Many small business owners we talk to have a really hard time grasping Twitter: what to do on a daily basis and how to make it an effective part of their social media program. So in this 2-part series, we are sharing a few tips and strategies on how you can use Twitter to grow your small or home-based business. Part 1 outlines three steps to build a target audience on Twitter:
Step # 1: Set Up Twitter Lists for “Influencers” and Prospects
Twitter Lists are the secret to handling the quick-paced stream of Tweets that show up in your Twitter Feed. Create several Lists for:
- Influencers in your industry – those people/accounts who post information your target audience will find useful
- Prospects – people who fit into your target audience (your ideal client)
From your Home page, just click on the Profile Icon in the top navigation bar, then click on “Lists”. Create several lists and make sure you choose how to display your lists: if your lists are public, other users can subscribe to them and if your lists are private, then only you will see the list and its members.
Step #2: Use Search Tools to Start Following Accounts
Twitter’s Search and Advanced Search at twitter.com/search are great tools to find prospects or influencers with numerous search operators: keyword, location, etc.
A few additional resources to find targeted accounts are WeFollow, FollowerWonk and Twellow. Use the free versions of any new tools – most of the time that is all you need to start connecting with targeted accounts.
You may want to set up a profile on Twellow (it just takes a few minutes) so others can find you (make sure you have filled out your Twitter bio with keywords that your target audience would use to find you).
As you start following people, immediately add them to one of your Twitter Lists. Later you can quickly view each List individually for interesting Tweets. Lists make it much easier to quickly review the accounts that are most important to you.
Step #3: Start Sharing Great Content
Sharing other people’s content by Re-Tweets (RT@username) or Mentions (@username) help you quickly make connections on Twitter.
- The Influencers you are following will have content you can share with your Followers. This will help build your authority/influence on Twitter as someone who is always sharing helpful content.
- Visit your Prospects List everyday and Re-tweet good content from people on that List: it is a great way to start conversations (either through a private direct message or a public reply) and build relationships.
- Make it a part of your content strategy to subscribe to blogs you find interesting/helpful, either by email updates from each blog or with Google Reader. (Click here to learn more from our blog about using Google Reader.)
- Share links to your own blog posts too, but remember good social media etiquette: make sure you are sharing more of others’ content than your own (follow an 80/20 ratio – 80% of your Tweets are promoting others; 20% of your Tweets are promoting your business).
Use these 3 steps to start building a targeted group of Followers and people you are Following. Then start re-tweeting and sharing great content that your audience will find helpful.