Want proof of how fast social media evolves? Here: Twitter is old school.
That’s not an entrenched belief, but I’m sure you’ve heard a rumor or two of how Twitter has been losing ground over the last year. I’m thinking of when Fizzle pondered if Twitter was still effective (they concluded it was), or when The New Yorker wrote about “The End of Twitter” due to its management woes.
Compared to rapid-growth social media networks like Snapchat, Twitter is in kinda shaky territory. Its growth has slowed to a mere 2% for US users this year.
But at the same time… Twitter’s influence is potent. Witness the election: Tweets have gotten radically more press coverage than Facebook posts or Instagram shares.
Twitter is pretty key for B2B content marketers, too. We use it a hair more than Facebook (just barely) to distribute content, according to the Content Marketing Institute 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America.
If you want to get a better handle on Twitter, or just know how to use it for social selling, try any one of these intermediate to advanced Twitter tricks. You’ll save time, get more results – and look like a member of the Twitterati.
1. Add line breaks.
Let’s start with the easy stuff. Adding line breaks makes your tweets stand out more. It also makes them easier to read. And it could not be easier to do: Just hit return.
Something like this:
How to Personalize the Customer Experience – Act-On Blog http://buff.ly/2dW4B3R
How to Personalize the #CustomerExperience
2. An image. A link. A hashtag. Don’t tweet without them.
Most of you have heard this stat before, but it’s so important, it bears repeating: Adding an image to a tweet increases retweets by 150%. Adding a link helps almost as much. Adding a hashtag helps even more.
Bonus: If you’re sharing someone else’s content, include their Twitter handle, too.
3. Use an animated GIF once in a while.
A little movement goes a long way. You can find public domain animated GIFs on Giphy.com. Or make your own with Gifmaker.me. You can even make your own animated GIFs from YouTube videos with FreeGifMaker.me. I made the animated GIF shown below in less than a minute.
Word to the wise: Get permission from the YouTube video creator before you publish the GIF. It’s good manners, and it’s good (legal) karma to get permission before you use someone else’s intellectual property.
4. Use Polls.
It’s good to mix things up now and again, both in life and in your Twitter feed. Polls can do this. Just keep in mind that Twitter polls are not scientific (i.e., don’t make any important business decisions based on the results you get).
5. Pin a tweet.
Got something you want to focus attention on – like an upcoming webinar, a new white paper, or a call to join your email list? Create a tweet about it, then pin that tweet to the top of your feed. It’s now the first thing people see when they come to your Twitter page. Voila: Much more exposure.
6. Follow people your competitors are following. Or follow people that are following them.
But really, the easiest way is to just follow other people who are in your niche/industry. And to tweet great stuff.
For the following “other people” part, start with people you know. See who they follow, and who follows them. Follow about 20-30 new people every day, then circle back about two weeks later with a tool like CrowdFire (previously known as JustUnFollow) if you want to weed out people who aren’t following you back.
7. Use private lists for tracking prospects, competitors, or potential hires.
Twitter lists are easy to set up, and it’s possible to make them private … just in case you don’t want the world to know who’s on your prospect list.
8. Use IFTTT to create lists of people who have used a specific hashtag.
The automation tool If This Then That (IFTTT) has a ton of “recipes” for automating actions on Twitter.
Here’s just one example: You can automatically add anyone who tweets with one (or more) particular hashtags to a Twitter list. So if someone uses both the hashtag “#socialselling and the hashtag “#marketingautomation” in a tweet, they get automatically added to a Twitter list you’ve set up for this purpose. I’ve found I get a lot of mentions from this – people will tweet a thank you for being added to the list.
9. Create a list of people you want to make friends with, or connect with professionally.
Whether they are influencers, potential guest post sites, potential investors, partners, etc.
Try to check in on that list when you’ve got a moment of down time. Retweet and engage with these people. If you can leave a comment on the content they share (blog posts, videos), do. It’s a polite way to get on someone’s radar.
10. Promote your content at optimal times, and other peoples’ content at less optimal times.
I know – this sounds a little sleazy. But it’s a way to still share other people’s content 80% of the time, while promoting your own content in the one or two hot spots during the day when you get the most interaction.
