Use Twitter to Join Your Industry Influencers

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Twitter has taken a beating in the stock market and media in recent months. There have been management ordeals and its growth curve is not keeping up with other social media.

But despite the bout of negativism, Twitter is generally the preferred social media hangout for the individuals we now call “influencers.” These influencers range from biggest names in show business to the most important people in virtually every facet of business.

If you want to establish yourself or your small business as an important voice in your sector or market, you need to have a presence on Twitter. There are dangers, however. If your tweets are neither informational nor engaging, you’re wasting your time. You will end up working hard to earn followers only to have them unfollow or “mute” you. Let’s look at some guidelines.

Study supermarket checkout stand publications. I’m not telling you to tweet like a tabloid, but try to capture your readers’ attention in a short headline. This is why list headlines work so well; people immediately recognize the value they are communicating.

Keep tweets around 100 characters. This length seems to be the “sweet spot” for retweeting, which is what you want your followers to do. You have 140 characters, but if you use them all, sometimes your followers won’t be able to add an original comment to your tweet, so they’ll just pass.

Check your analytics. If you go to while you’re logged onto Twitter, you’ll get some good analytics. If you click the “View all Tweet activity” link, you’ll see how well each tweet engaged your followers. Do more of the stuff that rates highly!

Use hashtags in moderation…but use them. Don’t hashtag like you’re auditioning for one of those hilarious Jimmy Fallon routines. Watch the influencers in your industry and compile a list of your most relevant hashtags and then use them consistently. Don’t grab some trending hashtag just to get more exposure; the only exposure that counts are Twitter users who would be genuinely interested in what you do. #Beyonce (not!). By the way, don’t stuff the description of yourself with hashtags. Tacky.

Create a professional banner for the top of your Twitter page. This can be a simple photo, but if that’s what you’re using make it a great photo and one that looks good when it’s stretched to run the width of your page. Your personal photo overlaps this so don’t put any type where your mug will cover it up. While we’re on the subject:

Use a professional portrait photograph of yourself. It can be somewhat casual, but don’t use the picture that was snapped of you when you were going down the flume at the waterpark log ride. Make it a “head and shoulders” shot.

Follow back. It’s generally a good rule to follow back people who follow you. Ignore all the “Buy 10,000 Twitter Followers for $19.95” – they cheapen your Twitter presence. But otherwise, follow people who follow you.

Use graphics. Adding a graphic or photograph to your tweets will significantly increase engagement. Humans are visual creatures. Eye-catching art along with your words will give you an edge over the hundreds of other tweeters you’re competing with.

Tweet important information at different times. If you have an important message you want your followers to get, tweet it out at different times on different days. You probably have followers in every time zone – and maybe some overseas – so you want to accommodate a variety of schedules. But don’t overdo it to the point where your tweets are seen as spam.

Finally, let me stress the importance of tweeting top quality content. It can be your own content or content others have created. By the way, one of the beauties of discovering and tweeting great content others create is that you’re keeping yourself well versed at the same time.

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