This is the third installment in our series about using social channels to help with marketing yourself when working as an independent contractor during retirement. First, we discussed the benefits of using Facebook to expand your audience. Then we talked about LinkedIn and how you don’t have to be looking for a new job to benefit from sharing and writing articles there.
Today, I want to look into Twitter and see how it can help you in unretirement.
What is Twitter?
Twitter launched in March of 2006 so, by now, many of us probably have an account. Twitter describes itself as an online news and social networking site. It has also been called a microblogging site. Did you know:
- Over 330 million monthly active users worldwide share “Tweets” of 280 characters or less (that’s double the number they started with).
- The average Twitter user has 707 followers.
- 66% of brands with 100 or more employees have a Twitter account.
500 million Tweets are sent each day – that’s 5,787 every second! In addition, Twitter is the number one platform for government leaders. Even in unretirement, you should really appreciate that kind of activity.
How do you create a Twitter account?
If you don’t have one, perhaps the most difficult part of creating a Twitter account is getting a unique name. That’s because there can only be one of us in all of Twitter. So, if your name is John Smith, chances are pretty good that someone has already claimed that.
If the name you select is already taken, Twitter will immediately prompt you to select another. You may have to do this a few times so don’t get frustrated. Keep in mind that your ultimate goal here is to grow your followers. So, if you have to get creative with your Twitter name, think of something that is memorable and makes people want to learn more about you. For example, Unretirement Project wasn’t available when we created a Twitter account for this blog, so we chose @UnretirementPro instead.
Once you have your name, you will be asked for a brief bio and link to your website (if you don’t have a blog, use your LinkedIn profile). Again, share information that people will want to engage with. You want the Twitterverse to follow you and click on the link you share.
Finally, you will want to upload an avatar photo so others will recognize you when you show up in their Twitter stream. If this is to promote your side hustle, you can use your business logo. Just don’t skip this step! There are many users who just ignore connection requests from people who don’t have a profile picture.
There are a couple of good resources that can guide you in creating an impressive Twitter profile:
Your 5-day Plan Being a Twitter Pro
Now that you have an account, let’s talk about the 5-day plan to learning more about Twitter.
DAY 1 – Hashtags. These days, most social sites use hashtags. But Twitter is where it all began. Simply put the # symbol in front of key words or phrases (with no spaces) to create a searchable hashtag in a Tweet. A hashtag serves two big purposes – 1) if someone is interested in a topic, they click on a hashtag and they might find you and your Tweets and 2) if they like your Tweet and profile, they may start following you. Do a search for #retirement or #retirementplanning and see what I mean.
DAY 2 – Write a Post. In the bottom right of your phone is a circle with a quill pen. Or, on your browser, a button can be found on the top that says “Tweet”. Clicking on it will launch the composition screen asking, “What’s happening?”. Just start typing your message here and share whatever you like. You can attach a link to great content (like this article). And don’t forget to add your hashtags. Along the bottom of this screen will be buttons to add photos, videos, GIFs, or polls.
DAY 3 – Start Connecting. Like most social sites, Twitter is happy to make recommendations on who to follow. Just click on the magnifying glass at the bottom of your phone or check out the section titled Who to Follow in the top-right of your browser. Just look for the Follow button next to their user name. And be sure to click on a hashtag you like and follow a few people who share your interests. You might even want to start with this great account – @UnretirementPro
DAY 4 – Get to Know Your Audience. Again, like other social sites, Twitter wants you to know about your audience and what they are saying to and about you. At the bottom of the home page on your phone is a bell so click on that. In your browser dashboard you can see the bell next to “Notifications” in the upper left screen. This will show new followers, post comments, and mentions about you. From here, it’s very easy to follow back those people who interact with you.
DAY 5 – Engage, Engage, Engage. As you scroll through the Tweets on your home page, you will probably find something interesting. At the bottom of each Tweet will be icons. If you like the Tweet, click on the Heart to let the person and their followers know. If you want to comment on the Tweet, click the comment balloon icon to launch the familiar composition screen. The two arrows icon is used to Retweet – that is, share someone else’s Tweet with your followers. You will find that, the more you engage, the more you grow your follower audience.
BONUS! Twitter clients. The Twitter site has improved a lot over the years, but you might be saying to yourself, “There’s got to be an easier way to view and engage with information.” And there is. Test drive a Twitter client such as HootSuite or Tweetdeck to help you organize information.
Twitter remains a very popular social channel – one that just can’t be ignored. The large number of active users can help you quickly grow an audience. And be sure to share all of your other social accounts with your Twitter followers. They just might want to connect with you everywhere!