11. Install Twitter cards on your site.
Twitter cards basically just format your content so it looks good when it gets shared on Twitter. They’re especially easy to set up if you’re working on a WordPress site. My favorite plugin for this would be Yoast SEO. It’s free and does a slew of other SEO and social media tasks very well.
12. Retweet with comments.
Content curation is a hot topic among content marketers. It’s a way to share other people’s content, but to still get business results from that sharing yourself. One of the core best practices of curation (in addition to always giving people credit for their work) is to add your own commentary. It adds context and makes you look like an authority.
Retweeting someone else’s tweet with your own comment is a perfect example of this.
13. Master Twitter Advanced Search.
Managing even a fraction of the information on Twitter is like drinking from a fire hose. To turn that fire hose into a faucet, learn Twitter’s Advanced Search function. It’ll save you time and get you better results.
Here are two good tutorials on Twitter Advanced Search:
- From Buffer: The Superhuman Guide to Twitter Advanced Search: 23 Hidden Ways to Use Advanced Search for Marketing and Sales
- From Hootsuite: How to Use Twitter Advanced Search for Lead Generation
14. Use your Twitter connections to warm up your LinkedIn connection pitches.
It’s easier to get someone to follow you back on Twitter than it is to get them to connect with you on LinkedIn. Follow them on Twitter, and be friendly until they follow you back. Wait a week, then invite them to connect on LinkedIn – via a personalized invite. Mention you follow each other on Twitter in the invite.
Try this for Facebook friends, too.
15. Add a call to action.
Even with only 140 characters (minus links and photos now), it’s still worthwhile to squeeze in a call to action. This data from Dan Zarrella is a few years old, but it gives you an idea of how powerful this tactic can be.
16. Be brief. No – briefer.
According to SumAll, tweets of fewer than 100 characters have a 17% higher engagement rate.
17. Say thank you – a lot.
Thank people for retweets. Thank them for likes. Thank them for follows. Thank them for adding you to a list. Not via DM, but a public, brief thank you.
Aim to say thank you like this at least three times a day.
18. Tweet a LOT. No – more. Even more.
Here’s a fun fact to know and tell: Jeff Bullas, widely considered one of the top digital marketers in the world, tweets over 100 times a day. At least once every 15 minutes. Neal Schaffer tweets even more often than that.
Why so often? Because tweets don’t last very long. They’ve got a “lifespan” of about 18 minutes. That means you could be tweeting a lot more – assuming you deliver good content to your audience.
But how in the world are you going to tweet that much? It can be done:
- Schedule your tweets.
- For every tweet you write, you’ll tweet it out at least 3-5 times.
- Get a tool that shows you which tweets did best. Re-tweet top-performing tweets another 2-3 times.
- Use a social re-sharing tool like Hiplay or JustEdgar to automatically retweet from a library of content you set up. For instance, every blog post you’ve written in the last year will get tweeted out at least once a week. Automatically.
- Pick a short list of people whose tweets you love, then schedule retweets of some of their tweets.
- Use content curation tools like Quuu.co to add yet more pre-formatted and pre-screened tweets – automatically.
If you use all those tactics, it becomes easy (or at least attainable) to tweet one hundred times a day.
19. Verify your account.
Could your Twitter account be considered important enough to be “of the public interest”? Then maybe you should apply to have your Twitter account verified.
The little blue checkmark is a way to not only prove your account is legit, but to also add some cachet. It gives you access to slightly different tools and features, too.
Don’t fret if you don’t get accepted, though. There are sob stories aplenty about very prominent people (with 40K followers or more) not making the cut.
Want to know more? Buffer recently wrote a post about how to get verified. The author of the post, Kevan Lee (Klout score 66, Kred score 921) did get accepted.
20. Master your Twitter shortcuts.
Here are the three you’ll probably use the most:
With a tweet selected,
- Hit the “L” key on your keyboard (or phone, or tablet) to like it.
- The “R” key to reply to it.
- The “T” key to retweet it.
Wanna know the rest? Type a question mark (including the shift key) when you’re on Twitter.com. This handy little table will pop up:
There’s always something new to learn on Twitter. Sometimes, just following the work of your favorite tweeters will reveal new tricks. All that matters is we just keep learning. That applies whether you’re a newbie or a pro.
What about you?
Got any advanced Twitter tricks you want to share? Ever sent a boomerang? Share a tip or two of your own in the comments.