Senior people are struggling to understand and use Twitter. Here are 7 easy Twitter training steps for senior people to get you started and be strategic. Learn how to target potential new customers and build relationships with them – a new form of networking
This week we had a cry from one of our fabulous clients. “Help!,” she said. “I am glazing over with Twitter due to work pressures. I don’t have time to ‘play’ on Twitter and don’t know what I am doing. I can’t cope.”
The first thing was to reassure her she is not alone. The one thing to understand about social media is that it is time consuming. Do you remember when you started on emails – were you overwhelmed? It hasn’t gone away, yet can you imagine not having email? It is quicker and more efficient for all sorts of tasks but it is a constant demand. It is very similar for social media.
Our client has been on Twitter for a while but not managed to get a routine or feel comfortable with it.
So here is the twitter training plan we came up with for her to assist her in managing her twitter account.
1. @connect is the most important (UPDATE: @connect is now called @notifications)
At the top of your Twitter bar you will see a button saying @connect. This is probably the most valuable tool on Twitter – it is where you can quickly see any ‘conversations’ involving your name, who has retweeted you, followed you or otherwise engaged with you.
2. Four a day
You want to go to @connect once a day. Try to spend no more than five minutes
- Check out the profiles of anyone who has followed you – just click on each of their icon
If you know them and rate them, follow them back. If they are someone you would like to know better, also follow them. Don’t follow back if you have nothing in common
- If you spot someone has retweeted something of yours, you might want to thank them – a retweet looks like this
- Similarly if someone ‘favorites’ a tweet of yours, you might want to thank them – the yellow star is for a favorite and means they want to save it for easy reference later
- Someone may have tweeted about a blog, article or guide that is on your website – in which case you also want to say thanks and ‘chat’ on Twitter. This was a recent tweet on ours – you would definitely want to respond to this?
So that is probably a minimum each day – not too bad?
3. Start following people you rate and want to do business with
This is where we are going to help our client. She wants to ‘meet’ and do business with directors in a particular sector – let’s call it retail. She needs easy Twitter steps for senior people.
To give her a hand we are going to research who the directors, journalists and influencers in this field are and follow them for her (she’ll give us access to her account to do that). There are plenty of lists on Google such as London’s 20 most influential on Twitter: RETAIL or you can use Twitter search tools such as Followerwonk and others.
4. Create lists to make it easy to follow key conversations
A good way to follow the conversations of key people easily is to make lists of those important people. Anyone can see this list so make the most of it – name it something like ‘Top HR influencers in UK’. Whoever you put into your lists will be notified – and it is a flattering start to getting to know them?
When you have time you can then go into Twitter and click on a list and you will see the most recent Twitter posts – or tweets – for all those in that list. These are some of the lists we have created for ourselves and for PR work we are doing for our clients where we are managing twitter on their behalf.
5. Engage on Twitter
Most people worry about what they are going to post on Twitter. That is quite important – but equally, or perhaps more important – is starting to talk to the people you want to know and work with.
So once or twice a week, look at your lists or click on ‘Home’ and skim through conversations.
If you see a really interesting conversation or link, retweet it and reply to it saying thanks or how you plan to use the information.
Here is an example of an interesting post that you might retweet and then reply with a comment
Stephen Tovey is an HR adviser and credible; his blog was about getting priorities in life right. It is not amazing but is fine and reasonably thought-provoking (do always open a link before retweeting etc – occasionally accounts are hacked and a link goes through to porn).
You could reply with your own thoughts on the subject – also leave a comment on the blog and tweet about that.
All of that is about ‘engaging’ which is where social media comes to life. It’s a new way of business development and networking – but quicker and cuts through layers of formality.
6. # trending
Our client wanted to know how to follow or create # trends – you may have heard ‘it is trending on Twitter’. To be honest, if you are struggling for time and getting familiar with Twitter, I would leave this till later.
If you are really keen put #topic in the search box, top right of your Twitter account. Here I typed in #BBCTheVoice and you get conversations with this hashtag coming up. You might like the comments of RedOne and reply or retweet (even though you have never met them, but you may feel their comments resonate with you). Or you may completely agree with Simon Danson – and think he’s someone you would like to know better. His profile says he is a SEAT car sales person – and mentions he is a connoisseur of fine wines and ‘appreciates the female species’. You need to decide if he’s someone right for your business
7. Your plan for Twitter
Like all social media, you want to give yourself a bit of time to understand and ‘play’ with the best media for you. But quickly you need to be strategic, don’t just tweet randomly.
Look at your business plan and marketing plan. Who are your existing customers that you want to strengthen relationships with and who are you targeting? What would success look like?
Then do a plan and allocate time and tasks – time can run away on social media. It will probably look like
- 5 minutes a day to respond to anyone on @connect
- Once a month take half an hour to research key contacts and build lists
- Two or three times a week – or whatever time you can spare – look at the profiles of people you are targeting. Reply to their comments, retweet, favorite, thank. Allow yourself 15 to 30 minutes for this.
- Once or twice a week post interesting material or your own comment on something you have noticed – work or in the news. But if you are struggling for time, your own comments are probably less important
Take a few months just to get yourself familiar and in a rhythm. Don’t push yourself, you will find you become more comfortable, want to share helpful ideas and materials – but always keep it strategic. Why are you doing it?
And as I reminded our client – we have all struggled when we started out. I took half an hour to write and post my first tweet – and got everyone in the office to check it and have a view!!
I have suggested the timings and regularity in the plan above as my own view of what is realistic for someone who is serious about Twitter but is very busy.
If you are struggling – we can help you with workshops (group and one-to-one), creating a social media strategy and linking Twitter with all your marketing and social media activities. We can offer social media/twitter training in Harrogate or at a venue of your choice.
It would be good to hear what you think someone new to Twitter should be doing and how often.
Victoria TomlinsonChief executive, Northern Lights PR
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Ben PindarCommunications director, Northern Lights PR
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Helen RobinsonAssociate, Northern Lights PR
Jonny RossAssociate, Northern Lights PR