Using Twitter to your Advantage
So Twitter. Twitter is an interesting one and Twitter is one that a lot of photographers feel that they kind of need to be on. They don't really understand it. A lot of people are very frustrated with it which is why user growth has stagnated over the years but it's still an important one. Now, Twitter was created in March of 2016 by Jack Dorsey. He's introduced hashtags in August of 2007. That was like the hashtag introducer to the social media was Twitter. 310 million active users, give or take a couple of million right now. 1.3 billion accounts have been created, 550 million people have sent tweets before, 208 is the average number of followers. It's pretty small. And there's 50 million tweets sent out each day. Right now, it's become an important place for a lot of companies for customer service as well as for breaking news. So customer service, again, if I'm sitting there and UPS messes up a delivery I'm not going to call their customer service agent and wait online for 10 minutes...
. I'm going to go on Twitter and I'm going to say, "#UPS failed. Who botched my delivery? I'm leaving for Africa in 10 hours and..." I will guarantee you, I will have someone coming back and talking to me within probably five minutes. That's huge from a business standpoint. Now, I don't necessarily need to use that specifically Twitter for my own customer service because of the type of work that I do, but regardless, it's what it's kind of known for these days. So tweets with images see 89% more likes, and 150% more retweets. It's, again, visual nature of stuff, if you have photos and you're a photographer it can be beneficial to uploading stuff to Twitter using your images. Users averaged more daily posts to Twitter than most other social platforms. Again, they're generally posting five to eight times a day. It's generally, you know, it's a 140 characters is your limitation so you have people who are more free to share their immediate thoughts in what's happening. So my thoughts on Twitter. Twitter is an important network. It's a fun place I like to be. To be honest, I don't generate a ton of revenue or value proposition from being on it. I don't get a lot of business from it. I know some other photographers they get some but mostly it's about that engagement and increasing the relationships with a lot of different people out there. So I will connect with people and engage in Twitter chats, another thing that I think I'll mention in a second. But for the most part, I'm not sitting there and it's not going to sell me a lot of stuff. It's not going to increase my revenue streams a ton, at least directly. Indirectly, that idea of connecting with other brands and other companies it's a simple and fast network. It's not one I have to put a lot of thought into because again, it's short amount of characters that you can share per tweet. I recommend that people check it out but I don't think it's important for everyone to necessarily be on. If you're already active on it, you might as well be using it. But it's not a place where most photographers are gonna generate too much business, at least outside specific genres. So tips for building your audience: find and follow relevant people. This is the single probably biggest thing about Twitter is this fact that the vast majority of people that have large followings. If you actually look at their numbers are following a large amount of people, so you get what's called follow-back. So you sit there and say, "I'm going to follow you." And then they look at your page and like, "Oh, I'm going to follow you back." That's pretty common. Much more here than any other network. Twitter has Discovery and other things which can be helpful but a lot of the big photographers out there that have this generally started that way even if you look at their pages now and all of a sudden it's like, "Oh, they only follow like a thousand people." That's because they went through and called their stream a little bit. To build their audience they went through and followed a lot of people and then once they built that audience they went back and unfollowed a lot of those individuals. Use hashtags, again hashtags, Twitter is kind of the birthplace of it. So using hashtags here and there was a great place to find and discover new content and same thing could be said about the content that you're sharing. So the photo that I posted of the image of this class, #sonyalpha, allows a lot of other people that are interested in Sony Alpha cameras to follow along. It's a great kind of easy connection point. Upload images and tag other accounts, so what's really interesting and happening...it's happened in the last year essentially is that Twitter used to...so you have a 140 characters to share on a tweet but what they've done is that they've changed things around so that images that you upload no longer take up the link for that image in terms of the countdown from those 140 characters. At the same times when you tag other accounts within your images it again isn't going to count against your 140 character limits. So they've extended the number of characters kind of that you can use by changing how the system works. So when I sit there and I'll upload a post maybe I'm might have tagged Sony Electronics and Enduro and a handful of other different companies that were a part of this image or whatnot and that hiding it within the tag allows me to make sure that they understand that it was tagged and maybe other people interact with it based on that but it's not taking up my limited character limit here. Post interesting time relevant content. Again, Twitter, is really about instant conversations. It's about stuff happening in real-time, news stuff, political stuff, all sorts of other things like if you'd engage on topics that are trending there you will spur a lot more engagement and you can grow your followers quite quickly assuming you're not an internet troll which even then you could probably grow your followers because there's a lot of them out there as well. But engaging in kind of that real-time sensitive stuff is a great way. If you can figure out a way to make that work within your brand as a photographer, the better. So Twitter is all about having conversations. Again, it's kind of these small couple of people conversations but they can be quite engaging, they can be a lot of fun and I'm a fan of Twitter. Like I said, it's just not something that brings a ton of value to my work. So tips for building your audience, tweet consistently, it's a lot of repetition. Tweet a lot. I highly recommend that. Do a host or a follower giveaway. So essentially, like where you're giving away different things to your followers maybe instead of spending $500 for advertising for a month if you had that as a budget maybe buy like an interesting camera and use that as a giveaway and let that be your marketing for a social platform. Twitter is a good place to do those types of things. Embed tweets into your blog post, you can technically do that with Facebook as well but again, if you have an active blog, you're trying to build an active blog, embedding your tweets will actually mean that the interactions that happen on those tweets within your blog will actually show up here on Twitter as well. You're essentially literally embedding the tweet. So respond to tweets from larger accounts similar to Instagram. The idea that tweets that have large followers or Twitter accounts that have larger followers are going to get a lot of engagement and you engaging with those other accounts will spur a lot of engagement out of that. Now, what Twitter does, a curated feed, it's also quite important to come try to promote as much of that as possible, that engagement. And participate in Twitter chats. So Twitter chats are roundtable discussions on Twitter where you can sit there and talk about, you know, travel or whatnot. They're happening all the time, and again, it's a great easy conversation that you can jump into and there'll be question and answers. Essentially, how it goes, whoever is running it will sit there and say, "Question one, what do think, what's your best country you've ever traveled to?" And there'll be tons of people engaging in it and they'll use a specific hashtag and they'll engage with the other people doing it. That can be a lot of fun. If you want to host one of these, you can certainly do it. You just need to work in kind of spreading the word to get around otherwise you will have a conversation with yourself which is not so fun. And ask questions, again, like most social platforms. Sit there and engage. It's about those conversations kind of questions can help.