Twitter more intentionally?
There are a ton of posts out there about using Twitter to reach your target audience and promote your business, so I don't want to give you all that advice again. Instead, I'm going to explain how I use Twitter for my business.
- Start by following people you admire. If you're reading someone's blog or are interested in their services, following them on Twitter can be a great place to see them a little more personally.
- Engage with your followers. Once people start following you, make sure you thank them. I take a few minutes each day to write personalized comments to new followers. Don't write just a standard "thanks for following" message because that will turn people off. Instead, take the time to visit their website or read their tweets. I also find new people I'd like to follow this way.
- Tweet content your audience needs. I schedule my tweets each morning and balance tweeting my own stuff (services, announcements, blog posts) with tweeting about other people's work. If I find something inspiring or informative, I'll tweet about it because I know someone else out there needs to read it to.
- Give credit to other people's work. When you tweet out someone else's blog post or service, make sure you tag them. This helps you engage with that person and can also help others see you as helpful and informed.
- Join Twitter parties. It took me a while to start doing this, but once I jumped in I loved the community that I found. Now, not every Twitter chat is going to be right for you, but you can find something that's going to encourage you. Check out the chats that people you admire are joining.
Avoiding overwhelm in Twitter parties
If you've ever seen a Twitter chat blow up your feed, you know how intimidating they can seem. In fact, it took me a while to try out new chats because of the number of people and tweets I was seeing. Those things can move fast! I've found a few things that work for me in Twitter chats.
- Use multiple tabs. Okay, I know most people recommend Tweet Deck, but I'm just not a huge fan. I tried it once and felt like I couldn't handle it, so I reverted back to my old ways. I have one tab open to the Live feed for the chat's hashtag, another open for my notifications, and a third open to the chat's host if I'm afraid of missing questions.
- Copy the hashtag. You have to use the hashtag of the chat for your tweets to show up in the feed, so I always copy the hashtag before I start. This way, I just have to paste it in to each tweet instead of typing.
- Engage with just a few people. If you can keep up with everyone, that's great! But for us normal humans, picking a few people to concentrate on can make things easier. Read their answers and reply. If you see someone else's tweet you can always favorite it, but trying to talk to everyone means that you aren't making real connections.
- Be honest. The whole point of joining a Twitter chat is to answer the questions that the host asks (make sure you use A and the question number so no one gets confused). Be as honest as you're comfortable with. And if you're going to promote your own work, make sure it's relevant to the topic or the conversation you're having.
My favorite Twitter parties
There are lots of these lists out there and mine is nowhere near comprehensive, but there are a few chats I try to join every week.
- #ambitionista Mondays at 9 pm EST
- #fireworkpeople Tuesdays at 9 pm EST (hosted by the amazing Ashley Beaudin, who I just interviewed for Inspired Online!)
- #liveloudly Every other Wednesday at 7 pm EST (this one moves a little slower, so it's a great place to start)
- #createlounge Wednesdays at 8 pm EST (I interviewed Kayla too!)
- #ellechat Thursdays at 8 pm EST (Lauren just had her first live video chat yesterday, so you can check out what she's doing next)
- #blisschat Thursdays at 9 pm EST
Check out these chats or find some that fit you! I'd love to see you and get to tweet live.