At first tweet, Twitter can look like a jumble of irrelevant thoughts and an overwhelming flood of industry news. Businesses usually start using it by joining the crowd. They share content that can drive some traffic to their sites, but rarely maximize the potential of the micro-blogging platform.

A lot of companies are tweet in something of a vacuum: they scramble to get an interesting link or promote a new blog post, share it on Twitter and call it a day.

Sure, that’s tweeting. But it’s also really, really boring.

To actually build a strong, active following on Twitter, you need to establish a unique voice among your industry peers, prospects and customers. In short – stop being boring.

Here are five ways to do that:

1. Comment on the Stories Industry Peers are Sharing

Too many businesses – and people – rely on Twitter to just send out content. They rarely stop and interact with all the other Tweets out there. By watching the industry news being tweeted, you can buck the trend by retweeting a piece of content with your own opinion in front of it, or directly engaging with someone by tweeting your opinion about the issue.

2. Start a Tweet Chat

Besides being an awkward phrase that uses a verb as an adjective, a “tweet chat” is something that can generate a lot of engagement on Twitter. You just need to make sure other people get involved.

Usually, a few different businesses will start discussing the same subject for a certain time frame and make sure every tweet has the same #hashtag (e.g. #firsttweetchat). The other option is to promote the tweet chat beforehand and hope that, at the anointed time, people start tweeting about the subject.

If you’re sure there are going to be people attending the tweet chat, you can be the moderator by asking questions (e.g. “What’s the best way to start a tweet chat?” #firsttweetchat).

3. Try Promoted Tweets

Businesses can pay Twitter to broaden the reach of their tweets. Promoted tweets can be useful, because Twitter can narrow down the audience by demographic and industry. This can be handy for getting new followers and driving your audience to content, but it’s important to tweet something that doesn’t seem like spam. That way, you can stay authentic while paying for social content.

4. Use Hashtags

Twitter is famous (or maybe infamous) for popularizing the hashtag. The endearing little “#” symbol has even become so popular – and useful – that Facebook has decided to use them.

One to two hashtags per tweet boosts discoverability by indexing your tweets with all the others that have the same hashtag. More than that makes your tweets look like spam.

For March’s Twitter handle, popular hashtags include #socialmedia, #contentmarketing, #analytics, #bigdata, #PR, #marketing.

Search around Twitter to look for hashtags that fit your industry, then use them whenever you tweet about that topic to improve the visibility of your tweets.

5. Get Retweeted

Getting retweeted is one of the best ways to get more people involved with your brand. You just have to tweet something interesting enough that people will want to share it with their followers.

Therein lies the biggest obstacle. How can you really be sure you’re tweeting something that people will think is good enough to share?

HubSpot did some research on the subject and found that retweets:

  • Usually contain links
  • Don’t contain self-references
  • Mostly contain news items

At March, we’ve definitely found that news gets retweeted the most. The best strategy may be to include your own opinion about the news, too, adding a little flavor to it.

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

Out of all the social media networks, Twitter can be the easiest to launch and the hardest to master.

It’s easy, because there’s no real landing page to set up and no complex interface to figure out.But it’s hard to get traction. Businesses that are boring on Twitter are going to find it almost impossible.

Social media is about establishing your company’s voice. By proactively reaching out to other people on Twitter and using best practices for discoverability, your business can stop being boring and become a #Twitter handle that people want to follow.

 

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