Now you can Tweet-Tweet with double the characters

If you’re not a huge Twitter fan, then you might not be aware that this week there’s been a major shakeup in the world of the Tweet.  The strict 140 character limit has now been replaced by a new one – you now have 280 characters in which to share your thoughts.

Twitter announced their plans to increase this limit some time ago, and a select group of users have been trialling it for the last month or so.  The logic being that people will now be able to express more of their thoughts, without running out of room.  I admit, given what some people think about and deem worthy of sharing, I remain to be convinced whether this is a good thing.

Many have taken the news quite badly, suggesting the whole point of Twitter, and its great appeal, is the brevity with which points have to be made.  Increasing the character limit will, they argue, make Tweets harder to read as there is more to get through. Not only that, but in our experience, if you give people the option to say more, they will – just because they can, not because it adds anything to the discussion.

Of course, one of the biggest complaints about the increase is that it detracts from some of the more fundamental problems with the platform.  Twitter has long been associated with rampant abuse, harassment and bullying – hooray, now people can abuse people using more words!

The limited data that has been made available from the trial sessions indicate that, once the novelty had worn off, those with access to Tweet 280 characters, tended not to go much above the original limits.  Equally, those who could Tweet slightly longer thoughts received more engagement, and spent longer on the network than other members.

It is worth noting, however, that it was a single figure percentage of overall users that were able to trial this option before today’s launch.  So I guess time will tell on this one.

Twitter’s logic appears to be with the aim of making the platform easier for newcomers to use, and I definitely think it will help.  In my experience, many businesses seem to avoid using Twitter in their social marketing mix for fear of the Tweet limitations.  With the option to say slightly more, hopefully people will find a renewed interest in engaging.

Let’s watch this space.

 

 

Top 10 tips for Twitter content

A lot of our clients are brilliant on social media. In fact, some of them are killing it on Facebook. However, when it comes to Twitter, they tend not to do as well.  There’s something about that strict character limit, the inability to write longwinded paragraphs of explanation that put a lot of people off.

Whilst we get asked it of every platform, people seem particularly concerned by what they should be posting on Twitter.

So here are our top 10 tips for what you can share via your business Twitter page:

#1 – Your products

It goes without saying, we’d think, that you should be advertising your products on Twitter.  You can maximise exposure by using hashtags to link to relevant industries, or audiences you want to target.

Always try to use photos where you can to make a better impression and reach more people.

#2 – Motivational quotes

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so don’t take this as a given, but depending what you do, motivational and inspirational quotes can be great to share.  This is especially true if you work in a holistic, well-being, or coaching type of industry.

#3 – Company achievements

Entered a competition, won an award, just been given a new contract?  If something amazing has happened in the office, then talk about it and share it via Twitter.  Again, use photos where possible.

#4 – Industry news

Share things that are happening in your industry.  It’s a great way to showcase the fact that you have your finger on the pulse.

#5 – Share your opinion

Whilst sharing industry news, why not add your own opinion too?  Not only does this show you know what’s going on, but that you’re knowledgeable enough about it all to discuss it.  This helps place you as an expert in your area, and will increase your social proof and credibility.

#6 – Cross advertise

Just because you’re on Twitter doesn’t mean you can’t advertise your other social media accounts.  Why not share something from Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram?  It’s a great way to let people know they can follow you elsewhere if they want to – but try to keep your posts different for each platform so you don’t come across as spamming.

#7 – Tweet greets

Personally we love a Tweet greet, for example, “Good morning”, or “Happy Friday”.  There’s no reason why everything has to have a purpose other than being friendly.

#8 – Fun facts

Share information, stats, facts and fun tidbits of information that your audience might find useful.  Ideally these should relate to your services, products, business or industry.

#9 – Retweet

Not everything you share has to come directly from you.  If a customer mentions you, why not retweet their post?  Equally, why not RT things that other people are saying that might be useful to your audience?  Not everything is about competition.

#10 – Have a laugh

The whole point of social media is to make connections, and showcase your brand’s personality.  You can’t do that if all you’re sharing is the same sort of information about your products.  Why not spice things up a bit by adding in some jokes, funny pictures or anecdotes?  Brilliant if they can relate to your industry, but not the end of the world if they don’t.

