In Part 1 of this series on corporate twitter, I shared insights and ideas for getting started. If you followed the steps, you probably have some ‘early followers’ and a handful of tweets. Sadly, many corporate accounts abandon Twitter at this point, or begin to post very infrequently. The key here is to be consistent and keep your followers engaged. But how do you come up with content for your tweets? For me, getting the 1 to 3 daily tweets that I promised in the email to the company was daunting. I even posted links to new datasheets – lame, I know.
To help you keep your ‘Twitter momentum,’ here are 12 types of content that will be useful to your followers, will keep them engaged, and will draw new followers in (and they may be even paying attention, rather than filtering you out with 3rd party Twitter clients.)
Here’s the list, mostly in order of impact this content will have on your twitter presence. Items 11 and 12 may have most impact if you already have a substantial amount of followers, but it’s never too early to get started.
- Your media coverage: This is the best type of content for your twitter stream. I’m surprised not a lot of corporate twitter accounts make it a priority to tweet out their media coverage, given the amount of time and effort that goes into “getting ink.” Not only the articles mention you, your solution and/or your customers, they also come from an impartial 3rd party. Bonus points if the publication that ran the story has a twitter presence and you can reference them as “via @thisawesomepub.” Double bonus points if the editor or the publication put the article on their twitter stream, so that you can retweet them. (“Look, I’m not trying to self promote, it’s just an RT.”)
- Your digital media: Upload and link to your videos on YouTube, photos on Flikr, presentations on SlideShare, and blog posts. People want to know what you are about, and this digital content provides an additional window into your company. Deployment photos work very well; people like to see your gear in action. One of our early tweets was “@firetide: Cool night-time photo of Firetide wireless video surveillance install http://bit.ly/RqDpQ” (it even got retweeted.) Production values do not need to be outstanding as you are just getting started; there will be room for improvement down the road.
- Events you are attending (planning to attend, have attended): Events are a great source of content for Twitter, with the added benefit that you can tweet about various aspects of them over time. When tweeting about / at an event, use the event’s hash tag, so that others can find you in the twittersphere. Bonus points if you have joint activities with other people and companies, and can reference them. For example, we ‘milked’ our joint demo at ASIS 2009 with Exacq, IQinVision and Pivot3 multiple times. This was a good exercise not just in interoperability, but also being able to reference the partners on social media.
- Local news coverage: Our deployments tend to get covered in local news if a municipality is launching its public surveillance system. Sadly, the local news crews do not get into the technical nitty-gritty of the project, and rarely even mention that the cameras are connected over wireless, let alone our name. I set up Google alerts around our larger deployments that tend to get covered in the local news. So whenever the system gets covered, I put the link on our twitter stream. Not only I’m linking to a positive story about crime reduction, community benefits, etc, in the eyes of my twitter followers I ‘created’ Firetide coverage by co-opting the story: “Hey, we did this!”
- Your web updates: If you added new product information, case studies, white papers, webinar replays, put a note on Twitter. Be creative: for example, whenever we add a company to our Technology Partner page, we tweet it out, showcasing our partners, while sending traffic to our web site. You can also post links to press releases: don’t overdo this, and you may need to copyedit the headline into a compelling tweet.
- Retweeting others: Follow a few people influential in your industry (these may be publications, editors, analysts, bloggers), and occasionally retweet them if you think that their post or content they are linking to will be useful and relevant to your followers. You may even be followed back by said influencers. Also consider retweeting your partners or any other interesting people you follow; they will appreciate it and may return the favor down the road. Before retweeting, I make sure the content I’m about to link to is not about a competitor, contributed by a competitor, or present our technology / industry in a negative light. (Hey, this is a corporate account, so a certain amount of filtering and spin is permitted). Nor do I retweet links if they lead to ‘premium’ content that you have to pay for, or which may be available only to clients (analyst firms occasionally do that).
- Industry news and developments: Set up Google alerts for keywords relevant to your industry. I don’t source a lot of content this way in our core specialty – wireless mesh – since these articles are either about us (see # 1) or about our competitors. However, this can be useful if you want to get associated with a new industry or vertical you want to enter – smart Grid and transportation/ITS for us. So I occasionally tweet articles on these topics.
- Replying to others: If you see a question posed by someone you follow, or an interesting topic they are referencing and you have something to say, don’t hesitate to respond with an @ reply. People like to know they are being listened to. If someone follows both you and the recipient, they will see your tweet and maybe even engage in the discussion.
- Replying to @ messages directed at you: As a new account, unless you are widely known brand, you may not get any @ messages for a while. But if you do, be sure to respond promptly.
- Follow Friday: Twitter denizens recommend their favorite accounts on Fridays. Participate – even though it may seem cheesy at first. This is a way to be ‘nice’ on Twitter, and also show that you are actively listening to the people you are recommending. You can use your lists in conjunction with follow Friday, so each recommendation tweet is themed – be it wireless, physical security, etc.
- Asking questions of your network: You may not get a lot of replies if you are just starting out and your follower count is low. But it’s an excellent way to engage with your twitter community, and maybe even get your question answered.
- Building and promoting your twitter lists: List functionality has been a great addition to Twitter in many ways (I will cover lists separately). One way to get noticed on twitter is to (1) put people on relevant lists (they will likely notice and appreciate it); (2) promote your lists. Others who are looking to expand their presence on Twitter will be grateful that you put in the work, and it will also establish you as an authority of sorts, especially if your list is comprehensive. If you tweet out your lists, you may even see a few retweets.
What has worked for you? Please comment!