So who here uses Twitter? Anyone? Anyone?
I know some of you do. At least, I’m following some you. On Twitter.
Like many of my blogger friends who started out a in the social media stoneage (2010) — back in the days of Blogger, before Facebook pages and Instagram accounts, I do have a Twitter account, but it’s been woefully ignored over the years. Conversely, I love Facebook and haven’t gone a day without logging on in almost 10 years. Ah Facebook, my truest friend.
But I’m a cheater and love Instagram too. While Facebook is a comfy evening with wool socks and glasses of wine with a good friend, Instagram is pretty and shiny. I dress up for Instagram. Facebook listens to me complain and watches just one more chicken video with me.
But Twitter? Twitter is the hyperactive, overopinionated acquaintance that makes my head ache but I kind of have to put up with.
Because (surprise!) not only do I run my own business which may or may not benefit from Twitter use… I frequently work with clients –mostly authors — on social media strategy and platform building (i.e. looking for online friends in an online world.) Strictly speaking, Twitter should be in my wheelhouse.
In general, I just haven’t seen a lot of upside for clients in using Twitter. Twitter can totally be a great place to connect and it seems easier to ‘budge in’ to conversations on Twitter than it is on Facebook. But to really rock a Twitter account one needs to check in every day and connect. It’s not as easy to outsource a Twitter account to marketing fairies (i.e. a marketing consultant, like me) as Facebook is. So we normally don’t focus on Twitter for most of our clients.
It’s better to do one social media platform well than it is to do all of them halfway, right?
But a few weeks ago we had an interesting experience with a client that got me interested in Twitter. How hard is it, really, to connect on the platform? How easy is it to quickly grow your followers? Is it possible without ending up with a bunch of oddball connections that don’t really have any interest in what you have to share?
Is Twitter a giant time-suck, appealing to journalists, techies, mass media and sundry? An echo chamber on it’s last leg? Or is it worth the time to build up?
Having nothing to lose and a new puzzle to solve, I decided to try my hand at Twitter and decide once and for all if it’s something I want to add to my bike route or if I should just go ahead and close my account.
Coming Up With My Twitter Strategy
Oh… that sounds so contrived, right? Nevertheless, I decided to be more focused on what I was trying to do with Twitter. Most of my past forays into the Twitterverse has been more focused on following celebrities, conference-related hashtags and politics.
But I’m on a kick lately of trying to only focus on things that support my goals. So what are my goals?
- Provide expert service to my marketing clients – both my main clients and my grand-clients (clients of my clients -meta, right?)
- Promote my husband’s and my businesses which include a farmhouse bed and breakfast, line of handmade soaps and candles and the occasional textile (clothing or accessories)
- Connect with writerly and bookish types — June is writing month for me with a goal of finishing a first-draft novel, plus most of my client work is in helping authors and coaches launch their books and courses into the world.
- Stay connected to longer term (and new!) friends from the sewing world
OK — so, my basic goals identified, it was time to decide who I want to connect with on Twitter and how I would connect with them.
Who Made the List. Any Why
- Marketing thought leaders — this is a pretty easy list. I spend a lot of time reading up on new marketing plots, particularly in the online/digital world. I already know most of who I like on the marketing side. Why I added: to stay up to date with new articles and developments in the marketing world.
- Entrepreneur/coaching thought leaders — this one is a little harder. Definitely, good folks to follow on Twitter, but after three years of working in and near the online coaching world, I’m a wee bit burned out on LOA and sparkly, girly, ‘be better you’ themes (and metallic, script type). And pink. I like Marie Forleo as much as the next person, Oprah too. Oh, wait, no. I probably don’t like them as much as the next person. Nevertheless, I followed a few of this tribe into the mix. Why I added my clients tend to be in this space, so may as well keep an eye on things.
- Folks interested in homesteading, farming, lifestyle farming (think Beekman Boys), natural healing, etc. Why I added fun articles and news to share + some of these folks might be interested in the B&B, botanicals or textiles.
- Sewing shops, sewing bloggers, pattern companies, etc.: Why I added fun!
- Science and tech-type sites like Wired and National Geographic: Why I added I’m kind of a techie geek. These accounts share interesting content that’s good for sharing.
- Authors, editors, publishing folks and coaches/self-publishing education types. Why I added connection with authors for personal and client work.
- A few major news sources, local businesses, etc. Why I added just to keep up.
What I’m Sharing. And how often.
In general, I have a fairly content focused approach to social (versus promotion-focused).
- Sharing links to cool articles I find (more on that below in techie tricks).
