Over the past five years or so, I have loved watching more and more of my friends and colleagues become solopreneurs. Each one has something unique to offer the world, and it is exciting to see them forge new professional paths – both traditional and less traditional. I’m not the only one seeing this happen (see Forbes and BoostCompanies).
At some point, I usually end up having a conversation with these friends that starts like this, “Oh hey, you are in marketing… I don’t need to bother with Twitter, do I?”
Here is my take:
Do you need Twitter?
It depends. Do you use other forms of social media? Literally, any other form? If so, then yes, you probably should set up a Twitter account, but it doesn’t need to take over your life. Why? Because if you are utilizing social media for your business, then you have already decided that it is important to your industry in some way. If that is the case, then someone will likely check to see if you are on Twitter and you want them to find you. Not only do you want them to find you, you want them to have a good brand experience – your profile should look and sound like you.
The folks at Twitter, Hootsuite, and ManageFlitter.com have all written useful posts about the value of Twitter for all businesses, including solopreneurs, and their articles are worth a skim. But to summarize, in many industries Twitter is a critical customer touch point so you want to provide a good brand experience AND it is also a tool for you to interact with the marketplace. Both push and pull marketing.
Having said that, I meant it when I said Twitter doesn’t need to take over your life.
How to get started:
- Choose a handle that matches your primary social media account handle and/or business name. If you can’t do that, then choose something relevant to your industry (I will do a separate post on when it is and is not appropriate to ask your freelance friends to come up with handle ideas for you for free).
- For your profile, pop in the same headshot you use for your other social media accounts and a similar, if not the same, cover image. This is not the time to reinvent the wheel – you want a consistent brand.
- Automate! If you primarily use Facebook, then be sure to link your accounts so that each new Facebook post is automatically tweeted. Same for LinkedIn, YouTube, etc – whatever you use regularly. Then make sure that you set up your Twitter alerts so that Twitter will tell you if someone retweets you, tweets at you, replies to one of your tweets, sends you a direct message, etc. That way, you don’t have to check the site constantly, but you can still provide prompt responses to potential customers and anyone else who needs to reach you.
Follow those steps and you’ll be set up to directly interact with your customers, potential customers, and your industry peers… without creating additional work for yourself. Customers will be able to find you and your Twitter feed will be populated with content that you were already sharing anyway.
Ready to take another Twitter step? Follow 10 industry leaders in your space, 5-10 local resources that are relevant to your business, and a handful of your favorite media outlets (trade and otherwise). I bet you can accomplish that in about five minutes, if you are focused and know your space well. Then block off 15 minutes once or twice a week to read posts and respond to what interests you (or automate – set up alerts so you know when your favorite accounts post on a particular topic). You’ll be joining the conversation, again, without spending hours online.
Was this helpful? Let me know! @RachelLColello I’m working on another post for soloprenuers about social media frequency and followers.