If you don’t use Twitter, maybe your startup won’t fail, but be aware: you are definitely missing out on a great opportunity.
Twitter lets you get in touch with investors, journalists, influencers and people that could be interested in your product or service. Users. Clients. If you tweet, you have the chance to be part of the national and international startup ecosystem. You will meet entrepreneurs and citizens from your country and all over the world.
On Twitter you can build your online identity and reputation. You easily get visibility and brand awareness. Even at personal level. You could also get in touch and arrange a meeting with investors or partners during events. And more.
Your personal Twitter profile is as much important as your startup’s account. Maybe one day you will exit your startup. That time you will be happy to have worked on your personal account too.
Have no clue on what a startupper should be tweeting about? Here are a few tips to start tweeting.
Get into the Twitter world
Create Twitter lists. It is useful for you and your followers too. Startupper and investor lists are great tools to get in touch with your community and keep track of what is happening.
Identify influencers and journalists interested in your market, look at what they tweet, what hashtags they use, what they link to and who they follow.
Strike up conversations. When there is a startup event, identify the hashtag and tweet with it. Engage your followers, ask for their opinion, reply and RT interesting tweets.
Test your content. Best way to check if you are doing well is to test it empirically. Try different writing styles to share the same content and check the analytics. On Buffer Blog you can find a good tutorial about that.
Don’t act like a marketing agency. People like people. Here are some tips to promote your startup by showing the human side of your brand:
Your work. The greatest tweets you can share are about your (interesting!) daily work activities. Have you found something very useful for your startup? Share it. Did you just pitched to an investor? Tweet about it, if he’s ok with it. You had keep working late Friday night? Share a funny pic of your team eating pizza at the office. Solved a big problem? Spread word of the solution.
Mistakes and lessons. Talk about your mistakes. Do so in a positive way. What did you learn? It could be interesting for other startuppers. Try to categorize this with a special hashtag such as #whatIlearned
Answer questions. If someone asks a question on Twitter and you know the answer, share it. But don’t speak about things you don’t completely know.
Your company product and events. Share tips and tricks related to how to use your product or service.
Personal events. Sometimes it would appropriate to tweet big events of your life like weddings or births. But just some times.
How to tweet
Be a human being. Whether you are tweeting from your personal or business account, always keep in mind that you are a human being. If you are sharing an interesting article, try to be creative rather than tweeting just the link and title. Tweet about how the article influenced your point of you or why it was useful to your startup. Or simply the reason why you feel like sharing it.
Keep it shorter. Use less than 140 characters. If you want to be quoted of RT it is usually better to stay under 100/110 characters.
Don’t over-stuff. Moderate the use of hashtags and @ mentions and never start a tweet with @. When you start a tweet with @, Twitter thinks it’s a reply. Therefore, it will have a few chances to enter your followers’ news feed, because only people who follow both you and the mentioned person will be able to see it. If you want all of your followers see your reply, put a period before the @ at the beginning of your tweet (.@)
Contextualize. If you share a picture always say where you took it or why you are sharing it.
Retweetable words. Some words such as how to, check out, please, top 10, new blog post and so on, have more chances to be RT. Try using them and see what happens.
When to tweet
Same tweet twice a day. Half the world will be sleeping when you tweet the first time. Re-schedule your most important tweets at the same time 12 hours later.
During events. When you are participating in an event, try to be into the live tweeting stream. Say your opinion, RT quotes you liked, share pics and quote speakers.
When it makes most sense. You can use tools like tweriod.com. It analyzes tweets and your followers’ tweets and lets you know the best time to tweet accordingly of the likelihood of reaching the highest number of people.
Our friend Giulia, startupper at LeCicogne, asked on Facebook “what about the startup followers? Do you think a startup must follow back any of its new followers or just the people the startup is really interested in?”. So here we are with an appendix (thanks Giulia!)
To follow or not to follow?
There is no right answer to Giulia’s question. But keep in mind:
Better to be followed. In general, it is better to have more followers than following. You can always use lists to keep informed.
Follow your clients. From your startup’s account, follow back your clients. Your account can be a tool to manage your clients (and to find new ones)
Follower/Following ratio. With your personal account, try to find a balance: follow at least 1/3 of your followers. If they are too many, like 5000 or more, try to follow the ones that interact with your tweets. You can set an automatic reply to thank your new followers and say they are precious to you.