Although Twitter has been around for a decade now it’s still a mystery to many, an addiction to some and a time gremlin to others.

Tweeting can be rewarding, fun, and profitable if done properly. If not, you’re probably finding daily frustration in those measly 140 characters.

So here are three big reasons why many Virtual Assistants aren’t seeing any pay-off from their Twitter activity …

1. You haven’t got a strategy

Yes, a strategy … for Twitter.

Just as you should have an overall marketing strategy, you should also have individual strategies for each of the elements included within your overall plan.

For example, you’re marketing strategy most likely will include:

  • Social media marketing
  • Online networking
  • Offline networking
  • Email marketing

Among others …

Assuming you have social media as one of those categories, you need to break it down further – what exactly will you be doing in each channel you’ve decided to use (based on where you’ve discovered your target market is hanging out).

The objective?

To devise a “plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim”.

Without a plan, or at least a goal, how will you know what success looks like?

TASK: Instead of getting frustrated and sporadically working on this part of your plan – which in itself will do you no good whatsoever – here’s what to do …

Set three mini achievements to reach. This could be daily, weekly or monthly. But stick to them – so don’t overdo it!

For example:

  1. Get at least 3 daily retweets
  2. Achieve 3 clicks through to your website weekly
  3. Grow followers by 20% monthly

Then you have something to aim for and measure against.

Here’s a few tips on how to build your following, and of course, do your own research. There’s so much valuable information online.

Yes it takes time.

But this is your business growth we’re talking about. So take some time, even just 1 hour per week, to sit down and work on your business. Not your clients. Yours.

At the very least, it’ll help you realise if Twitter marketing could work as a long-term strategy, or not.

2. You’re not networking

It’s funny how many of us forget that social media isn’t just about the number of likes, clicks, posts or shares, but it’s actually about interacting.

Being social.

Networking.

Those of you who are successful on Twitter probably do well because you use it as it was intended – to interact with people – not for data or stats (although it has turned into a great resource of information if you can cut through all the noise).

To be noticed, grow your network, build trust and develop relationships, you need to have a voice.

Twitter is a great way to find new clients if you can be seen and heard in the right circles.

Start a conversation. Join in on other conversations – if you can add value. Follow people you’d like to work with, or who could introduce you to other potential clients. Share links – of your own and of others. Mention specific people in tweets – if relevant. And of course, remember to retweet and favourite those same people often.

Over time, you should find they will start interacting back.

They’ll start favouriting and retweeting your tweets – assuming they are relevant to their niche. And eventually, you could be engaging in conversations together.

Then, when they need business support, who will they turn to?

TASK: Start networking today. And here’s how:

Find 5 people you admire on Twitter, or that you would like to work with.

Take a look at their tweet history or their website, and find something to start a conversation about.

It could be to compliment them on their website content. Design. Tips / advice section. Or it could be about some recent news they shared that you have an opinion about (as long as it’s positive – this isn’t the stage to be confrontational, although that strategy can work too, in certain situations. Still, since it’s riskier I’d suggest keeping it simple for now).

Then tweet it. If it’s relating to their website or past tweet, share the relevant link and don’t forget to mention them specifically using @username.

And here’s a few more tips on growing your client and prospect base through Twitter.

3. You’re out of sync

Possibly the hardest of all.

Time.

Every VA out there can relate to this one.

It’s hard to squeeze in time for your own social media marketing. We do it regularly for our clients, but taking time to do it for ourselves … not so easy.

But it could be time well spent.

We should be marketing our own businesses regularly. Yes you may well have a strong client base right now, but what about next month or next year?

Your clients’ needs may change. And you have to be prepared for this.

Know that if one client’s work dries up, your business will stay strong because you’ve got X others plus X potentials through your regular networking.

Mastering Twitter can help.

Schedule regular tweets using Hootsuite or Buffer – so there’s always activity going on. Then remember to log in at least once a day – even just for five minutes – and retweet others, or join in on a conversation that interests you.

And this is the key.

It has to be two-sided.

If you just broadcast, broadcast, broadcast, no matter how valuable the information you’re sharing is, you aren’t making the most out of Twitter.

Look out for “Hash tag hours” that you could join. These take place daily, 24 hours across all time zones. So find out which ones your potential clients could be lurking, and get stuck in.

And a good tip if you can’t actually be there at the time – schedule a tweet using the relevant hashtag for that chat and you’ll very likely get a retweet.

You could also try finding some hash tag hours local to you, just don’t hijack other areas e.g. #Solihullhour unless you’re actually a business based in Solihull.

Try bigger groups like #earlybiz that don’t have geographical boundaries associated with them.

TASK: Find interesting avenues for the time you spend on Twitter. Schedule that time in your calendar so you don’t forget and look on it as a client task, then …

Sign up to a free scheduling tool like Buffer or Hootsuite and schedule 3 daily tweets.

Find one chat to get involved in regularly. This may take some research to find one that will be beneficial to your objective, but do it. Then get involved.

Build relationships with others in the group. Share valuable information. Ask questions.

With time, Twitter could be a good source of new clients.

And if after six to twelve months of sticking to this programme you see no results, stop. Try a different avenue.

It isn’t wasted time. Marketing is all about trial and error. What works for some, may not work for others.

But if you don’t try, you’ll never find out.

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