I remember my first day on Twitter like it was yesterday. It was March 2, 2009.
I had heard about Twitter in an Internet marketing class in Toronto. Back then, Internet marketing was a shiny new idea -- and the thought of sending a tweet was intriguing.
I didn't have any Twitter expectations when I started. I figured I’d just see what the hubbub was all about.. and then I'd be done with it.
Fast forward to 2016 -- I’ve sent 159,000 tweets and I'm still going strong.
Twitter has become a HUGE part of my life. I’ve met my best friends on Twitter. I’ve traveled all over the world because of Twitter. I've even started a business on Twitter.
Even now, 7 years later, Twitter is super special to me. I'm blessed and humbled that I've had a lot of success with it.
I'm not a celebrity. I'm not famous. I barely take time to check my other personal social media sites.. but I know how to be successful on Twitter. Twitter is my thing -- well, that and Star Wars of course. :)
Twitter is very different now than it was back in March of 2009 when I started. Back then, it was a small community of geeks. Everyone pretty much followed everyone. It was all about the conversation.
These days -- it’s hard to get traction on a new Twitter account. It can take a long time to get followers and even longer to get any measurable engagement.
Plus, it’s hard to find actionable tips for how to be successful on Twitter. The people who are rockin Twitter don’t always share their journey (or how they got to where they are).
They talk about it, but they don't really talk about it, if you know what I mean.
If you're struggling on Twitter -- this post is for you.
I'm just a regular girl, and I’ve been able to grow my Twitter account to over 133,000 followers. I’ve built my Twitter following, influence and reputation 100% organically.
In other words, I've never bought followers or done anything shady to get ahead. It's all been pretty straightforward for me, and it can be for you too.
I can show you exactly what to do.
This is the accelerated 7-day Twitter success plan I wish I had years ago.
Let me warn you, this plan is hard-core, but it will deliver hard-core results!
If you follow these tips (without skipping any steps) -- I can almost guarantee you’ll see a difference at the end of only 7 days.
Then, it’s just a matter of repeating what you’ve learned. So much of Twitter success is tied to consistency.
Are you ready to get started? Make a promise to yourself that this is going to be YOUR best year on Twitter!
Here we go..
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How to Be Successful on Twitter
DAY 1 - How to Be Successful on Twitter
Today you don’t even need to log into Twitter to complete your tasks.
Instead, I want you to think about your why.
Why are you on Twitter in the first place? What are your goals? What do you want to achieve?
Let’s assume you are a sophisticated marketer or social media professional.
Your Twitter goals are most likely tied to:
- Increasing lead generation / sales
- Driving traffic to your website or blog
- Increasing brand awareness
- Improving relationships with customers
- Positioning your business as a leader in your industry
- Connecting with influencers in your niche
Get crystal clear about your Twitter goals. Your goals will affect everything you do including how you spend your time, and how you'll formulate your Twitter content strategy.
You’ve probably heard about the importance of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals -- and this applies to Twitter too.
In other words, make your Twitter goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (deadline).
Break your goals down into bite-sized chunks. Your annual goals can be broken down into monthly, weekly and even daily goals.
- Maybe by the end of 2016 -- you want to have a thriving Twitter community (totally do-able and measured by engagement)
- Maybe by the end of 2016 -- you want to be known as a leader in your industry (totally do-able and measured by influence)
- Maybe by the end of 2016 -- you want to have at least 10,000 followers (totally do-able)
- Maybe by the end of 2016 -- you want to have all of the above (totally do-able)
Only you know what your Twitter goals are. Once you have them clearly defined -- keep them handy. Your Twitter goals need to stay top-of-mind just like your other goals.
I didn't have any Twitter goals for the first few years, but then in 2011, I decided to set some goals and build my account.
From 2011 - 2013, I put myself on an accelerated growth path on Twitter. I followed this plan that I'm sharing with you today, and I added 50,000 followers over those 2 years.
For those of you who were around back then -- you'll appreciate this nostalgia in these pictures.
Twitter in 2011
(I took this screenshot when I hit 50,000 organic followers. I was so happy!)
Twitter in 2013
(I took this screenshot when I hit 100,000 organic followers. I remember I worked hard to achieve that goal.)
