There is no shortage of ways business owners can spend their time. For online business owners, we’re often optimizing for either 1) audience growth or 2) revenue growth.
One of the biggest questions we hear from business owners involves when to prioritize social media and to what degree. At SPI, we’re big believers in the power of email. But a lot of online business owners have built large audiences on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and now even Clubhouse.
But when it comes to social media, things get more complicated if your business is not tied to your personal brand. Do you create social profiles for your business, or focus on your own social channels as a way to drive awareness of your business?
For the most part, SPI has not had any brand social media accounts. But we’re beginning to change that, starting with our new SPI Twitter account.
The Twitter-for-Business Opportunity
Twitter has changed a lot since it was created in 2006. For starters, the iconic tweet length of 140 characters has been doubled to 280.
Twitter also rolled out a feature called “Threads” that allows users to string related tweets together into a longer idea. Users had previously numbered their Tweets to denote what Marc Andreessen dubbed “Tweetstorms,” but now Threads make it easy to share longer stories in a cohesive way.
If you’re considering leveraging Twitter, be prepared to write!
As a result, there is a lot more high-quality writing on the platform than before.
That point is worth repeating: Because Twitter started as a “micro blogging” platform, it still caters first and foremost to written content as opposed to photos or videos (with the exception of memes). So if you’re considering leveraging Twitter, be prepared to write!
Through the COVID-19 pandemic, Twitter’s user base grew. It was originally predicted that Twitter would grow 2.8 percent in 2020, but the pandemic changed that. In October, eMarketer revised their 2020 forecast to growth of 8.4 percent.
With the world reopening, Twitter is forecasted to close 2021 with 2.4 percent growth, followed by 2.0 percent growth in 2022.
Nearly 69 million of Twitter’s 315 million users are based in the U.S., but nearly 70 percent of all users are male. And according to Hootsuite, 57 percent of users are aged twenty-five to forty-nine.
If that sounds like your typical audience, let’s talk about how to use Twitter effectively…
How People Use Twitter
Before we can talk about growth, there are two ideas that we’ve come to believe as 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…
People Follow People on Twitter
Look at your own feeds on social media. As you scroll through, how many brands do you see as compared to individuals?
Odds are, it’s pretty skewed towards individuals.
And the brands you do follow…what do they have in common?
If you enjoy following a brand account, it’s likely that they have a very consistent and human brand voice. They probably don’t feel like a “brand”—they feel like a person.
Humans are social creatures. And when it comes to social media…we’d rather socialize with other humans than faceless brands.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn't have a brand account. As I already noted, SPI just created our own Twitter account. Rather, this speaks to the importance of having a strategy and brand voice on Twitter that sounds like a real person. More on this in a minute.
People Follow Twitter Accounts That Are Consistent and Predictable
People on Twitter (or any platform) are looking for one of two things: 1) entertainment or 2) education. Which need will your account fulfill?
At SPI, we’re focused on education. We know that our audience follows us to learn about subjects like online business, podcasts, email marketing, affiliate marketing, courses, and community.
So our social media accounts need to fulfill that promise to our audience. If you follow SPI, you can expect to learn about those subjects!
What can people expect from you if they follow you?
The more consistent and predictable you are, the easier it will be to build a following, because it’s clear to a potential follower what they’ll gain by following you. Similar to email marketing, you need a compelling “opt in” to make it clear what you’re offering.
How to Grow Your Business on Twitter
So how can you make the most of your business's Twitter presence? Like any other medium or platform, growth for your business on Twitter comes from publishing consistent, high-quality content! Namely, you’ll have an advantage if you are:
- Tweeting consistently
- Tweeting about a consistent topic (or related topics)
- Engaging in conversations around those same topics
The median Twitter user tweets once per month, while the most prolific users tweet 157 times per month, according to Pew Research. In fact, the top 10 percent of Twitter users account for 92 percent of the tweets on the platform.
One hundred fifty-seven tweets per month would be about five tweets per day … doable, but a lot! The point is, even if you’re tweeting once or twice per day, you’re standing out to the Twitter algorithm.
The more you tweet, the more impressions you’ll receive, and the faster you’ll grow!
You’ll get more impressions the more your tweets are “retweeted.” 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 expanding the reach of tweets beyond someone’s followers. Twitter will now display tweets from accounts that people you follow have engaged with – even if it wasn’t a retweet.
This is a huge opportunity for your business, because it means more exposure to people who are not yet following you on Twitter.
But, again, the key is consistency in what you talk about about frequency in creating new tweets.
The Twitter “Community” Opportunity
One of the best ways to consistently engage in conversations around your topics of interest is by integrating into different Twitter Communities.
You'll likely read references to “Marketing Twitter” or “Community Twitter” or “VC Twitter.” These phrases refer to Twitter “Communities” that are ideas but not official things to follow or engage.
These communities tend to form organically as individuals identify themselves as interested in certain topics and discussions. “Community Twitter” refers to the people on Twitter talking about Community-related topics. These communities are all relatively small, and you can find yourself inside the community simply by following the accounts actively tweeting about that topic.
Sometimes, people create Twitter Lists of the key accounts active in communities.
By following a reputable List, you'll quickly experience what that Community is like. And by ingraining yourself in a community, you’ll build relationships and credibility within that space.
Creating Your Own Business Twitter Community
A recent Twitter trend involves helping create community and showing belonging through the use of emojis.
This was made popular in the 2020 US Presidential race when candidate Andrew Yang encouraged his followers to use the blue hat 🧢 emoji next to their names to show they were supporting the campaign.
We’ve seen this enter the business world too, and the team at Morning Brew encouraged their team to add a coffee mug emoji ☕️ to their names. Now, when you’re scrolling Twitter and see the coffee mug emoji, you may start to assume that the account is a Morning Brew employee.
But we see it in communities too. Recently, Dickie Bush created a 30-day writing community called Ship 30 for 30. As part of his onboarding to 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
So how will SPI be leveraging Twitter?
Well, we are leaning into the idea that people tend to follow people. We’ve created the @teamSPI Twitter account (we’d love for you to follow us) but we’ll be using our platform to amplify the voices of our team.
We have an incredibly talented team here at SPI. And we focus on different verticals within the company, from courses, to podcasting, solutions, affiliate marketing, community, and more.
So instead of trying to cover all those areas with our brand account, we’re empowering our team to participate in the discussions and communities that they want to, and the @teamSPI account will amplify their voices.
We want to use the SPI platform to help elevate our team, and not the reverse.
So we invite you to follow along with us! Follow @teamSPI and you’ll be following our team and their unique voices and experiences as it relates to online business.
Here's a tweet thread breaking down how we think about Twitter and how we’ll be leveraging it. Our goal is to get to 1,000 followers on the @teamSPI account as quickly as possible, and your help would go a long way!