 

 

If you want any help with getting to grips with Twitter, or coming up with a marketing strategy, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Time Saving Heroes. You can call us on 0161 883 2024, email hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk or just message us below.

10 Twitter Tips to Increase Engagement

One thing we’re constantly being asked is how to increase engagement on social media platforms, specifically with regards to Twitter.  Many people struggle to really engage others, feeling that the character limit’s holding them back from making a good impression.

 

Rumours still abound that Twitter are going to increase the limit, so in theory, the problem will cease to exist.  However, the reality is that most people aren’t failing to engage their audience because of the amount of words they’re using.  They’re either saying the wrong words, or all they’re doing is talking at their fans and followers.

 

Here then are our top ten tips for getting more out of Twitter.

 

#1 – Keep it short

It might seem counter productive, but shorter Tweets i.e. those that don’t max out at 140 characters, get 17% more engagement than those that push the limits.

 

Leaving room in a Tweet allows people to add their own comment when they RT, and people invariably won’t both if they have to reduce your original content.

 

#2 – Get your timings right

Think about when your audience is online.  There is no point in Tweeting at 11pm when everyone’s gone to bed!  If you keep your posts during daytime hours i.e. 8am and 7pm you’re going to reach more people with your posts, and therefore increase the chance of engagement.

Audiences vary, and there is no one right time to post – so think about them and what they’re doing, and when they’re going to be online when you’re doing your scheduling.

 

#3 – Don’t forget the weekends

So many of our clients don’t bother Tweeting at the weekend, and it makes no sense.  Social media does not stop just because your offices are closed, or you think your target audience have gone home for the weekend.

 

#4 – Encourage your fans

Take some time out each day to scroll through some of your fans’ timelines.  Look at their content and get up to date with what’s going on in their world.  You might find that someone’s just got engaged, bought a new house, got a promotion, has developed a new product … whatever.  The Twitterverse moves so quickly, chances are you’ll have missed these announcements throughout the week.

Go find the good news, and react to it yourself.  Offer words of encouragement, say congratulations, support your fans.  Don’t forget that behind every single profile or account is a real live human being – and we all just crave interaction.

 

#5 – RT other people’s content

This follows on from #4.  Your fans have taken the time to create their own content, validate them and show them you appreciate what they’re putting out there.  Relationships often work on a reciprocal basis, and you may find they’re more likely to look out for your content and share it themselves if you start the ball rolling.

Now, that’s not to say you should RT or like every single post your fans produce – that would be madness.  Pick specific things that you think your audience could get benefit from, remember your audience is still the most important thing here.

 

#6 – Include hashtags

If you add hashtags to your content, you’re automatically going to be able to reach more people.  Of course the key here is to always keep it relevant.

Encourage others to get on board with your #hashtag and interact with it.  Offer incentives, a free piece of content, or a personalised message … anything you think your audience would be interested in.

 

#7 – Provide solutions

What problems do your audience encounter on a regular basis?  Are they overworked professionals who don’t have time to prepare their own meals?  Are they cash rich, time poor?  If so, find things that will make their lives easier.

 

Ideally, some of that content will be your own, linking directly to your website or blog. However, sharing other people’s content is another good way to increase engagement. It shows that you care about your audience, and you’re happy to help other people out.

 

#8 – Ask for RTs

Generally speaking, people are really shy about asking for RT’s. In fact, less than 1% of brands do it.  That doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea, it just means people feel uncomfortable about it, and we get that. However, research shows that where people do actually ask, there’s a 12% increase in RT’ing!  It makes a difference!

 

That’s not to say you should ask for a RT in every single post you share, but it’s worth adding in to the mix every now and then. Especially if you have something important to say.

 

#9 – Don’t over do it

Some people subscribe to the believe that the more you post, the more you’re likely to get back.  It makes sense, on some levels – the more that can be seen, the more people will see it. However, the more you Tweet the more you’re likely to be ignored as spam.  It is essential you avoid coming on too strong when it comes to your marketing.

 

The best way to increase awareness, reach and engagement is to post between one and four Tweets a day, throughout your chosen hours.

