Having Twitter account is one thing but using it in the most effective way with all its features is a different story. Which tools should we consider in our smart Twitter communication strategy? Madalyn Sklar explains it all.
Madalyn is a social media power influencer, blogger, podcaster and business coach who is known for her Twitter expertise. Ranked #1 Social Media in Houston, she blogs about social media and technology and was named by Huffington Post as one of the 50 Must-Follow Women Entrepreneurs in 2017.
Madalyn teaches all things Twitter in her course Twitter Smarter and you can find her every Thursday hosting the popular #TwitterSmarter Twitter chat. It’s THE place to connect, learn + share Twitter tips. She also interviews movers and shakers in the social media world for her Twitter Smarter podcast.
Host: Hello Madalyn. I’m really happy to finally have the chance to ask you some questions. I’d like to start off with Twitter. Why is it still so crucial in the communication process?
Madalyn: Twitter is an amazing platform where you can connect with people in real time. No other platforms can do what Twitter is able to do. It allows you to connect with people in your industry very easily. Some people say that LinkedIn can do the same, but I think it’s got too spamy, thus, it’s harder to connect with people on it. Twitter is the place to go when you’re out there trying to build relationships in your industry. It is easy to connect through it. For instance, I want to meet Gary Vaynerchuck, who is a social media guru in my industry, and I have managed to connect with him on Twitter, even though he has millions of followers. It is the place to go to make real time connections with top industry leaders but also with colleagues in your industry and prospective customers. No matter who you’re trying to reach, Twitter is the place to go.
Host: With no doubts, your account is very successful. Can you give us some advice on how to build a strong Twitter presence? What aspects are the most important and where people tend to fail in most cases?
Madalyn: I get asked about it quite often. I have 57 thousand followers and people ask me how I did that. Well, it definitely wasn’t done overnight. I’ve been on Twitter since 2008 and I’ve learnt a lot of dos and don’ts on how to make it work. When it comes to building up your presence the best thing to do is, firstly, be consistent with your tweets. You need to be out there every day. Secondly, you want to listen to conversations. Too many people go on Twitter and push out ‘buy this’, ‘read this’. People are not interested in that. It’s hard to build up your profile if all you’re doing is being a sales person that is only pushing. You want to be transparent, be you. When I’m on Twitter every day, I’m there as Madalyn, who is a cool person that shares information and is very approachable. When you, Magda, get on Twitter I see you’re always sharing articles and information with people you connect in your industry. That is very important. That’s how you build up your Twitter. Just by being out there, being you and sharing valuable information.
Host: You mentioned businesses and my next question relates to that. What are the most important Twitter features to be used by influencers and companies?
Madalyn: There is so many out there. Number one for me is Twitter polls, which is an amazing tool for collecting information. I personally think it is highly underutilised. When you’re composing a tweet, there’s an icon with a little GIF and right next to it, you have those lines. You click on it and that’s the Twitter poll. The beauty of it is that you can ask a question to your followers, which is a valuable way of grabbing information. I think businesses should be doing this, influencers should be doing this, and anybody who wants to learn from their community should regularly use polls. How I’m using it is, for example, when I’m thinking about a new online course. I’m not sure which option is best, so I get out there, do a poll and ask ‘Here are some ideas for a new online class. Which do you prefer?’ I list out the options, I let it run for a day and the results are amazing. Utilising Twitter polls should definitely be number one, as it’s a great way to learn from your community. Number two is using Twitter videos. We all have the ability to, not only have a picture in our Tweets, but also put a video. Whether it’s something we’ve already made or creating it right on the spot. Let’s say, you tweet me and say ‘Oh Madalyn, thank you so much for the interview today. I’m so excited to have you on our podcast’. That’s a typical tweet, it’s very common to thank somebody for something with a tweet. When I get that, instead of tweeting back, I can click on the little camera button and make a little video right there on the spot. The beauty of that is that you get to see me, hear the passion in my voice, the emotion, decadence and all of that. It makes for a great connection with people. I highly recommend that companies and influencers start utilising this feature, as it will help you get more followers and be seen as a credible influencer or business. Another thing worth mentioning is he GIFs. I see that’s also underutilised. If someone is sending me a tweet thanking me for something, I either do a video or send a nice GIF. On twitter you have so many to choose from, you can pick and choose or type and do a search. Right now, the first one to come up when I type ’thank you’ is an animation from Beyoncé saying ‘thank you so much’. The beauty of sending GIFs is that it puts a smile on people’s faces. You can’t help a smile when you get a tweet back with a nice animation that somebody picked for you. That’s just one of those many great Twitter features that’s underutilised.
Host: I actually am a great fan of GIFs. My next question was supposed to be about whether video would conquer Twitter as it did on other platforms but I think you’ve already answered that.
Madalyn: Yes, it will. But there’s several types of video. There is the option of choosing a video you’ve already done in any tweet. When you go to ‘compose a tweet’, you see a small camera icon or a video icon on your phone. On my iPhone, actually, I have a choice between a photo, video or live. When I’m on my computer, my choice is the camera only, but if I click on it I get the choice of photo or video. Video is a great way to go. This new feature, live, right now only available on your phone, is live streaming through Periscope. Live streaming is the hot thing right now, Twitter gives us the option, Facebook has that option, YouTube has just lunch it and Instagram says they’re coming out with own ‘live’. I sense that 2017 is going to be the year of live streaming video. We’re just on the verge of this exploding. If you’re not starting to use live video, you’ll be left behind. It’s really worth start and utilise it. If you don’t have a Periscope account set up, I advise you do it fast. It is beautiful and simple at the same time.When you’re on your phone, you tap that button and it opens up your Periscope. You name the video, hit the ‘go live’ button and you’re being broadcasting live.
