Biz Tips: Say it first, and say it often

Biz Tips: Say it first, and say it often


Say it first, and say it often

“Live” content gets so much better engagement than pre-scheduled tweets. — Janet Murray

People who say they don’t care about boosting their Twitter engagement aren’t that engaging. They’re missing one of the key elements in a platform that — at its best — is a non-stop cocktail party.

Janet Murray’s background is journalism content, spending 18 years writing and editing at newspapers. If reporters aren’t engaging, they won’t get stories. That carries over to entrepreneurs who want to succeed.

“I help small-business owners get better at marketing so they can make more money,” she said. “I help them with blogging, social media marketing and email marketing.”

As part of engagement, Murray talked with marketing entrepreneur Madalyn Sklar about making content stand out, the ideal tweet schedule and frequency, getting tweets featured in the media and much more.

The ManageFlitter application also helps manage Twitter engagement as its co-founder Kevin Garber explained.

“ManageFlitter can be used to curate and grow your Twitter account in a meaningful manner,” he said. “That is, get genuine Twitter accounts in a chosen, relevant industry to follow you. You can do this by searching for the right accounts to follow with a percentage of them following you back.”

For that, Garber cited the app’s Power Mode feature.

“As your Twitter account grows with the right followers, engagement with respect to the right content improves and gets easier,” he said. “You also can use ManageFlitter to schedule Tweets for appropriate times.”

That’s possible through the app’s Power Post feature. Garber also suggested that searches for ManageFlitter on Google and YouTube will show ways customers use the product.

Engagement is the key to strong social media return on investment. To that end, you can post social media optimally for greatest effect.

“For maximum engagement, make it about your audience not about you,” Murray said. “Don’t tell them about your latest podcast. Ask them a question that relates to the topic of your podcast.

“Polls and questions are more engaging,” she said. “You don’t always have to stick to business. People like to know the person behind the brand. My best performing post recently was about Toblerone. Hashtags help, too, but the content has to be engaging.”

Content that stands out starts with being eye-catching. That means graphics or video. This gets attention, but then you need words — possibly a call to action — to really be memorable and engaging.

“Have personality and don’t be vanilla,” Murray said. “For example, I used a poll to create a hashtag I could use for the London Marathon. It was engaging and fun. People don’t want to talk business all the time.

“I love Andrew and Pete’s social media content,” she said. “It’s engaging, fun and remarkable. There is so much dirge. You have to stand out.”

Twitter also can be a powerful research tool. Combined with advanced search, compiling lists to suit your audience, topics and competitor monitoring will give you great, no-cost, constant Twitter research.

“If you want to connect with journalists, Twitter is the place to be,” Murray said. “Use hashtags such as #JournoRequest, #haro or #SourceBottle to connect with journalists who are already looking for help with stories.

“You also can make twitter lists of journalists on your target publications and shows,” she said. “Build relationships over time.”

Murray included how-to-connect and how-to-find examples to contact journalists.

Pictures and videos on Twitter are most effective when they are tied to and support the subject — not something placed solely to catch eyes or shock. Every element of a tweet should support the others.

“Everything is a content opportunity,” Murray said. “I love to snap ‘real life’ content. This picture got great engagement. I used Snapseed App to add price tags.

“Another example of ‘live’ content is one I snapped on the go,” Murray said. “This gets so much better engagement than pre-scheduled tweets. Content is all around you.”

For photos and videos, Sklar recommended Twitter’s Media Studio. Users can put metadata and a call to action in their videos.

“Small businesses need to be tweeting way more than they think,” Murray said. “Author and podcaster Mike Kawula urged me to move up to 15 to 20 times a day — and more. There’s much better engagement.”

Participating in chats is an effective way to grow a Twitter account. Murray — who runs the weekly #ContentHour chat — offered her Top 3 interaction tips:

  • Show up regularly so people get to know you over time.
  • If you know the topic of the chat, prepare relevant links of your own content to share.
  • Focus on chatting and getting to know people rather than “selling.” That’s a turnoff.

“If you’re just chatting and being a helpful person, people will get to know who you are and what you do anyway,” Murray said.

Call them guidelines

The media is increasingly including Tweets in their stories. If they keep key guidelines in mind, people can maximize opportunities to have their tweets featured.

To be included in stories in a good way, stick to the facts. That might sound dull, but it beats sensationalism and untruth, which gets you known for all the wrong reasons.

“Journalists love firsts,” Murray said. ‘If you can be the first on the scene, the first to get the video footage, the first to get pictures — you’ve a good chance to get your content picked up.

“A great photo can sell a story,” she said. “Maybe invest in an iPhone photography course. That will help in all parts of your business.”

The same holds for video, why is why Murray also suggested taking an iPhone video course.

“Journalists do use hashtags, but not as much as us business owners,” she said. “Make sure your biography is optimized and you’re actually tweeting about things you’d like to talk to the media about. It’s amazing how many people don’t — said as former journalist.

“Make Twitter lists,” Murray said. “Follow journalists you’d love to connect with. Don’t wait for them to reach out about a story. Build relationships, and reach out to them.”

Her final bit of advice: “Don’t be afraid to have an opinion. Journalists ain’t interested in fence sitters.”

For a deeper dive on Twitter engagement, see Murray and Sklar’s Facebook Live conversation.

About The Author

Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services and worked in public affairs for the Air Force and federal government. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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