 

#10 – Keep it real

Too many brands seem to forget that they are people, trying to do business with people.  Stop sending out automated, personality-less posts that are impossible to engage with.

 

Keep it real, and share some of your news, views and struggles.  People want to hear how other people are getting on, not just what you’ve got to sell to them.

 

 

If you have any questions about Twitter, or any other social media platform, don’t hesitate to get in touch.  We’re always happy to help.  Call 0161 883 2024 or email hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk.

 

 

Using #Hashtags for your business

Last week we took you on a whistle stop tour of the humble #hashtag and what it’s all about.  Hopefully it helped you realise why Twitter is a great way to promote your business, and this week we thought we’d go through the many different ways you can use #Hashtags to increase your reach.

Find and use relevant #hashtags for your industry

For example #FlightDeals #VirtualAssistant #ITGeek.  That way when users search those #hashtags your Tweets will come up.

Keep on top of trending #hashtags and use them where possible

This doesn’t mean just jumping on something because it’s hot, including an irrelevant but popular #hashtag in a Tweet about cheap flights is going to make you look like a spammer.  And NEVER jump on a tragedy to make a point, or promote a product.  Just don’t. Seriously.

Create your own

Remember, you can create your own #hashtags, which is a great way to promote a specific event, campaign or product.  For example, we created #TSHTips for when we share hints to make your life easier.

Create competition

Twitter users are more likely to retweet (RT) your #hashtags if they’re in with the chance of winning something, so why not set up a competition, raffle or contest?

Create some Twitter buzz by asking followers to mention a specific #Hashtag in their Tweets and reward them when they do.

Check your settings

Your hashtag’s visibility will depend on your privacy settings. If your Twitter account is private, only those you allow to see your Tweets will have access to your hashtags. If you are using hashtags to increase your brand’s exposure, make sure your Tweets are set to Public otherwise you’ll be missing out.

Be clear

If you’re using a hashtag to join a conversation, make sure the hashtag is specific and relevant to your topic. For example, if you’re talking about Obama’s health care plan, use #Obamacare instead of simply #Obama. A vague or generic hashtag like #health or #opinion isn’t effective either.

Keep it simple

Hashtags, like links, look like spam if they are used too often. While there’s no maximum limit to the number of hashtags you can use in a post, three really should be your lot on Facebook or Twitter.  Anything more and it can be difficult to read, and doesn’t give you much chance to add anything else to the conversation.

Don’t repeat yourself

Personally, there’s nothing worse than seeing someone use the same #hashtage more than once in the same Tweet.  Really, what on earth are you trying to achieve?

We love #Hashtags, #Hashtags are great.

No, just no.

 

Give context

So many people think a Tweet which just contains #Hashtags is enough to get a point across. It’s not.  Not only is it confusing, but it’s also really boring.

Why would you simply Tweet #happy?  What on earth does that mean?

Add context.

Equally, don’t just Tweet for the sake of Tweeting.  Make sure you are actually adding to the conversation, and not just appearing in search results.  For example, don’t just say Love #TheApprentice – no one cares.

Say something worth reading, or keep your mouth shut.

What’s the deal with #Hashtags?

When we talk to people about Twitter, one thing that comes up time and time again is the fact it’s just so damn confusing.

“All those hashtags – why can’t people just speak English?”

For many, the humble # makes text seem confusing; but the reality is it’s an integral part of how we communicate online these days.  As such, if you’re going to use Twitter on any meaningful level, you need to find out how to use them.

The basics

The purpose of a #hashtag is to turn any word (or string of words) into a searchable link.  Why’s that important, you may well ask (and again, many do).

Essentially it means you can organise your own content, and track specific topics of discussion based on those particular keywords.

Like cake?  Who doesn’t?  Type #cake in to the Twitter search bar and BOOM – everyone else’s Tweets about #cake will immediately appear in chronological order.

What can you include in a #hashtag?

The reality is you there is no pre-determined list of #hashtags.  Of course there are many that are popular, either trending temporarily, or sticking it out for the longhaul.  But if what you want doesn’t exist, you can simply create your own.

