Twitter. It’s not nearly as intimidating as it seems at times. If you’re trying to enhance your Twitter presence, you should keep these five things in mind in order to grow your following without adding another (huge) to-do item to your (ever-growing) list.
1. Figure out what to Tweet
First, decide what you’re going to talk about. I started growing my personal following by interacting with the #glutenfree community. I was diagnosed in college and needed advice, fast. Doing this showed me that people are willing to engage if you have something useful to share. Make sure that you’re engaging with people in this community as well – by RT'ing and @-mentioning them.
2. Have a Plan, Any Plan
If you’re a social media manager of any kind, or know any, you know that they like to create schedules, plans and calendars. Do it for yourself. When I went to Italy last March, I setup a schedule of tweets (using Hootsuite, we’ll come to that later) to keep my account active. I didn’t really talk about where exactly I was traveling or how far along my vacation was, but I did share old articles, articles that I had curated for my “break” and reminders to connect with me on my other networks. You don’t have to be physically away to do this-most of us don’t have the luxury of sitting and watching Twitter all day (unless that’s part of your job, lucky you!), so it’s important to allow Twitter to become as automated as you can without annoying your followers.
3. Favorite tweets
The favorites feature -- or star -- is a great feature on Twitter. When you’re commuting to work (if you’re not driving; please don’t do it when you’re driving), you can take the time to scan the feeds that you missed overnight or while at the gym and favorite articles you’d like to read later. On the desktop, if you use Chrome and Pocket (and have the Pocket extension installed), you can save these links to pocket for later reading.
4. Share from Websites
Many websites have a “Tweet” button and some of them even add copy for you! This is a great way to share things that interest you without actually thinking about it. One word of caution: try to make sure you add some of your own copy to a few tweets so that your feed doesn’t look like a giant RSS feed.
5. Make it a Habit
I check Twitter every morning as I go through my morning routine (confession: I usually check Twitter, Facebook and NYT Now before I get out of bed… but that’s not a great habit to copy) but I understand that may not be an option for everyone. Whenever you take time to read the paper or follow-up with your personal tasks, fit Twitter into that schedule. Laura Vanderkam’s book 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think helped me figure out a schedule that worked for me and I recommend that book to anyone trying to add more social media into their “career” prep. I also recommend a Social Saturday (or any day, I just tend to do it on Saturdays) where I clean-up/deal with anything I missed during the month. I generally schedule this once a month for myself, but it can be fit into your schedule.
Quick tips: figure out what you want to talk about, target people in that community. Automate as much as you can, without losing your personality. Make it a habit – just like that first workout, you’ll be “sore” for a little while, but soon enough, it’ll be routine.
Victoria Reitano is a Digital Producer with The Meredith Vieira Show, launching in September. She also serves as the Co-Chair for The Society of Professional Journalist's Generation J committee. In the past, she served as a Digital Producer with "bethenny" and "LIVE with Kelly and Michael." She also served as a Local Editor for Patch.com and her work has been published in USAToday, The Staten Island Advance and ThisOldHouse.com. She loves dogs, SoulCycle, Yoga and New York City. You can connect with her on Twitter.