Since Twitter has exploded onto the scene, it seems that we can’t even watch the local evening news without someone asking us to “Tweet them”. Celebrities are tweeting about their failing relationships, politicians are tweeting the final nail’s in their campaign coffins, and businesses are sharing press releases with gusto!
So where do you fit into the messy, fast and furious Twitter-verse? Good question.
I think finding your way on Twitter does take time, research and a good plan. But once you have these crucial elements a new question arises: how often should I tweet?
I love this question as it seems everyone has a different perspective on the correct answer. Some believe that it has to be based on time, others based on topic. While both of these are good points, especially for targeting purposes, they really don’t answer the question “how many”.
Let me throw my hat in the ring and attempt to not only answer this question, but give you a quick template on how to do it.
I believe that consistency and a plan are both crucial to a successful Twitter campaign. With every plan, I believe there should be a good mixture of activity so all of your bases are covered. Twitter gives you a few options in terms of activity/interaction and I want to focus on the main venues here: tweets, mentions, direct messages and re-tweets.
So, as you can see, there are several ways that you can communicate with others on Twitter. First, think about how much time you will be able to dedicate to marketing on Twitter everyday. Maybe you have a couple of hours (lucky you) or maybe just 20-30 minutes a day (which sounds realistic). Using this time frame, consider how many actions that you will be able to complete during this time and create a daily plan.
While this is a bit more practiced and could be labeled “not spontaneous” I think when you are a busy person (which I know you are) you need to tick things off your daily list with great speed. If you don’t, then things probably slip away from you and end up in the dreaded “Ah, tomorrow’s another day” pile.
Here’s a sample of how many “tweets” and other Twitter activities that I would suggest you execute on a given day with a little description of the importance of the activity:
Tweets (2): These come directly from you/your company and will contain content that is engaging, entertaining and/or educational. Share links, photos, videos, quotes or updates pertaining directly to items that you target market (followers) will enjoy reading and will be eager to share.
DMs/Direct Messages (2-5): These messages are sent privately between two Twitter users. If you have a relatively small number of followers, these do not come in fast and furious. They will once you begin to amass followers on a daily basis. Take 2-5 of the DMs that you receive and send a personal response to the Twitter user. This will help you get in front of your followers yet again and add that “personal touch” that many miss on Twitter.
RTs/Retweets (2): These are tweets from another Twitter user that you are sharing with YOUR followers with the click of a button. I suggest finding two influential Twitter users in your product/service category and RT (share) their tweet with your followers. This is a great way of getting in front of that influential person, while also sharing good solid information with your followers.
@replies/Mentions (2): When you type @ in front of a Twitter user’s name, your tweet will be shared within their main Twitter stream. Choose two influential people and tweet them about something that they have shared, or even something that you have seen in the media outside of Twitter – anything on topic. This is a great way to connect with influential people in your niche and will help you connect with more quality members of your target audience.
So my total for the 20-30 minute Twitter user is a consistent 8-10 per day. As your Twitter following begins to grow, you will need to spend more time as you will receive more mentions, RTs and DMs. By the time this happens though, you will be in a groove and will be able to handle everything that comes your way. When you do this everyday, you will hit your stride and after the first month won’t even need to worry about the number of Tweets that you put out. It will become second nature and the whole process will become organic.
Another good thing to mention is that there are tools such as TweetDeck and Hootsuite that can help you schedule your Twitter activity so that you don’t always need to be in front of the computer when your Tweets go out. Be aware that you should not depend on them 100% as it is helpful to keep a watchful eye on the live activity on Twitter. Also, sometimes these sites will go down for maintenance….and you could make you lose all of your scheduled activity. Just keep an eye on your actual account so that you are not shocked when you check back and see that your scheduled Tweets did not go out for the last two weeks.
I hope this sheds some light on how to get your act together on Twitter. If you can tweet more than this, do so! If you can’t, don’t! It is all about consistency – so only bite off what you can chew.