Twitter for Entrepreneurs - Part 3: What to Tweet (The NILE Method)
One of the first things people usually get wrong about Twitter is that it's a broadcasting tool - like TV, or websites from 1990s. Well, it's not! If you look surprised, it means you need to read more about Twitter etiquette at some point and you should learn what to tweet. Twitter is a conversation tool, not a tool for broadcasting - unless you're like CNN Breaking News or something, of course! And even then it's not, but it does work as one!
This is a very simple, but often overlooked feature of Twitter and it makes Twitter an amazing opportunity for small brands and individuals (with limited budget) to gain access to thousands of people - and many potential fans, followers, and brand advocates.
🔒 If you're a Facebook expert, please leave your Facebook knowledge right here before you continue. Twitter is a whole other world and it's gonna sound weird. Don't worry, it's safe here.
One of the effects of the internet and social media was that they democratised media. You don't have to have a degree or a big budget to be part of the industry anymore. But this democratisation, like any other real democracy, has created empowered users.
Now, everyone is creating content - blog posts, tweets, photos, status updates, and videos. Although it doesn't mean they all have high qualities, this infinite pool of content - the internet - makes it extremely hard for all these users to get noticed. In fact, it has caused a shift in value - from information to people's attention - known as the attention economy. Now, that's what we all are looking for: a piece of people's attention.
The usual case of disappointment
You have a great product or service and excellent content created for it, but you're reluctant to use Twitter. It usually goes like this:
- Why don't you use Twitter?
+ Aaaargh! What's the point!? It's useless! I tweeted for 10 days, and no one cared! No one Liked or Retweeted my tweets, let alone clicking on any of my links! I even followed like 2,000 people, but NOTHING!
Well, my friends, the recipe for success on Twittersphere includes more than just tweeting links to your content! The great content you want to share should be accompanied with some personality and a plan!
Now, let's get tweeting!
On Twitter, like any other party, you don't wanna be the boring one who has nothing new to say. You also don't wanna be the talker who people need an excuse to get away from! You're not the average Joe of your industry! You're the expert - insightful, knowledgable, and dynamic with interesting thoughts on a range of subjects. You want to be established as the go-to expert of your industry. And your tweets should be a reflection of that.
When it comes to tweeting, it doesn't matter if you can only manage one tweet per day or 20 tweets per day. But whatever you choose, make sure you stick to it. Consistency is the key.
[clickToTweet tweet="When it comes to #Twitter, the key is to be consistent." quote="When it comes to Twitter, the key is to be consistent."]
To make consistency achievable, we, at Perspective iX, have come up with a method that we think would help you a lot. We've called it the NILE method.
Every tweet you post, based on its purpose, can be categorised in one of these four main categories:
- Network expansion;
- Industry authority establishment;
- Links to your content (product/service);
- Engagement with your audience.
A mix of these tweet types can keep your profile fresh and serve you in different ways you need Twitter to help you with. The ideal would be to have at least one of each tweet type in your daily plan, but again, the key is consistency.
The name of NILE method also is a reminder of the 4,258 miles length of the River Nile and how organic success on social media doesn't happen over night. It takes time.
Back to tweeting. Each tweet type in NILE method has different variations and they're not mutual exclusive. Keep reading!
One of Twitter's main advantages is that it helps you grow you network - and I mean like crazy! That, alone, is one of the reasons you should be on Twitter and use NILE method.
To do so, there are a few variations of Network expansion tweet type you can try, such as:
- compliments and 'thank you' tweets;
- Hey @someone, just finished reading your piece on that on this website and loved your perspective!
- Hey @someone, meet @someoneesle. He does this and I think you can help each other out in that project.
- answering others' questions.
- A: What's the best way to do this?
- B: @A, I think this is the best way to do it. Here's what helped me when I had the same problem: [link/image/etc.]
Doing these can have various positive results. You can get replies which is great - you've started a conversation! You can get a RT (retweet) - that would instantly increase the reach of your tweet! You can also get a like (used to be favourite!), which is an acknowledgement or thank you kinda thing.
Just remember not to be too self-promotional; that's the tone people are usually not very fond of.
Industry authority establishment
If you want to be successful, you need to be established as an expert - not another average joe. To do so, you need to translate your expertise into Twitter:
- Tweets with interesting and relevant information, such as facts, charts, industry news, etc;
- Advices (or answering others' questions) with focus on the content/advice being yours and original.
Your advice doesn't have to be specific to a person, it can be public advice - like sharing tips and tricks. But remember, its being specific to a topic can help you establish your niche.
Genuinely great people usually try to stay humble - and that's great. However, they usually tend to forget how qualified and successful they are. They're too close to it to remember, but others are not. Establishing authority in your industry takes time and effort. It also needs reminding people of your expertise.
Remember, if you have devoted your life and career to a single topic/work/industry, you most probably know a lot more about that topic/work/industry than others in different industries who need your product/service.
Links to your content
Well, this is the type of tweet that you were waiting for! Tweets about you and your business! This is were you can promote your product/service; following a simple rule of thumb:
[clickToTweet tweet="Twitter rule of thumb: No more than 1 tweet in 4 should be promotional & even that has to be subtle. #TwitterTip" quote="No more than 1 tweet in 4 should be promotional. And even that has to be subtle."]
Remember, overdoing this type of tweet turns your account into a self-promotional spammer! And soon, people will stop loving you. #justsaying
Engagement with your audience
Last, but by no means least, purpose of creating and sending a tweet is to engage with your audience on Twitter. Your tweet needs to reach your audience, but that's not enough. You still need them to care about (or as in attention economy lingo, pay attention to) your tweet and engage with it.
In general, Twitter engagement can be in form of a mention/reply, like, retweet (RT), voting in your poll or clicking your link. These are types of engagement you can shoot for.
But here the focus is on engagements that would get your audience talking: mainly replies and polls. This type of engagement can help you get involved with your audience, get to know them - and hopefully collect some feedback. This way, not only you can use the feedback to improve, but also your audience would feel more involved and create a better relationship with you or your brand.
To increase engagement, tweets should be easy to engage with. These can be questions with one/two-word answers or polls. Don't ask people to write you an essay - it's too hard to engage with. It's also difficult for audience when you give them too many options. The more focused the question, the easier it is to engage with.
Twitter Polls: Advantages and Disadvantages
The advantage of Twitter polls is that they look different and they stand out in people's timeline. They are even easier to engage with comparing to quick questions. They also encourage people to vote for two reasons: people need to vote in order to see the results; they also notify people when a poll has finished and what the final result is. Many people are interested to see the final results.
However, the main downside of Twitter polls is that you won't know who has voted. You will get the feedback and engagement you wanted, but won't know who it's from. But depending on your engagement goal, you can choose the type of question to ask and the type of answer to look for.
Keeping a fresh mix of purposeful tweets will help you reach to and get the attention of your target audience. NILE method can help you achieve that with little effort - instead of running out of ideas what to tweet or starting to spam people's timelines.
Now, which tweet type do you like the best? Let me know in the comments 🙂