These days, my Twitter account is matured, and I'm not in an accelerated growth phase anymore.
I still follow this plan to some extent -- but I'm happy where I've settled at 133,000 followers (I follow 49,000 now).
I've come full circle, and it's all about the conversation for me again (like it was in 2009). I have a very engaged Twitter community. We're like family.
This 7-day plan is specifically designed for sophisticated marketers and social media professionals who want to thrust their Twitter accounts into that high growth phase.
Put some serious thought into your Twitter goals and record them before moving on to Day 2.
DAY 2 - How to Be Successful on Twitter
It’s time for some spring cleaning. Yep, today is the day to CLEAN UP your existing Twitter account.
Just like it’s hard to be productive while sitting at a messy desk, it’s hard to make an impact on Twitter with a messy account.
What does it mean to clean up your Twitter account? Great question! It's a 2-step process.
The first step to cleaning up your Twitter account is:
- Unfollow inactive accounts
- Unfollow spam accounts
- Unfollow accounts that aren’t providing value (noise)
- Follow new people you’d like to connect with (this will freshen up your Twitter stream)
There are 2 tools I can personally recommend for unfollowing and following Twitter accounts quickly and effectively.
The first one is ManageFlitter. I’ve been paying for the Pro version on ManageFlitter for a couple years now, but the freebie version will allow you to clean up your Twitter account (you don’t need to pay).
As you see in the image below, ManageFlitter is an easy way to see at a glance who is following you, who isn’t, who is inactive, who is spam, etc.
You can also use ManageFlitter to find new people to follow. It’s a very useful tool -- especially for Twitter accounts with over 10,000 followers. (many freebie tools won’t work well after you hit 10,000 followers)
Even now, I still use ManageFlitter to follow and unfollow hundreds of accounts every month.
When I was aggressively building my Twitter following a few years ago -- I followed and unfollowed around 5 times as many accounts every month as I do now.
You'll find it's hugely powerful to have an app you can depend on to help you manage your Twitter followers.
I remember in the beginning I tried to do it manually -- but it very quickly becomes an overwhelming, time-consuming task.
Give yourself a break and get an app to help you! The more you can streamline the process, the easier it will be to remain consistent.
If ManageFlitter isn’t your cup of tea, I can recommend another tool.
The free version of Crowdfire is also very useful for cleaning up your Twitter account. Like ManageFlitter, Crowdfire shows you who is following, who isn’t following, who is inactive, etc.
ManageFlitter makes it easier to know at a glance when someone’s last tweet was (so you don’t accidentally follow an inactive account). Both ManageFlitter and Crowdfire allow you to filter by keyword, which helps for growing a targeted following.
I don't use Crowdfire as much as I use ManageFlitter -- but they are both great tools to help you manage your followers. There are several other good tools out there too. Find one that you feel comfortable with because you're gonna be using it A LOT!
The second step to cleaning up your Twitter account involves sprucing up your profile:
- Update your Twitter bio (use all 160 characters)
- Include 1 or 2 hashtags in your bio (relevant to your niche)
- Update your Twitter avatar (if necessary)
- Update your Twitter background image (get creative)
Pro Tip: Get strategic with your background image! Consider using it as your call-to-action or to promote your next event.
I’m still shocked by how many businesses haven’t taken the time to brand their Twitter page. Nothing will torpedo your Twitter success like an incomplete profile.
Like I heard someone say once, “If you don’t take the time to complete your profile, I’m not going to take the time to follow.” It’s a big deal!
This is what our @PostPlanner Twitter page looks like. We swap out the background image each time we promote a new event.
DAY 3 - How to Be Successful on Twitter
You might be surprised to know that you still won’t be sending any tweets yet. We're still in the planning stage.
You’ll find that by properly planning your Twitter strategy -- your Twitter success will come easier and sooner than you probably think!
Today it’s all about gathering info. We all have our own opinions about Twitter, but making data-driven decisions is the most surefire way to succeed.
It’s time to dive into your Twitter analytics.
(If your Twitter account is brand new, you won’t have a lot of data in your analytics. But it’s still a good idea for you to familiarize yourself with this info.)
You can get to your Twitter analytics by clicking on your avatar image on the top right hand side of your Twitter profile page. Analytics are in that dropdown menu.