Host: I’ve heard about Periscope and I’ll definitely try it out now. You said that tweeting regularly is very important. How many tweets a day should we publish?
Madalyn: It depends on your community, on what you’re trying to do with your Twitter. I always advice companies I work with to try and tweet at least 5 times a day. You can schedule it out, if it makes it easier. I’m a resource on Twitter, I share articles, but I don’t want to send them out at the send time. The best way is to schedule them out throughout the day. I always recommend for businesses and people to find tweet to send, use either Hootsuite or Buffer for scheduling and start getting in that habit of tweeting every day. Later, try and do a bit more each day. There’s however no magic number as to say how many is the optimum. When I look and count up how many I do every day, it’s anywhere from 50 to 100. I share a lot, I’m a power Twitter user. I also like tweeting with people, replying to tweets, getting on chats and participating in them. There’s a lot you can do with that to increase your presence. Every Wednesday afternoon there’s a different chat. For instance, there is a chat on Wednesday called Chat Snaps, for Snapchat users. I like to go on there as it raises my visibility tremendously. I think chats are the best way to meet new people and learn new things. If I go over there today, I’m going to learn new things that are somehow related to Snapchat and I’m very intrigued by the platform. I will learn, but also, probably, share my two sense during the chat and I can guarantee you that I’m going to walk away today with anywhere from 5 to 10 new business relationships. That’s the beauty of Twitter chats. That is a really great way to connect to people. I always say, have an amazing Twitter profile! Have an amazing bio and amazing head shot or a great looking logo if it’s for your company! It’s is crucial to have this Twitter image that really showcases what it is that you do as this will attract attention. When you’re on a Twitter chat, the first thing someone’s going to do when you tweet is think ‘who is she, why should we listen to her’ and they’ll check out my bio. The decision if they follow me or not, if they take interest in me or not, is made on the basis of my profile. You want to make sure it is flawless. I always stress to audit your account every 3 to 6 months, look at your bio and see if it needs updating. I’ve just changed my bio today. I’m going to be speaking at social media marketing world in March of next year, so I want to put that on there. Speaking there is a big deal and if I don’t put that in my bio, people may not know about it. Therefore, I rearranged my bio so that I could fit it (due to the limit of characters). It’s important to include all the top things about you that you want people to know. Of course, they can follow the link to your website or LinkedIn and learn more about you, but when we’re on Twitter we have just a second to grab attention and get people interested. You need to remember that when you’re looking at your Twitter bio. Ask your friends and colleagues to look at it and tell you if it attracts attention. Last year, mine started of saying ‘Twitter marketing strategist’ and I asked people if it made sense. A bunch of people said to me they didn’t know what it meant. That was the very first thing you could see on my bio, so I took it out. I reworded it as I want people to look at my bio and know exactly what I do. I challenge everybody here to go do the same! Have people look at your bio and give you thoughts on it. Make sure it is something great so that when you’re out there tweeting or chatting, people will look at your profile and see that it makes sense.
Host: We were just discussing Twitter chats here, at Brand24. After such a strong recommendation, we’ll start utilising it!
Madalyn: I am a big fan of Twitter chats. There’s probably something in each industry that is missing on Twitter and you could fill the hole and be that person that hosts weekly chats. Twitter chat is all about bringing people together for about an hour once a week. As a host, you can decide on the subject and share tips. The Twitter smarter chat is all about sharing tips and there’s no one else doing this. But even if there was, that would be okay because it would be another take on it, which would be different from someone else if they were doing the same thing. I really hope you guys do a twitter chat, Magda. Number one, it’s great for your business! I’m working with a company right now and I am developing a Twitter chat for them. This is one of my other services I do. A lot of people don’t know this about me. They know me from doing the Twitter smarter chat, which I’ve been doing for a year and a half. I have actually been running Twitter chats every week for over 5 years. I did the numbers. I have hosted and participated in over 600 Twitter chats, which is a lot. I have a lot of experience in this and I think everyone can start something that is beneficial and useful to your community. Especially for businesses, so Magda I’m really excited to hear that you are interested in doing this. With the type of business you’re in, there really is a lot you could do with this. What it’s going to do, is elevate your business where you’ll get more exposure, more people talking about the company, more chatter on Twitter about the company. That’s what we all strive for, we’re all trying to get heard and get our name out there as much as possible. So Brand24 can just start showing up everywhere on Twitter, starting with a weekly chat, talking about different things in the industry and bringing on guests. People will come, share their two sense and most probably go and promote it to their community. They’ll bring their people over and it snowballs from there. That is so powerful and at the same time it’s completely free. The only cost is your time invested. You don’t have to spend any money, you only need to chat on twitter with a hashtag.
Host: Sounds simple, but I’m sure there’s an effort in it. I couldn’t imagine a better conclusion for our conversation. I really want to thank for your time and for all the information you shared. Hopefully, we’ll see or hear you soon.
Madalyn: Thank you Magda! I really appreciate it. People who want to reach out to me, I’m always on Twitter, so add me there. Also, my website is madalynskylar.com. If anybody wants to learn how to start a twitter chat, I actually have just recently developed an online training course to be found on: blt.ly/twitterchatclass. That’s where I share everything I know on how to run, host, manage, promote your own twitter chat.
Host: That’s great! Thank you again for the time and the tips!