January is the time of year when millions of us resolve to do things differently.
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.
1. 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.
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).
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.