There is a menu at the top of the analytics page. By clicking on Audiences, you’ll be able to see your audience’s..
- Interests (hint hint.. this is the kind of content your audience likes)
- Gender (my audience is 59% male, 41% female)
- Net worth
- Marital Status
- Consumer Buying Styles
- Region (gives you timezone info for your audience)
- TV shows
- Wireless Carrier
- What kind of smartphone they have (26% of my audience views my tweets from an iPhone)
- And even.. how many own a home
Pro Tip: It’s not about what you want to tweet -- it’s about what your audience craves.
A lot of people get this concept flip-flopped. Tap into your audience's interests and find Twitter success.
You can also locate your top tweets in your Twitter analytics. By studying your top tweets, you can get a feel for the kind of content your audience likes to engage with. Then try to duplicate those results by copying the formula that worked in those high performing tweets.
My top tweet over the past 30 days is this tweet I sent on the night the new Star Wars movie opened.
The impressions and engagement seem high for only 19 retweets, right?
Keep in mind -- a tweet with 50 retweets can have less impressions and engagement than a tweet with 10 retweets.
Wanna know why? One word. Influencers.
This is why it’s important to determine which influencers are sharing your content. They are your brand ambassadors -- get to know them!
Who is retweeting your content? Are you building relationships with influencers in your niche? This info is important for you to know.
The reason my tweet got so many impressions and engagement is because @jack retweeted it. But see how the info is displayed on Twitter? It’s not obvious who clicked the retweet button.
Depending on how the person chooses to engage with your content, you may have to follow the Twitter breadcrumbs to get the data you need. But it’s worth it. Have fun in your analytics!
DAY 4 - How to Be Successful on Twitter
You’re really on your way now! You have your Twitter goals in place, you’ve cleaned up your Twitter account and you’ve collected important data about your current Twitter audience.
You know what kind of content your audience responds to -- and it’s time to take that information and start crafting some killer tweets!
So far you’ve used 2 tools..
You used the tool that helped you clean up your account (I suggested ManageFlitter or Crowdfire) and your Twitter Analytics. You’ll be using these tools a lot. Now it’s time to add a third one to your toolkit.
You need to start finding, creating, planning and posting your content.
There are several really good apps that can help you post your tweets. Some of the most popular ones are Buffer, Hootsuite and Post Planner.
I'm of course biased to Post Planner -- but it's not just because I'm the editor of this fabulous blog. It's because in addition to scheduling and posting your Twitter content, Post Planner helps you find viral content in your niche.
Post Planner is built for engagement, and the predictive content in Post Planner will allow you to make data-driven decisions on Twitter.
According to Buffer, Post Planner users get 650% more engagement than popular social media tools. Not only will this help you become more successful on Twitter -- it's a huge time saver.
It’s finally time to start planning your tweets!
If you’ve already built a Twitter audience and rapport, you probably have a good feel for how many promotional tweets to mix into your non-promotional tweets.
If your Twitter account is brand new -- I recommend that you follow the 80/20 rule until you’ve established yourself. That means 80% non-promotional content and 20% promotional content.
Be careful! Too much self promotion will get you unfollowed in a hurry! Check out this Twitter poll…
Pro Tip: The beauty of scheduling tweets is that it frees up your time to engage with your audience.
Don't fall into the trap of scheduling your tweets and then walking away for days at a time.
If you do that, you’ll have a much harder time getting the results you want. Instead, check your notifications. Reach out to people on Twitter whenever you can.
How many times per day should I tweet?
Nobody can decide that number except you -- but I recommend tweeting around 6 times per day.
When you're actively growing your Twitter account, you need to tweet like you mean it. 6 times per day is a good number.
Keep in mind -- the quality of your tweets is more important than the quantity.
Quantity and consistency are important too -- but like with everything else -- it’s all about finding the right balance.
Can I tweet my blog posts more than once?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
You put all that work into writing your blog post -- don’t just tweet it once!
Look back at your Twitter goals. Are you going to reach those goals by only tweeting each post once? Focus on what’s important.
Need some data to support this? I got it.
Wisemetrics studied 1 million tweets, compiled the data, and presented it in a post that will make you want to tweet your evergreen content over and over.
