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Smart tweeters soar above the flock

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Tweeting smarter is Madalyn Sklar’s mantra. The social media consultant is Twitter’s biggest cheerleader. She backs up her passion as host of the #TwitterSmarter and #SocialROI Twitter chats, all in the name of helping others put their best tweets forward – marketing themselves along the way.

In a wide-ranging discussion that included fellow consultant Dhariana Lozano, Sklar talked about how everyone can be Twitter smarter. 

She gave easy steps for people to improve their presence on Twitter:

  • Be Consistent. The one thing I found that separates the high-profile users on Twitter from everyone else is being consistent. If you want to stand out, get on Twitter every day and connect. Engage with your community.
  • Tweet Every Day, a Minimum of Five Tweets Per Day. One of the best ways to attract attention on Twitter is tweeting every day. You need to be seen and heard. I recommend spreading tweets throughout the day using tools like Buffer, Hootsuite and Social Jukebox.
  • Go Through Notifications Daily and Respond. You should view your notifications as the jackpot of Twitter. Every notification is a tweet from someone who mentions you by name. They are pointing you out. Reply to them.
  • Engage Daily. The most important thing you can do on Twitter is engage. It’s one big happy community that connects you with millions of people. I like to view Twitter as a giant cocktail party. Spend time every day engaging in conversations.

Lozano also gave her Top 3 simple and effective marketing tactics:

  • Ephemeral Content. Content that is only temporarily available will be big. It will give followers an extra reason to follow your brand on your particular social media network so they don’t miss out.
  • Videos and Live Videos. Madalyn is a big believer in video content, and so am I. Videos will continue to drive engagement — especially live and personalized videos. Speaking of videos, vertical videos will become more popular. We naturally hold our phones vertically and with the popularity of Instagram Stories and the introduction of IGTV, there might be more of a shift to create vertical content.
  • Showing More Personality. Getting more personal will be a differentiating factor for brands on social media. 

Sklar advocates optimizing Twitter profiles for higher visibility.

“Don’t let your Twitter profile get outdated,” she said. “Freshen it up by doing an audit at least once every quarter. Check your profile picture, header and biography. Does it need updating? What about your pinned tweet?

“Consider your header photo,” Sklar said. “That’s the big image at the top of your profile at 1,500 by 500 pixels. Customize it to your brand. Use this to show off who you are and what you do.”

Another graphic is the profile photo, which should reflect personality.

“This should be your headshot if it’s a personal brand or logo if this is a company profile,” Sklar said. “Use the same image on all your social media profiles as well as your website. This is an important part of your overall branding.”

Another key element is the Twitter biography.

“That’s where you share details about yourself,” Sklar said. “Make it compelling. Be interesting. Write it in a way so people want to know more about you. You get 160 characters, and I recommend using all of the space.”

The best tweeters make good use of tweets pinned to the top of their timelines as supplements to their profiles.

“What is your best tweet?” Sklar said. “Make that your pinned tweet. When people come across your profile, they will certainly see your first tweet. You want to make a great impression. Use a tweet that promotes you and your brand.”

Increasing Twitter engagement starts with images.

“Sharing images increases your retweets by 150 percent,” Sklar said. “Images get 35 percent more retweets. Users engage at a rate five times higher when an image is included.”

Twitter polls are another way to engage with communities.

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“Asking people questions will get them conversing with you,” Sklar said. “You’ll also get valuable information in return.”

As a dual-chat moderator, it’s no surprise that she supports participation in Twitter chats.

“They are the best way to expand your network and connect with like-minded people,” Sklar said. “It’s where you’ll find your tribe and where topics resonate with you.”

She encouraged everyone to review her list of favorite chats.

“In the crowded space of social media marketing, being laser-focused will yield more results than trying to appeal to the masses,” Lozano said. “Brands will continue to get personal and get behind specific social and even political causes.

“Not too long ago, brands wouldn’t touch issues like this,” she said. “It’s refreshing to see this shift. Like in life, your personality will attract your friends. Showing more personality is also helpful in creating more engaging content on social media.”

