Twitter is an important part of your social media presence that we talked about setting up as part of the Summer of .Me, a project in which you FINALLY decide to focus on yourself for once and refresh your personal branding across the (social) web.
- Part 1: How to write an “About Me” (This article)
- Part 2: The Power User’s Guide to Twitter Rebranding: Tweet-Voice & Repeat Tweets
- Part 3: Soon…
This time we’ll focus on Twitter, the fastest and one of the largest social networks in the world – and how to rebrand the content on it to serve your personal brand in order to get new clients or find a great new job!
The fastest social network in the world may not be keeping up with the growth of its arch-rival Facebook, but it’s still a powerful tool to reach out to your audience, potential clients and employers.
Personally, I’ve found that I just stop regularly tweeting at certain points of the year and then “spam” my timeline after an interesting event. Both extremes prove fatal to the number of your Twitter followers who will unfollow you for under or over-tweeting!
Twitter is Not Instagram
So while you might think that a personal rebranding of Twitter calls for adjusting the avatar or background image (Hint: It does), it’s even more important to get your content in check, using a range of tools that include content scheduling apps to just making sure you tweet regularly.
Why? Well, unlike Facebook’s Instagram, Twitter ISN’T a visual social network. While you can add images to your tweets for some time now (we’ll cover that a bit later), it’s focus is and has always been on short messages and links.
That’s why comedians excel at gathering thousands of Twitter followers with their thousands of quirky tweets, jokes and pop-culture references that make us smile – and then follow them. For most people, it’s harder to see unique text than unique images, but in order to really upgrade your Twitter presence, you’ll need to focus on the content. Because content is king (just ask Polar.Me, which we wrote about the other day), baby!
Hack #1: Twitter’s Timeline Waits for No Man – Be Consistent!
Some people spam Twitter. By “spam” I mean a lot, a LOT of tweeting that takes over your follower’s timeline and just seems that you’re spamming them with tweets they don’t care about. What happens to most people is that they decide to be active on Twitter and then “spam” at certain times of the day, even sending multiple tweets in the short period of a couple of minutes.
While Tweet-storms have their place in the Twitter-ecosystem, it’s far better to post several times a day. The first reason is obvious: You won’t be spamming the timeline and you’ll seem very active on Twitter in general.
The more practical reason why you want to tweet 3-4-5 times a day at different times is because, unlike Facebook, Twitter’s timeline moves over time and stops for no man – or tweep! If you tweet something in the morning, it’s very likely that a lot of people won’t see it just 30 minutes later, let alone in the afternoon or evening.
“Art of the Start” author Guy Kawasaki did an interesting experiment he now calls “the art of the repeat tweet”. Kawasaki repeats posts to his Holy Kaw blog on Twitter four times a day, eight hours apart. In an example, he shared that while the first post got the most (739 clicks) number of clicks, the second (718) and third (565) were not far behind. If Kawasaki followed common wisdom, he would have tweeted the link to the post once and lost more than 1200 clicks.
A few years ago, I personally decided to adopt his strategy for Netokracija’s tweets and today we use them for the .Me as well. Because most people are not on Twitter 24 hours a day, they don’t even notice the repeat tweets. Repeating the posts actually proves useful to your followers because they don’t miss the content they followed you for.
This methodology is very useful for linking posts from your blog or other websites, but also works for plain text tweets or even jokes. You just need a simple Twitter scheduling tool, with a lot of them being either free of very, very affordable.
Here at .Me, we can recommend 3 tools: Hootsuite if you want a tool that supports multiple social networks, Tweetdeck that’s a power user’s tool for Twitter and supports scheduling – and my personal favourite – Buffer, which I’ll use to illustrate how to be consistent in tweeting:
Exercise: After you create an account on Buffer (or any of the other mentioned tools) you need to block Twitter.com and any other tool you’ve used so far to tweet your message across. If we plan on making a habit of planning out your tweets, your scheduling tool needs to be the only way you can easily tweet. This is why I prefer Buffer since Tweetdeck and Hootsuite do give you the option to tweet out right away. Buffer hides it.
Now that you’ve blocked (using various plugins for Chrome or Firefox) or uninstalled your favourite Twitter app (you’ll get it back later), set up Buffer as your go-to app, by either putting it into your bookmark bar or installing one of the many apps that add it to your favourite browser.
Our plan is simple: to write in our tweets regularly, either once a day or once a week and have them published throughout the time frame that we decided upon. I would personally recommend scheduling your tweets twice a week, once on Monday and then Thursday, which gives you two control days to re-write your tweets if you’re not happy with what you already have.
Warning: Keep in mind what you scheduled to be posted, because in certain situations you’ll want to remove a tweet that might not be appropriate. Imagine a comedian tweeting a pres-scheduled tweet joke about planes after one’s just crashed. Not funny.
Hack #2: Find Your (And Only Your) Tweet-voice
While Twitter might not be Instagram, good Twitter users are very similar to podcasters, the people that publish regular audio shows called podcasts (named after becoming popular thanks to Apple’s legendary iPod). Now, don’t think that Twitter is an audio social network – that’s Soundcloud.
What I mean when I say similar is that great podcasters have a unique voice with which they communicate with their audience. This voice specifically is not their baritone – it’s the style and way the speak, the tone of voice as well as the archtype they are trying to portray in their podcast.
The well-known founder of the This Week in Tech podcast, Leo Laporte, explained in one of their episodes how he plays the archetype of the good, well-meaning father-figure that guides the show; while Merlin Mann (of 43folders fame) played the “mad scientist” of the group, always having crazy ideas and tips. These archetypes are exaggerated and project a certain kind of persona that we then perceive as a brand – their personal brand.
Like Leo or Merlin, people will perceive you in a certain way. You can’t avoid that. What you can do is building a certain kind of image based on the content you tweet out. On a network that loves its 140 characters, every one of them will see your, what I like to call, “Tweet-voice”.
Do you use “!” all the time, showing how excited you are, or are you prone to asking a lot of questions. Do you send out tweet-storms based on your extensive knowledge of a topic, or do you make quirky remarks? By (over)using any kind of style or tone or type of tweet, you are actually influencing how your followers see you – and standing out in their timeline.
My personal Twitter voice is a very tech-loving Tweet users that (over)uses smilies all the time, to the point where my 🙂 and 🙁 have become a regular stable of any and all tweets I post. While smilies might seem like a very small part of even an only 140-character tweet, they do make a difference.
Exercise: I suggest thinking about what kind of persona you want to be, how you want your personal brand to be perceived on Twitter – and then finding examples of other, similar Twitter users. Then use the content you created in our last guide and adapt it to your favourite 140-character social network!
These two tips seem simple enough, but the challenge is implementing them and sticking to it. You need to find and stick to your Tweet-voice (as well as perfect it) while creating regular content by scheduling it and being consistent. Think you can do it? Try – so that next week we can move on with the Summer of .Me! 🙂
P.S. The Visual Rebranding
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, you do need to keep an eye out for design since unlike Facebook, Twitter users have a habit of following more and more tweeps. And who they follow depends not just on the content that we already covered, but also on whether their Twitter branding shows authority.
Neither Twitter nor Facebook want to be the next Myspace, so Twitter has few options to customise the look of your account, especially since removing custom homepage wallpapers to have the service look more uniform.
Thankfully, you can still go to your Twitter account’s settings and find several options under the, now almost invisible, “Design” tab. It might as well be 2010., since you can just pick a few premade background, a custom background and set some colors for the theme. Oh, and save. Now you see why we decided to focus on rebranding your Twitter presence through content – and not design.