Below is a screenshot from their findings. Read the full article at Should You Repeat Your Tweets? Facts and Figures from 1M Tweets.
Test different blog headlines and images on Twitter. Don’t get lazy and only tweet the title of the blog post.
Try tweeting questions and sassy social headlines -- all with a link to the same blog post. See what works best with your audience.
Once you find a headline that works well -- stick with it! We do this on @PostPlanner almost every day.
Where can I find content to tweet?
Now that you’ll be tweeting at least 6 tweets per day, you are going to need a lot of content! And not just ANY content...but REALLY GOOD content.
Creating and curating Twitter content is an art form. But as a social media professional, you already know this.
If you use Post Planner, you can pull your favorite content sources into your app. This streamlines the process and makes it much faster and easier. Plus, Post Planner provides you with a ton of viral content that you can tweet anytime.
If you haven’t already.. start compiling a list of your go-to places for great content. Keep those handy at all times.
I've been working on my list of favorite content sources for 7 years. I'm constantly adding and removing sources from my master list.
Be sure you schedule one week’s worth of content TODAY.
At 6 tweets per day for 5 - 7 days, that’s 30 - 42 tweets.
Just to give you some context -- this would take me about 1.5 hours. When I was a Twitter newbie, it would have probably taken me 3 hours.
DAY 5 - How to Be Successful on Twitter
Just to review -- before going any further, you should have:
- Completed your Twitter goals
- Cleaned up your account
- Gathered some important data about your Twitter audience
- Scheduled a week’s worth of tweets
If you haven’t completed any of these things -- please go back and do them before moving forward.
Next, let's talk about consistency. You're a sophisticated marketer, so you know the importance of being consistent on Twitter.
From today forward, it’s important to do these 4 things every day (except on the weekends if you choose not to tweet on Saturday and Sunday) -
- Every day tweet at least 6 times (schedule these tweets)
- Every day reply to a few tweets (become part of the community)
- Every day comment on a few tweets in your timeline (make connections that go beyond just following)
- Every day retweet at least 1 relevant tweet that catches your attention (share the love)
In addition to these things -- PIN A TWEET TODAY!
Pinning a tweet allows you to get more mileage out of a single tweet that showcases your brand.
Your pinned tweet could be:
- Your best piece of content
- A Twitter card (which is capturing email addresses for example)
- A tweet about your brand -- it could showcase your brand’s values
- A gorgeous photo you took of a recent sunrise
- Anything you choose!!!
Pinning tweets is a brilliant way to get more engagement on a specific piece of content. Pinned tweets are powerful marketing tools -- so don’t forget to pin a tweet!
Keep in mind, people will view that tweet each time they come to your profile. Be careful not to be too sales-y or overly self promotional in your pinned tweet.
And of course, for maximum effectiveness, always include a photo in your pinned tweet!
Pinning a tweet is easy. First you tweet it, then you pin it. Simply go to the 3 dots (…) at the bottom of your tweet. Click on the “Pin to your profile page” option. To unpin a tweet, go to the same menu in the same tweet and click “Unpin from profile page.”
This is what a pinned tweet looks like:
How long should I leave the same tweet pinned?
There is no cookie-cutter answer to this question. I would recommend leaving your tweet pinned until people stop engaging with it. That might be a week, it might be 2 weeks, it might be a month, it might be longer.
Don’t set it and forget it though. Change out your pinned tweet whenever it's appropriate. Again, Twitter analytics can be helpful to get the data you need to make this decision.
Pro Tip: Combine your pinned tweet and your background image to make an effective call-to-action.
You can see an example of this on the Post Planner Twitter page image earlier in this post.
Your background image and pinned tweet can work together to guide your Twitter followers to the next step. In the Post Planner image above (see Day 2), it invites people to check out our Facebook webinar.
DAY 6 - How to Be Successful on Twitter
Today it’s all about big Twitter learnings! Set aside some time to learn about:
- Twitter chats and how they can help you grow your following, engagement and influence
- Twitter lists and how they can help you filter tweets so you can easily manage your stream
- Basic Twitter psychology
- Twitter emojis (their role on Twitter is bigger than you think)
- How to tweet upside down (and other funky tactics to help you get noticed on Twitter)
- The different types of retweets and how each one affects your engagement
- How to find popular Twitter hashtags
- How to create your Twitter content strategy
- How to manage your follower to following ratio
- Data-Driven Guide for how to be better at Twitter
I've already done the research on each one of these to make it easier for you. Just click on the links above to read about each one!
