6 Twitter New Year's Resolutions for your business

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January is the time of year when millions of us resolve to do things differently.

Eat less.

Exercise more.

Stop smoking.

Launch a business.

Drink less alcohol.

Get to grips with Twitter for business.

And by February, many of us are back to eating cake, lazing around in front of the television every evening, and not understanding what on earth Twitter is all about.

But 2012 is going to be different – it’s the year when Twitter is going to bring you results for your business.

Here’s how:

twitter egg, oh my handmade goodness, twitter profile tips1.  Customise your Twitter page

When you set-up your Twitter account, you get a default picture of a big empty egg as your face.

Change it – upload a photo of you.

People buy from people, and Twitter is all about conversation, so be human and don’t hide behind the egg.  Show followers your face – and remember to smile.

2.  Add a good bio

One way to lose people’s interest: have an empty profile, missing the opportunity to tell new followers who you are or what you do.

When I receive an email telling me I have a new follower, first thing I do is skim their profile – it’s the first chance you have to make a first impression, so be concise and clear.

Include keywords that relate to your business – and include a link to your website.

3.  Plan your topics

Where are you off on holiday next year?  Did you watch the final of X Factor?  Who did you spend Christmas with?

These are all fascinating questions, and I’m sure the answers are thrilling, but as a potential customer I don’t necessarily want to know.

Instead, I want to know what you’re working on.  What inspires you?

Share your creative process, share links to things that I’m interested in, share tips and tricks that make my life easier.

Know your customer, list some broad topics that they care about, and stick to these when posting tweets.

4.  Have a hashtag strategy

A hashtag (#) is simply a way to highlight keywords within your tweets.  It helps users categorise messages and find anything relevant to that topic in search.

(Mashable provides a useful guide on hashtags and how to use them).

For instance, if you sell silver jewellery, you may want to regularly include #SilverJewellery as a hashtag.

Or if you’re running an event, create a hashtag for it (such as #ArtExhibitionLondon2012) and encourage others to use it.

Oh My Handmade Goodness holds a weekly chat on Twitter, using #OMHG to enable readers to follow the discussion and join in – this works a treat.

5.  Schedule your tweets

Once you’ve got a list of subjects that you’re going to tweet about, write a few messages in advance and schedule them to publish over the next few days.

This saves you time, and takes the pressure off being creative, helpful and witty every day (but if you can achieve this, well done).

Hootsuite is a great platform for scheduling tweets, or FutureTweets or TweetDeck.

6.  Set-up alerts

You won’t always be sitting in front of your computer screen, or checking your phone for new messages and mentions.

You’ve got a life and have plenty of other things to do – but, if you’re anything like me, you hate to miss anything, so take advantage of the tools out there to monitor what’s going on while you’re doing other stuff.

Set up alerts using a system like TweetBeep – this is a good way of being one of the first to know when anyone mentions you, your company, or any phrase you choose, on Twitter.

So as the New Year unfolds, your blank canvas is waiting for you.  Put the cookies down, drink more water, get more fresh air, and make Twitter your secret weapon for business growth in 2012.

PS Come and say hello next time you’re on Twitter – @thorntonlucy.  And feel free to judge me from my profile picture and description – I won’t mind.

22 comments

  1. April says:

    Hey Lucy! I think these tips are a great starting off point for people who are new to Twitter.

    But, I have to say that I disagree with number 3. I don’t think you need to stick to business on Twitter. In fact, I think it’s the best place to inject some more personal stuff. I want to know more about the person that I’m buying from if I’m buying handmade. I don’t want to read an entire blog post about your dog, but I don’t mind {and usually enjoy} a tweet like, “My dog is snoring at my feet as I type,” with an attached picture of the dog.

    In fact, I bought a handful of pictures from a photographer after connecting with her on Twitter. And, we didn’t talk about business. We connected, because she said something about her dog and we chatted about our dogs. Then, I looked at her shop, liked her stuff, and ended up buying a bunch of pictures for Christmas presents.

    I look forward to those more personal tweets from makers that I follow. I feel more connected to them and their brands.