Adding to her suggestions, Lozano has published an article, “10 Simple and Effective New Things to Try on Social Media for Success.”

While Sklar loves connecting and tweeting every day in real-time, she also uses a variety of Twitter tools to save valuable time. Her favorites are Buffer, Hootsuite, ManageFlitter and Social Jukebox:

  • Buffer. Every day I read lots of articles related to social media. I’ll share some of these out to my community. I schedule them using Buffer so they don’t go out all at once, clogging up my Twitter feed. It’s a time-saving tool.
  • Hootsuite. Social listening is a big part of my Twitter strategy. But it can be time-consuming. I combat this is by using Hootsuite to view my Twitter lists. I can easily view five streams at once, saving me a ton of time.
  • Hootsuite. This site has a great article: “What is Social Listening, Why it Matters and 10 Tools to Make it Easier.”
  • ManageFlitter. This is a great all-in-one platform. It does search, follow and unfollow; schedules posts; analytics; and more. Try it for free.
  • Social Jukebox. My motto is “work smarter not harder.” When it comes to repurposing evergreen content, the best tool is Social Jukebox. It eliminates the need to continually schedule posts and manage content.

Twitter lists can help tweeters stay organized, which is important as they grow their following. A list is a customized Twitter feed made up of selected Twitter accounts. Lists are either public or private. Users also can subscribe to public lists other people create.

“Your list is a timeline showing you a stream of tweets from the accounts on the list,” Sklar said. “For example, I have a public list called #TwitterSmarter Podcast.

“You can create a Twitter list to monitor your competition, connect with industry leaders, stay on top of trends, create a list of speakers at an event and more,” she said.

Sklar has developed best practices on what to tweet to increase engagement: Share engaging content. Be concise. Keep it short and focused. Use images, videos and GIFs to make your tweet stand out. Use a relevant or branded hashtag. Run an engaging Twitter poll.

“My Twitter feed is filled with a variety of engaging tweets that include promotional info, motivational quotes, retweets and retweets with a quote, sharing other people’s content, Twitter polls, videos, and GIFs,” she said.

Video is a particular Sklar favorite for tweeters to rise above the crowd.

“Twitter video is one of the most underused features, yet one of the best ways to stand out,” she said. “You can post a video on Twitter up to 2 minutes and 20 seconds long using the native mobile app.”

Sklar started an initiative called #VideoReplyDay to encourage people to use videos in their tweets.

“I encourage you to take time today to go through your notifications and reply to some of the tweets with a video,” she said. “Twitter has a little-known feature called Media Studio. You can upload videos and add metadata including a call-to-action link.”

Sklar’s research shows that tweets with videos are six times more likely to be retweeted than tweets with photos, and three times more likely to be retweeted than tweets with GIFs.

“My best ninja tip on how to stand out on Twitter is to engage. Engage. Engage,” she said. “Your mission is to look for and join in conversations. Don’t be afraid to jump into live Twitter chats and join in the discussion. Don’t lurk. Hit reply and chat away.

“Engaging daily on Twitter will let you forge new, meaningful relationships with people, businesses and even big brands,” Sklar said. “This and other tactics I shared will help you elevate your personal brand and help your business flourish.”

She and her team continued their talk about tweeting smarter during a Facebook Live conversation.

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Jim Katzaman
Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services. A writer by trade, he graduated from Lebanon Valley College, Pennsylvania, with a Bachelor of Arts in English. He enlisted in the Air Force and served for 25 years in public affairs – better known in the civilian world as public relations. He also earned an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science in Public Affairs. Since retiring, he has been a consultant and in the federal General Service as a public affairs specialist. He also acquired life and health insurance licenses, which resulted in his present affiliation with Largo Financial Services. In addition to expertise in financial affairs, he gathers the majority of his story content from Twitter chats. This has led him to publish about a wide range of topics such as social media, marketing, sexual harassment, workplace trends, productivity and financial management. Medium has named him a top writer in social media.

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