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Twitter is still the most used social network by businesses. This surprises some, but the latest statistics showed that 77% of businesses were on Twitter versus 74% on Facebook. It’s not a big difference, but it’s still at least a little surprising to many who view Facebook as the big social network and Twitter as the other guy in the field.
Twitter is easier. It requires less time. It’s more about communication than popularity and there are no algorithms that can make your efforts meaningless like they can on Twitter. I’m not suggesting that businesses should be on Twitter and not Facebook. On the contrary, if someone said they would only put their business on one, I would recommend Facebook for most. However, there are some major advantages to Twitter and businesses need to know about them to succeed.
Just because the teen star is popular on Twitter doesn’t mean that you should emulate him with your business. He can post as often as he wants or as little as he wants. You can’t. You have to stay consistent.
He can leave Twitter alone for days at a time and come back to be even more popular than he was when he left. You can’t. You have to check it and contribute every day.
He gets so many direct messages and @replies that he couldn’t possibly reply to everyone. You don’t, so reply to everyone.
Most importantly, he can post whatever he wants without ramifications. You can’t. You must be thoughtful, courteous, professional, useful, entertaining (sometimes), empathetic, and relevant. It sounds like a lot to fit into 140 characters but it can and should be done if you want to be successful on Twitter.
Twitter is a communication tool and we’ll cover that shortly. The exact opposite of being a communication tool is using it as a broadcasting tool. This is a bad thing. If you have various feeds plugging away at your account to keep it updated on a regular basis, stop. It’s not so bad to have a feed or two posting from exceptionally trusted sources on an infrequent basis to save a little time, but that should only account for 20% or less. This means if you’re Tweeting 10 times a day, you can afford to have one or two of those as automated RSS-fed Tweets.
For many, Twitter is nothing more than a glimpse into your feed. It’s a way for prospective customers to check you out and see if you’re active and communicating or if you’re one of those businesses that is simply posting stuff for the sake of having stuff posted. They can tell the difference and while many people may expect businesses to act this way, it’s an opportunity to show that you’re truly communicating to your followers through your Twitter account. You’re replying to them. You’re commenting on the posts of those you follow. You’re retweeting those you follow. You’re offering “hand written” advice or comments rather than feeding the feed with links.
Last but not least, there are two feeds that I never recommend using: your Facebook page and your blog. Your Facebook page has the ability to post to Twitter every time it gets a new status update. This is not a best practice. Assuming you’re not feeding anything to Facebook (you better not be!) and posting only content that you’ve vetted, there’s no reason why you can’t manually post it to your Twitter feed as well. Remember, the content that comes to your Twitter feed from Facebook links back to Facebook, not the original piece of content. This is an extra step. Those who think that they are going to get more Facebook fans by feeding their posts to Twitter don’t have an understanding about how social media really works. It doesn’t happen that way. As far as your blog, this should be the most important Tweets that you post. To do this, you want to manually craft them. Surely you’re not posting so much to your blog that you can’t spend the 20 seconds it takes to then post it manually to Twitter with appropriate hashtags and an engaging comment or question added to the post.
This may just be a pet peeve but I can’t imagine that Twitter users in general view this as a good thing. If you’re posting in all caps, please stop.