While tweeting might not be at the top of your startup’s to-do list, it’s an invaluable (and cheap!) channel for broadening your audience and potential customer base. The great thing about Twitter is that it’s a fantastic place for experimentation mess. As long as you don’t do anything TOO CRAZY (e.g., SpaghettiO’s infamous Pearl Harbor tweet), you can try out lots of different tacts to see what works for your demographic.
Here are a few quick tips to get you started:
This sounds like common sense, but I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve gone to a startup’s Twitter profile only to see that their last tweet was in 2012. If you want followers, you have to tweet ALL THE TIME. And no, this doesn’t mean that you need to hire an intern or a social media guru (barf). If you use an app like Buffer, you can load up a lot of great content early in the week, then schedule it to go out every few hours. Also, remember that people live outside of your time zone, so don’t feel bad about tweeting something at midnight or 3am your time.
No one wants to waste a follow on an account that looks dead, so keep your tweets coming out regularly! While you’re at it, please make sure your profile has a bio, header, and profile photo. DON’T BE AN EGG.
Straight up tell people to follow you
Already have a lot of people using your product or reading your blog? Funnel them over to Twitter by pimping yourself out! Add follow buttons in high traffic areas of your site to funnel people over to Twitter. The Verge and Buffer are great at doing this in a well-designed, non-intrusive way on their respective blogs:
If you have an app, you should gently remind users to follow you somewhere in the app since they’re probably already signed into Twitter on their mobile device. Any time you write, present, or create content, include your startup’s Twitter handle! If you’re speaking at a conference, every single slide of your deck should have your startup’s URL and Twitter handle on the bottom. And don’t forget to upload your deck to Slideshare after to get even more exposure.
Share stuff that doesn’t take people away from Twitter
The easiest content to retweet is content that doesn’t take you to a different website. Photos (uploaded through Twitter, NOT Instagram), videos, and Slideshare presentations all display in timeline, so there’s no reason for someone to click away from it and get one step farther from retweeting you. Here’s an example:
If you’re going to tweet out an article, take a few minutes to find a compelling quote if the headline isn’t eye-catching. Like this:
The title of the post wasn’t bad by any means (“Why Worrying about Startup Competitors is Ridiculous”), but I found a more compelling quote in the article itself and decided to use that instead. People can still click through to the post, but can also just hit RT and feel like they shared something valuable. (sad fact: most people don’t even read the stuff they RT, so make sure the headline sounds cool)
Being consistently retweeted (even if it’s only a few RTs) will result in growing your audience over time. Remember to test out different kinds of content to see what works best!
You know how people go on Twitter to make jokes about whatever big event everyone is watching? Think the Super Bowl, Awards Shows and Season Finales – these are all opportunities for you to make your company part of the conversation and get more followers. One of the most recent examples of this is how DiGiorno (yes, the frozen pizza) joined the #SoundofMusicLive conversation:
This resulted in a ton of retweets and a nice increase in followers. Here’s what their growth looked like the day of the event:
They saw a solid increase in 5k followers from tweeting some funny pizza-themed stuff about the sound of music. Just make sure you DON’T try newsjacking with something that isn’t light-hearted or humorous. Dramatic or serious world events are a big no-no, so don’t touch them with a 10-foot pole unless you want to end up on a “Top Twitter Fails of 2013” list.
Above all, remember that you can’t expect Twitter followers if you aren’t using the service consistently. And remember, you don’t need to create your own content to get followers – all you have to do is find existing content that potential users care about.
Resident marketing manager and baker at 500 Startups.