    Now, I don’t think the majority of your tweets should be things like that–but sprinkled in, they’re a lot of fun and connect you with your audience.

    • Jessika says:

      I love the discussion happening here! I agree with lots of your points too Lucy and think this post is a great starting point for easing into Twitter. I also agree with both Lisa & April-I don’t schedule tweets because I want them to be spontaneous and to be a starting point for conversation. Scheduling them seems too robotic for me. I tried in the past but felt it was off putting instead of engaging.

      I totally don’t use Twitter just for business, I use it to connect and build relationships. Not one sided ones but real friendships that are based on good & bad times. I enjoy seeing the person behind the biz and to have the chance to talk about non-business info. A perfect example is my being really unwell this week and sharing that on Twitter-all the get well loving tweets might not actually make me better but it sure feels like it!

      Great seeing all these points of view in the comments!

  2. Lakshmi says:

    I agree with most of the tips except not being personal on twitter. I don’t mean always tweeting about what breakfast you ate or that you got into an arguement you had with your hubby. In my experience it is a platform to connect with people – co workers& customers – and then promoting what you do. If it hadn’t been for twitter I wouldn’t have ‘met’ some fabulous friends over the last year. I personally have bought from folks online AFTER I made that connection.

    I agree scheduling tweets is great on saving time but I think it should be to schedule your blog posts or any announcements. When I’m live on twitter I am always chatting and connecting with people. It has been most effective this way for me.
    Thanks for sharing your insights!

  3. Loved the post and I too didnt fully understand the whole hashtag thing – so that snippit of info alone helped me.

    Also it was really nicely written… simple and friendly unlike a lot of ‘technical’ posts which often either talk down to the reader or are just plain confusing!!

    Thanks!

  4. Great article Lucy, and some really great points you’ve mentioned! You’ve woken me up to make a point to get back to Twitter this year!

    I’ve been on Twitter for several years now though, and am not benefitting from it the way I think I should be, at this point in the game. And to be brutally honest with myself, I really think the main reason that I am not getting the full benefit is because I “don’t” use it in a personal way… I would love to, but finding the time to get on Twitter and “make friends” has been hard for me, with everything else going on in my WAHM world. My Twitter acct is linked to my business FB account though, so every time I post a product link, update or something about what I am working on on my FB page, it’s automatically posted to my Twitter feed. I have gotten virtually no feedback, retweets or response from this method, other than a few extra clicks on my link.

    So with that said, I know my goal for 2012 is to turn Twitter into a more personal avenue of social marketing & will hope that I might see some changes in the response I get on my posts. FWIW, I follow 1600+ members and have over 1300 followers…

  5. Sara K says:

    THANK YOU — twitter is totally on my New Year’s Goal list this year. I don’t get it but I want to! This post helped so much. Just followed a few steps (updated profile pic for egg to person, wrote mini bio) you make it sound so easy. So now I’m tweeting, but what I still don’t understand is WHY?

  6. Lucy,

    Thank you for this really helpful post. I check in on twitter several times a day and feel comfortable being on it. I have made some wonderful connections and some magical things have come out of it. Your advice has given me a concise game plan on how to use it more efficiently.

    Thank you!

  7. Great comments and discussion – thank you! I’m loving all the personal stories being shared.

    I mostly sell to businesses and I’ve found the most successful strategy for starting relationships on Twitter is sharing marketing tips and guides. This often leads to more personal convos.

    It very much depends on the audience.

    I love April’s suggestion of “My dog is snoring at my feet as I type” as that gives an insight into her creative world – and that helps build connections and relationships, which is what Twitter is all about.

    I find scheduling Tweets is ideal for sharing links to resources elsewhere on the web, as I can plan them to publish at different times over a longer period – better than flooding people’s feeds.

    But I also spend my fair share of time chatting with followers, asking questions, talking about our days, etc. But I have to limit this otherwise I lose hours!

    Keep talking OMHG-ers – hope to see you in an #OMHG Twitter chat soon x

    PS The washing has just finished – better go hang it up, and pop the kettle one ;o) Care to join me?

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