So, you wanna get serious with Twitter? Ok, let’s get serious then!
There are so many sites and social media Gurus out there that tell you how to use twitter. I’ve been using Twitter for both private and business reasons and have my own thoughts on this, for some, still super confusing social media outlet.
Now, I am not a social media pro or anything. This is just to get you started and some of you probably know all of this already anyway. Everything I am going to babble about here is from personal experience and preference so take it with a grain of salt, a’right? Good.
Too much information – or how to get started and not overwhelmed
Twitter can feel super chaotic and it might be hard to know where to start. Additionally, as with any social media channel, it’s easy to spend way too much time on it without really getting much out of it (yes, looking at you, Facebook!)
So here is a quick starter list:
- Decide what your goal is with Twitter (this.is.important) – see next point
- Spend proper time on creating your profile. (Here is a great article :))
- Make sure everything is according to your branding (see branding below)
- Look for the influencers (just a fancy word for “important or well known people” really) in your area of interest
- Create Twitter lists and start following people
- Create your own content or retweet
- Engage in conversations
In general, if you want to use any social channel for more than just checking in, share pictures of your food or hit that like button on a friend you haven’t seen in ages, it’s a good idea to use already available software.
Here is the rough truth: You have to choose a few, very special people who you really want to read tweets from, Dunbar’s Number says 150. That’s not a lot..for the fact that many really big Twitter accounts have and follow over 20k users (or more). That gives you an idea how important that big number on Twitter “really” is. <insert sarcastic face>
So, even if that sounds super selfish, create lists on twitter and then pick 150 accounts that you REALLY are interested in and want to follow. As nice as it would be to follow (in this case I mean, read what they post) everyone that followed you, chances are that you will miss things that are more important to use your social media channel for the goal you want it to. After all, we are talking using Twitter for a specific reasons, to improve your viewers, brand, whatever you’ve chosen. Not for private reason. Right? Right.
Now this is where Hootsuite comes in: using twitter to check your lists and what people in those lists posted is, in my humble opinion, still very fidgety. In hootsuite you can create specific channels for lists or even search words.
My setup for work looks something like this: I have a tab for gaming journalists, one for gaming news, one for fellow game developers/friends and a few additional channels where I use a hashtag search for our games. That way I easily see tweets and conversations that are important to me, neatly presented.
Hootsuite lets you add several social media accounts including Facebook account in one nifty, handy UI. It also creates tabs for mentions, tweets or retweets etc for your social media accounts. There is even integration for more than one person to be able to work on the same accounts, statistics and much more.
Isn’t Twitter kinda useless? – or what I use it for
So, depending on what you do, the use of Twitter will be different. There are a hell of a lot of uses for it, though and all of them are really helpful. To only name a few options:
for PR/Business Dev (networking)
Add people you are interested to the list mentioned above and engage in discussions. Do NOT pitch to them or engage them coming off as a salesperson
for Customer Support (interacting with users)
Make a list with a search word for your game, username or whatever you would like to keep track off and make sure to get back to people trying to help with a problem they might have regarding your product
for Community Building (interacting with users)
Make a list with a search word for your game, username or whatever you would like to keep track off and engage, like and react to their posts and conversations
to increase reach (funneling your content)
Create your own content that is interesting to users on an external site and lead them back to the place (FB Page, Website, Download) you’d like them to go or just get your name out there in general
Depending on your goal you will use Twitter slightly differently but there is one thing that all of these have in common: You will need to set a goal and then track that goal. Hootsuite or Bufferapp are good tools for this. Of course, there is always private use. I trust I don’t have to write about that, though 😉
Twitter is foremost a networking tool. Use it! It DOES work!
Automation (or how to gain more twitter followers – the wrong way)
Ok, listen. I am generally not a great fan of automation for social media. I am a firm believer that social media works best if you are not a robot and if you don’t give people the feeling they are one of many (looking at you, automated-DM-thankyous for following..) However, there are tools that really work, among practices I really hate.
Common Practice with follows
First things first, it’s still considered good twitter form to refollow your followers. You can do that easily since even if you do not know that person, thanks to the fact that we are totally selfish bastards with our 150 list, it won’t clutter up your twitter (sorry for that really harsh word but let’s be honest here).
This is also where one of the oldest tactic for gaining followers comes from: Most accounts with tons of followers look for people with similar interests (search for relevant hashtags) then follow people randomly. You know Quality over Quantity. The thing is though, most of these accounts tend to just unfollow you again after a few days and most people won’t notice. There is also the “wow! this person/account has so many followers, I am flattered they are following me, so I am totally following back”-effect.
