With a billion tweets per week, Twitter has become a place for people and organizations of all types to share their thoughts, reading lists and whereabouts. Real estate pros, politicians, non-profits, journalists and small businesses are all using the social platform to connect with their communities and meet organizational goals.
Whether you're a Twitter novice or tweeting pro, there are always ways to improve your presence on the microblogging service. Here are five ways to make your Twitter stream more valuable and dynamic for followers:
1. Get Visual
A sampling of photos recently tweeted by Gregory's Coffee
If you're at a loss for words, try sharing pictures or videos instead. Multimedia adds a new layer to your tweets and lets followers into your business' otherwise-unknown world.
Gregory's Coffee, an espresso bar with three locations in New York City, operates a lively Twitter stream, loaded with behind-the-scenes photos of latte art, pastries and employees. The photos give the coffee shop a warm and cozy persona, inviting tweeps to venture over to the shop for a nice cup o' Joe.
Brands are using photo sharing apps in creative ways to bring fans closer to the action. Using apps, like Instagram and PicPlz, smartphone photographers can take advantage of photo-editing tools, including filters, that can make any picture look more interesting.
2. Get Physical
Social technologies, like Twitter, aim to connect people. But the digital world has, in some cases, made it a bit more challenging to genuinely connect with those around us. At tech events, for example, it's not uncommon to see a group of people standing in a circling tapping away on their smartphones. Business people should be cognizant of how they are using social media and understand if their behaviors are hurting or benefiting their relationships.
One way to use Twitter for physically connecting with colleagues and customers is to tweet out when employees or reps are attending industry events or making appearances at related venues. Such tweets invite real-life interaction.
The GEM Hotel, a boutique hotel with three locations in New York City, maintains an active presence on Foursquare, checking in to nearby venues that embody the lifestyle of a GEM patron. The hotel occasionally shares its checkins via Twitter and automatically tweets when it "becomes mayor" or unlocks a badge on Foursquare, adding a bit of playfulness and humanity to its Twitter stream.
3. Get Personal
With humble beginnings, many small businesses live on their stories. Talk to a small business owner, and you'll likely discover a passionate individual who is happy to share every small detail about his or her company's founding. You'll learn where it all began, what the founding idea was, how the company grew throughout the years and what unexpected lessons were learned along the way.
In the spirit of that small-time, homey feeling, small businesses on Twitter can tweet about family events, employee softball tournaments and personal anecdotes. There's a fine line between adding a personal touch and going overboard, though. Boloco, a Boston-based burrito chain that has grown substantially since its first opening in 1997, understands that balance.
Boloco's Twitter stream is mainly composed of tweets to individuals. Tweet after tweet, Marketing Maven Sara Steele-Rogers and CEO John Pepper answer questions for and converse with Boloco fans. The two add a more personal touch, though, when special occasions arise. For example, a couple recently got engaged at a Boloco location—and the team was quick to congratulate the love birds on Twitter. Tweets like that add a personal and intimate flair that showcases a business' appreciation for its fans.
4. Get Inspired
It's difficult to be creative all the time—when you're in a linguistic rut, turn to other tweeters for inspiration. For small businesses, the first stop should always be those who are tweeting about you. When a jewel of an @mention appears, retweet it. Besides sharing a customer's positive story with your followers, you'll also be empowering that tweeter. It's a great feeling when a brand you admire acknowledges your tweet with a simple retweet.
Trapp Family Lodge, a 2,500-acre resort in Stowe, Vermont, spends most of its time on Twitter retweeting satisfied guests and upcoming visitors. When a user posts an image from the estate or calls out a great experience, you're sure to find it on the Trapp Family Lodge Twitter account. Such tweets also double as customer reviews for the company, which can drive your business even more.
5. Get Smart
Twitter is all about value—users want value out of the accounts they're following. Value can come in the form of exclusive deals, contests and even expertise. While deals and contests may take a bit more legwork to get off the ground, expertise is something that any small business owner or rep should be able to share at the drop of a hat.
Face Place, a spa with locations in Los Angeles and New York, dedicates its Twitter stream to providing daily skin care tips. Most recently, the spa has tweeted about makeup-removal tips, how blood sugar levels affect complexion and which foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for your skin.
Try spicing up your Twitter stream with tips and trivia related to your business. Your followers will appreciate the random facts you're providing and tune in for the next tidbit.
Image credit: xotoko