DAY 7 - How to Be Successful on Twitter
Welcome to day 7! Are you starting to feel like a Twitter rockstar? You should be!
Every 7th day, in addition to your usual list of to-dos, you’ll need to do a few more things. This is what your to-do list will look like every 7th day:
- Tweet at least 6 times (schedule these tweets)
- Reply to a few tweets (become part of the community)
- Comment on a few tweets in your timeline (make connections that go beyond just following)
- Retweet at least 1 relevant tweet that catches your attention (share the love)
- Go into the app you used on Day 2 and unfollow anyone who hasn't followed you back, unfollow any accounts that have gone inactive and unfollow any spam accounts that you accidentally followed. Then follow 500 new people. You can find targeted people to follow by doing a keyword search or by checking out who your friends, colleagues, competitors, mentors, etc. follow.
I know number 5 on this list is controversial.
I believe the quality of your followers is more important than the quantity. It's better to have 5,000 targeted followers who care about what you’re tweeting than 10,000 who don’t care.
I get it that some people disagree with unfollowing those who don't follow back. I don't follow everyone back -- and it's not something I expect when I follow someone.
But when you're in an accelerated growth phase -- it's different!
Here’s the rub..
When you're in that growth phase -- it's important to be strategic. (otherwise the process will take much longer)
This is one of those things a lot of people won't talk about -- but it's relevant to your success.
When you're trying to grow your Twitter account (especially if you’re doing it from scratch) -- it’s important to proactively grow your followers.
You need to focus on connecting with people who want to connect with you back. It’s hard enough as it is to get traction on Twitter -- and you want to build an army of allies.
The exception to this rule is those accounts that offer you tremendous learning, value and fun. Those are the accounts that we all love following (regardless of a follow back).
Once your Twitter account has matured, this isn't a big deal anymore. But when you have big goals and you're working like hell every day to achieve them -- focus on building mutual relationships.
You can’t make a huge Twitter impact with a skimpy following. It's simply the law of numbers.
Sure, you might have a viral tweet every so often -- but you need exposure (and lots of it). So pay attention to who is following you and who isn't!
It’s also important to keep your 'follower to following' ratio in check because people will look at that when formulating their first impression of your business. This could affect whether or not they follow you back and pay attention to your tweets.
If you're going to take my advice and follow 500 new people every 7th day -- you're going to need to unfollow some of the accounts that didn't follow you back so you can keep this ratio in check. There's more info about the 'follower to following' ratio in one of the posts linked in Day 6 (above).
Once you get some momentum going, there's no reason you can’t add 700 - 1,000 new followers each month (or more) by following this plan.
If you're a social media professional who is struggling to get new followers for your client -- bookmark this page and try this plan. You'll be pleasantly surprised!
Being successful on Twitter is like The Hunger Games. You have to learn to be likeable, sharpen your skills, find allies and never give up.
If you've made it through all 7 days of this aggressive and accelerated plan -- you've successfully completed your crash course in Twitter marketing. You're on your way to being very successful on Twitter!
It took me years to learn what I've put in this post. I can only imagine where I'd be on Twitter now if someone had given me a plan like this. I hope you find it to be super helpful.
Continue what you learned here every single day. Consistency is a cornerstone of Twitter success!
Be sure to measure your progress along the way. When you look in your Twitter analytics, you should start seeing more engagement and more followers each week.
If you notice something isn't working -- change it immediately. It's all about fine-tuning the process by making daily tweaks to your strategy.
Everyone's Twitter experience is different, but I can promise you this..
Twitter is a lot more fun when you have retweets, new followers and notifications every time you log in.
(Instead of it feeling like nobody is paying attention to what you're tweeting!)
Just like anything else, you'll get out of Twitter what you put into it. I want you to build a thriving page buzzing with activity!
Thank you for reading my article -- and I'll see you on Twitter. (I'm at @adamsconsulting)
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