On the other hand, some users might just unfollow you again because you did not follow them back. It’s like highschool all over..kinda. So what you do with this information is up to you.
In order to keep an overview over who is following you and who unfollowed (and who you missed following if you really wanna do that) there is statusbrew.com
Automatic follower thank yous – or how to be a robot
Then there are Automatic DMs for following. Basically, quite a few tools out there let you send automated private messages thanking people for a follow.
While I think the notion itself is nice I feel it’s very spammy and robotic. Especially it’s linked to a pitch or a website. So, I don’t do it myself but by all means, try it out and remember to add a CTA (Call to action as in: Visit my website, take a look at xy, follow me at xy etc..)
So this is something I actually really love and encourage. For one, you might have really cool ideas or articles to retweet but it’s important to not do it all the same day. Spread your content out and that’s where scheduling comes in really handy.
Another point for scheduling is the fact that you should tweet when your followers are most active. That might not always agree with your own schedule so again, scheduling comes in handy. (Use Tweriod to figure out when to best tweet)
Also, it’s never a bad idea to reschedule tweets you already sent to a different timezone. People might have missed it for one reason or another. You can either send it out again later the same day or a month from now.
A last word of warning about automization tools. It’s very tempting to use apps and software. Remember though that you need to give them access to your account and some of them might send out messages that might be considered spam.
Branding – or how to talk on Twitter
You know “branding” that word that gets thrown around in marketing so much, in my eyes it’s just a fancy word for “character”. If you are on FB or on Twitter just as “you”, it’s easy because, yeah, you are you, duh! It’s however pretty different with a company. There is a character to your company (or product). Most of the time that comes natural through the people that make up that company or stand behind a product. Make sure you use that character when you are communicating on Twitter for your product or company. It makes it stand out and easy for people to remember.
If you are a hip young indie developer you wouldn’t answer someone with: “Hello Sir, how may I help you” – your tone is going to be much more loose and personal in most cases. Just check out how some of the big Product Names have fun with their twitter accounts.
How to actually tweet – or there are 140 letters to this madness
- Add images or even better an animated gif. Giphy lets you tweet from their website and include anigifs directly into the twitter feed.
- Retweet for different time zones or people who missed your tweets (that’s where hootsuite comes in handy again for scheduled tweets)
- Shorter than the limit, so your tweet can easily be retweeted
- use relevant #hashtags
- Use url shorteners (either twitter’s in built one or the many available such as bit.ly which also lets you track stats)
- Tweet to big names or IPs, it’s fun and might get you new friends!
- Do a follower giveaway
How to use your hashtags
So, the totally self involved person I am, I googled for how to get featured by wacom on their products because I saw several friends having their artwork being promoted on the Wacom website etc and thought that was pretty awesome. Turns out there is a special hashtag for that: #madewithwacom
There are tons of hashtags like this that might be very relevant depending on what you are trying to do:
Just a few examples:
- For indiedevs trying to get some retweets and or eyes: #indiedev #gamedev #screenshotsaturday
- For Streamers to get eyes/attention: #twitch #twitchraid #giveaway #twitchshare
- For digital artists trying to get exposure: #madewithwacom #madewithphotoshop #digitalart
- For special software/engines: #madewithunity #unrealengine
These are just a few very obvious examples. Make sure you look into this and use your hashtags accordingly. It’s very much like search engine optimisation and keywords for google. What do you think someone who would want to see your content/tweet would be looking for? Oh and please #dont #do #this
Don’t be a dick (and other mistakes to avoid)
No seriously. I know that I generally say that on social media you need to be yourself. It’s too exhausting to try to be something/someone you are not but a bit of respect and appreciation goes a long way. If someone is reposting your content, thank them or at least give them a like.
- If you found really cool content that you retweet, make sure to include the source. You might just make some really cool friends along the way 😉
- Don’t post too often but don’t post too little
- Don’t make it all about yourself
- Thanking and retweeting every follower will fill up your timeline. Just thank them (personally, remember?) in a DM instead 🙂
I could probably go on and on and on about this topic but this is supposed to be a blog post/intro not a freaking novella 😉 If you have any questions, additions or feedback, feel free to tweet us or write us in the comments 🙂 (thanks for reading!)
TLDR; (you lazy bum!)
The Formula to remember
- Create interesting/sharable content
- Find your audience