Have you looked at your Twitter stream lately?
I’m talking about your tweets — your own stream — not the tweets from others that you follow. Have you looked at it lately?
If you haven’t, go look at it right now and ask yourself this question as objectively as possible: How followable am I?
The Need for a Clean Twitter Stream
If you’re a small business owner on Twitter, the challenge of building a loyal following is already tough enough. Think about this way: No one wakes up in the morning and says, “Wow, I hope I get to see a lot of advertisements today!” People aren’t dying to be marketed to. They’re not on Twitter because they want you to spam links to your widgets, your website, or your blog posts.
That’s why I think it’s imperative to build a clean Twitter stream. By “clean stream,” I mean one that’s not filled with spam and self-promotional messages.
It’s not about you. It’s about your audience.
If you want people to follow and interact with you, it has to be about them. You can’t talk about yourself 24/7. BORING.
What a Clean Twitter Stream Looks Like
To simplify things a bit, there are primarily three kinds of tweets that you might post:
1. Regular tweets
These can be about almost anything, and hopefully they’re interesting. The important thing is that they’re not self-promotional or sales-y. Here’s one from my Twitter stream:
Without Adele’s ’21′, album sales would’ve been down 3.4% in Q1. bit.ly/Hmukig
— Matt McGee (@mattmcgee) April 6, 2012
That links to an article on Billboard magazine’s website. It was just an interesting fact I felt like sharing.
This is when you converse directly with another Twitter user, like this:
@MackCollier On Twitter, I find I need to churn my followers every couple months. Delete some, find some new ones, etc.
— Matt McGee (@mattmcgee) April 9, 2012
Not all of my followers see that tweet/conversation — only the ones that also follow Mack. Or the ones that are checking out my stream via Twitter’s website. (More on that below.)
3. Self-promotional tweets/links
If you’re on Twitter for business purposes, it’s understood that some of your tweets are going to be promotional — info about your current sales/specials, or links to your latest article, etc. Like this one where I linked to one of my recent blog posts:
If you missed it earlier –> How to Find Your Customers on Social Networks bit.ly/HgiRwq
— Matt McGee (@mattmcgee) April 4, 2012
Here’s the thing: It’s important to have a balance of these three kinds of tweets. Here’s a chart that I use when speaking:
I usually suggest that small business owners try to limit themselves to no more than one-third self-promotional tweets. It’s okay to tweet links to your articles and such as long as it’s not the only stuff you tweet.
Why a Clean Twitter Stream Matters
I said above that it’s important to have a balance in the types of tweets you post. Here’s why:
When a customer or potential customer is thinking about following you, the first thing she’ll do is look at your Twitter account to see what you share/post. She’s going to look at your Twitter stream and decide how followable you are.
You want to be followable.
In most cases, small businesses that only post links/promotion are probably not going to be followed as much as those that also reply to their followers and have conversations, and those that share some regular (and interesting) non-promotional tweets.
If you’re a small business owner using Twitter, go look at your Twitter stream right now. How many of your tweets are conversations? How many are self-promotional and sales-y?
In other words: How followable are you on Twitter?