Important words of advice, right? Well, here’s advice you won’t often hear especially from a marketing person like me: Put your Twitter strategy on hold for awhile. Because if you’re planning to join Twitter, start tweeting and hope to get clients right away, you’re going to be disappointed.
It’s easy to have high hopes with social media marketing. We all dream of raging success online. In our Social Media for Health Coaches group on Facebook, I talk with many recent grads from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition holistic health coach training program who are just starting out using social media for business. (One of our group members just posted a note that began with, “I just signed up for Twitter … Now what?”) Everything they see tells them they need to be using social media. There’s a genuine FOMO (fear of missing out) that makes these new coaches worry about what to do and which social networks to use (“I need to be on all of them, right?”). And some have very unrealistic expectations about what social media can do for their wellness practices.
I’ve used Twitter off and on for a long time but only recently fell back in love with it after being bored with it for a few years. (As a social media marketer, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that, but it’s the truth.) But now I’m excited about Twitter again, and I think a lot of that has to do with my health and wellness-industry friends who are on Twitter, like IIN grad and WellpreneurOnline podcaster Amanda Cook; healthy living blogger and my Kansas City-based buddy Lou Ann Donovan; and Marly McMillen Beelman who blogs about delicious vegan creations over at Namely Marly. Following them and seeing what they’re doing on Twitter, I better understand its potential for my business, for my health coach friends and also for just good old-fashioned networking. (Case in point: Last night, I had a great phone call with a podcaster who I “met” on Twitter – Jared Easley, host of the inspiring, nothing-is-impossible internet radio show, