There is no shortage of ways that entrepreneurs can spend their time. For online business owners, we often optimize for either 1) audience growth or 2) sales growth.
One of the biggest questions we hear from business owners is when and to what extent to prioritize social media. At SPI, we firmly believe in the power of email. But there are plenty of online business owners who have built huge audiences on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and now even Clubhouse.
But when it comes to social media, things get a little more complicated when your business isn't tied to your personal brand. Do you create social profiles for your company or do you focus on your own social channels to raise awareness of your company?
For the most part, SPI didn't have social media accounts for brands. But we're starting to change that starting with our new SPI Twitter account.
The Twitter for business opportunity
Twitter has changed a lot since it was founded in 2006. For starters, the iconic tweet length has been doubled from 140 characters to 280.
Twitter also introduced a feature called "Threads" that allows users to piece related tweets together into a longer idea. Previously, users had numbered their tweets to identify what Marc Andreessen referred to as "Tweetstorms". Now threads make it easy to share longer stories in a cohesive way.
If you want to use Twitter, be ready to write!
As a result, there is a lot more quality writing on the platform than before.
This point is worth repeating: since Twitter began as a “microblogging” platform, it is still primarily aimed at written content as opposed to photos or videos (with the exception of memes). So if you're considering using Twitter, be ready to write!
The user base of Twitter grew due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Twitter was originally predicted to grow 2.8 percent in 2020, but the pandemic has changed that. In October, eMarketer revised its forecast for 2020 to a growth of 8.4 percent.
With the world reopening, Twitter is projected to close at 2.4 percent growth in 2021, followed by 2.0 percent growth in 2022.
Nearly 69 million of Twitter's 315 million users are US based, but nearly 70 percent of all users are men. And according to Hootsuite, 57 percent of users are between twenty-five and forty-nine years old.
If that sounds like a typical audience, let's talk about how you can use Twitter effectively.
How people use Twitter
Before we can talk about growth, there are two ideas that we believe to be truths when it comes to user behavior on Twitter:
- People follow other people more than brands
- People follow accounts that are consistent and predictable
Let's talk about each of these topics …
People follow people on Twitter
Check out your own feeds on social media. How many brands do you see as you scroll down compared to individuals?
Chances are, it's pretty individual.
And the brands you follow … what do they have in common?
If you enjoy following a branded account, chances are they have a very consistent and human branding voice. They probably don't feel like a "brand" – they feel like a person.
Humans are social beings. And when it comes to social media, we'd rather be in touch with other people than with faceless brands.
This doesn't mean you shouldn't have a branded account. As mentioned earlier, SPI has just created its own Twitter account. Rather, this speaks to the importance of having a strategy and a brand voice on Twitter that sounds like a real person. More on that in a minute.
People follow Twitter accounts that are consistent and predictable
People on Twitter (or any other platform) are looking for one of two things: 1) entertainment, or 2) education. What needs will your account meet?
At SPI we focus on education. We know our audience follows us to learn about topics such as online business, podcasts, email marketing, affiliate marketing, courses, and community.
Our social media accounts must deliver on that promise to our audience. If you follow SPI you can expect to learn about these topics!
What can people expect from you when they follow you?
The more consistent and predictable you are, the easier it will be to build a following as it will be clear to a potential follower what they will gain from following you. Similar to email marketing, you need a compelling "opt-in" to make it clear what you are offering.
How to Grow Your Business on Twitter
How can you get the most out of your company's Twitter presence? As with any other medium or platform, growing your business on Twitter relies on the publication of consistent, high-quality content! You have an advantage if you:
- Twitter consistently
- Tweet about a consistent topic (or related topics)
- Have conversations about the same topics
The average Twitter user tweets once a month, while the most prolific users tweet 157 times a month, according to Pew Research. In fact, the top 10 percent of Twitter users make up 92 percent of the tweets on the platform.
One hundred and fifty-seven tweets a month would be about five tweets a day … doable, but a lot! The point is, even if you tweet once or twice a day, you stand out from the Twitter algorithm.
The more you tweet, the more impressions you get and the faster you grow!
The more your tweets are "retweeted", the more impressions you will get. The retweet is much more powerful than a "like" from your followers.
And the more you tweet, the more likely you are to create something that resonates!
Another recent change to the Twitter algorithm is Extending the reach of tweets beyond the followers of others. Twitter will now display tweets from accounts that people you follow have contacted – even if it's not a retweet.
This is a great opportunity for your business as it means more contact with people who are not already following you on Twitter.
But again, the key here is consistency in what you talk about when creating new Tweets on frequency.
The Twitter "community" opportunity
One of the best ways to consistently have conversations about your interesting topics is by integrating with various Twitter communities.
You will likely see references to "Marketing Twitter" or "Community Twitter" or "VC Twitter". These terms refer to Twitter “communities,” which are ideas but are not official things to follow or get involved with.
These communities usually form organically when individuals identify themselves as interested in specific topics and discussions. "Community Twitter" refers to the people on Twitter who talk about community-related topics. These communities are all relatively small, and you can find yourself within the community simply by following the accounts that are actively tweeting on the subject.
Sometimes users create Twitter lists of key accounts active in communities.
→ Follow the Team SPI list here or the Community Builders list from David Spinks
If you follow a reputable list, you will quickly learn what this community is like. By anchoring yourself in a community, you build relationships and credibility in the area.
Create your own Twitter community
A recent trend on Twitter is to use emojis to help create a community and represent a sense of belonging.
This was popularized in the 2020 US President's race when candidate Andrew Yang encouraged his supporters to use the blue hat 🧢 emoji next to their names to show they support the campaign.
We've seen this enter the business world as well, and the Morning Brew team encouraged their team to add a coffee mug emoji to their name. Now if you scroll down Twitter and see the coffee cup emoji, you can assume the account is a Morning Brew employee.
But we see it in churches too. Dickie Bush recently started a 30-day writing community called Ship 30 for 30. As part of his inclusion in the program, he encourages people to add the ship emoji to their names to show that they are participating.
These visual cues are a powerful way to create community, connection, and belonging.
The SPI approach to Twitter
How will SPI use Twitter?
Well, we're leaning on the idea that people tend to follow people. We created the @ teamSPI Twitter account (we'd love you to follow us), but we'll be using our platform to amplify our team's voices.
We have an incredibly talented team here at SPI. And we focus on different industries within the company, from courses to podcasting, solutions, affiliate marketing to community and more.
Instead of trying to cover all of these areas with our branded account, our team can join the discussions and communities they want and the @teamSPI account will boost its voices.
We want to use the SPI platform to improve our team, not the other way around.
That is why we invite you to follow us! Follow @teamSPI and you will follow our team and their unique voices and experiences related to doing business online.
Here is a Tweet thread Breakdown of How We Think About Twitter and How We'll Use It. Our goal is to get 1,000 followers on the @ teamSPI account ASAP and your help would go a long way!