- Retweeting cool articles other people share on Twitter.
- I am sharing a few of my blog posts from the B&B site as well as here on the Snugbug blog… but not everything.
- Going forward I might start sharing a few products (soaps, candles, the B&B) that we have, but in general, Twitter isn’t really oriented to that and I personally can’t stand seeing a bunch of Etsy shares (with no pictures!) in my Twitter feed.
Twitter Apps and Techie Tricks
So the hardest part I have had with Twitter in the past has been keeping up with the feed and finding anything of interest to share. I’ve developed a sharing routine that works pretty well for me. Here it is.
- How I find content to share: For the most part, I use Facebook and Pocket to bookmark good stuff from my Facebook feed. I’m in a ton of groups and have a pretty wide array of interesting connections, so there’s a lot of great stuff in my feed. Anything that catches my eye — shareable articles, recipes, and techie tricks (mostly from web design groups) get’s ‘saved’ via Facebook’s save feature. On the weekends/when I want something mindless to do, I will go into the saved queue. Recipes get opened up and pinned on Pinterest. Techie tricks get opened up and I paste the links into a notebook in Evernote for later reference. All the articles get saved in Pocket. As I come across other interesting stuff on the web, I save that to Pocket too. It’s a nice central place to dump everything and works well with my favorite scheduling app, Buffer. Speaking of which….
- How I schedule posts: Once a week, on Sunday, I dive in and get posts scheduled. I post to our two business pages (the B&B and the Snugbug) as well as a few groups occasionally, my personal page, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter. Buffer links to all those platforms and you can set the ‘schedule’ for each platform separately (how many/what times every day). You can also link up to a bit.ly account for link shortening.
- Posting schedule:
- Facebook Business Pages (Northern Comfort and The Snugbug) – I try to stick to one post a day and not more than two or three.
- Facebook Groups (Indie Marketing Lab and The Snugbug Makers Night) – I’m not as disciplined with the groups — if I have something good I share it, but if the queue is empty I don’t stress over it.
- Personal Page — I don’t schedule to my personal page often, usually just B&B related things that I don’t want to forget to share
- Pinterest — I automatically post 14 pins a day to PInterest using Board Booster — a great little Pinterest utility that recycles pins. I only schedule pins from our blog posts to Pinterest. I like to schedule everything at once and it’s easy to add posts to Pinterest via Buffer.
- Instagram — I try to post once a day to Insta, more if something fun is going on.
- Twitter — I schedule eight posts to Twitter every day from two separate sources + plus retweets, likes and whatever comes up.
- IFTTT for Instagram to Twitter… If you routinely hit ‘share to Twitter’ in Instagram, then check out this great IFTTT recipe that will cross-post your Instagram photos so that they actually show in your Twitter feed versus just showing as a link, which is what happens when you use the Instagram to Twitter utility in Instagram. It’s super easy (and free) to set up!
- Crowdfire to build Twitter – Crowdfire is an app that will help you build up your Twitter platform with connections that are in line with your goals! It’s not free, but has some great features. Every afternoon I get a note from Crowdfire with a ton of article suggestions to share (based on tweets I’ve liked as well as topics I selected). Crowdfire also suggests that I unfollow certain people (ones that aren’t following me back and/or have inactive accounts), suggests a bunch of tweets to like based on my Twitter activity, shows me any mentions or retweets that I should respond to and then suggests some new people to follow based on Twitter accounts Cloudfire thinks might be up my alley. You can also ‘whitelist’ and account (to protect you from unfollowings) and ‘blacklist’ and account (so that Cloudfire stops suggesting certain accounts). In all, it’s a great service that makes building up your account pretty quick and easy.
Progress: My Twitter Experiment
I signed up for Crowdfire and started actively looking after my Twitter account on May 19th — so I’ve been working on this experiment for 10 days.
Starting followers (5/19): 483
Current followers (5/30): 742
Results: 256 new followers
Overall, my followers have increased pretty steadily — there is a lot of churn from day to day. Crowdfire shows me if the new unfollows are people I’m following back or not, and most unfollows are ones I’m not following back, which makes me think that these are folks who are following and then quickly unfollowing. One of the quickest ways to increase followers is to just follow a bunch of people — my guess is that’s where those unfollows are coming from.
So where does this leave me? Well. I’ll be starting up work with my main client’s account this week, seeing what we can do to increase our Twitter platform there, too. I’m enjoying my Twitter experiment for the most part because I’m getting a chance to skim a ton of articles every day that are, for the most part, interesting to me.
So. Jury’s out, more on this later.