The key thing to remember is you can’t use spaces. If you do add a space, then the next character will form outside of the linkable #hashtag.  Even if you are using multiple words in the same #hashtag you MUST NOT use a space.

If you want to make your #hashtag easier to read, then consider using uppercase letters for the start of each word, for example #LuLovesShoes.

The good news is this won’t change your search results – #lulovesshoes would appear, regardless of capitalisation.

Numbers are supported, so tweet about #50ShadesOfGrey to your heart’s content. However, punctuation marks are not, so commas, fullstops, exclamation points, question marks and apostrophes are out. Forget about asterisks, ampersands or any other special characters.

Make yourself heard

How and why you use #hashtags will depend largely on what you’re trying to achieve, and also your style, tone and voice.

Lu likes to use her #hashtags as an aside, or to convey personality, humour (or more likely, sarcasm). Her current favourites include #SendCoffee #ShoeLove #ShoeGoals #MumOf5 #WhyGodWhy

 

The key to Twitter is getting involved.  Why not spend some time looking around, searching existing #hashtags and seeing what other people are doing?

 

Remember, we’re here to help – so if you need a crash course, or just have a quick question, don’t be afraid to get in touch. Drop us an email: hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk, call 0161 883 2024 or leave a comment.

How social media can help warm up cold leads

Yesterday I wrote a piece on cold calling, and today I thought I’d carry on that theme.

I always bang on about how social media is a great way to expand your audience and generally raise brand awareness, but it can be a huge help when it comes to warming up cold leads.

Let’s say you’ve done your research and you have a list of prospects you want to contact.  Yes, you could just drop them an email, or pick up the phone to schedule an appointment, but we all know the chances of you getting anywhere with that are quite remote.  Someone that doesn’t know you, and hasn’t had any contact from you in the past, isn’t going to jump at the prospect of working with you.

It can be hard to know how to make contact with someone you don’t actually know, but the reality is with social media you can reach out to countless people around the globe. Yet, for some reason, so few people actually bother.

If you look at your list there’s a good chance every company on there is going to have at least one social media channel.  It might be Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or Pinterest to name but a few.  If you’re serious about reaching out and starting a two-way relationship, then you need to start following them.

Not only that, you should actively interact with them.  Now, I don’t mean you should RT everything they post, that’s entering in to creepy stalker territory, but do get involved where it makes sense to.  Tag them in posts you think would be relevant to them, engage in conversation.  DM them when it’s appropriate to do so to introduce yourself, and perhaps your business and services.

If the company is on LinkedIn, follow them and share some of their updates.  You can also find out who some of the employees are at the business, which may make it easier for you to make contact and get a positive outcome further down the line.  Where possible make contact with these people.  You can always lead with “I’ve been following your business on Twitter for some time and would like to find out more about what you offer”.

I always say social networking is not simply about collecting names.  It doesn’t matter who you know if you don’t genuinely know them, and can’t reach out to them when you need something.  You need to take the time to nurture these relationships, and honestly it will pay off in the end.

 

What is the Twitter banner, and why is the landing page important?

Your Twitter banner, or header photo, is the first thing visitors will notice when they first click on your profile. When you send a Tweet other users will only see your profile image, but if they want to find out more about you, they’re likely to visit your profile – and they will see your header photo before anything else.

As a result, it’s important you give this aspect of your profile some careful consideration and don’t just leave it blank, or whack anything in there in the hopes that it will do.

When trying to decide what your header should look like, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How do I want to be perceived? What are my values?
  2. What do I want to communicate through my design? Am I trying to sell or attract?
  3. What are my key visual elements? What are your brand colours, logos or iconic products people should associate with you?

Your Twitter header needs to represent you or your brand, but it also needs to be striking to catch people’s attention.

Let’s have a look at this header photo by Starbucks.

image-4-starbucks-header

When you land on their profile you clearly see their logo as their profile photo, but the cover image also shows precisely what they’re selling, and is branded again with their logo on the cups. It does everything you need it to, and they update it on a regular basis – which is even better as it doesn’t get boring.

Here at Time Saving Heroes we offer cover image designs for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, so if you aren’t making the right first impression just yet, we’re on hand to help you.

Give us a call on 0161 883 2024 or email hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk to find out more.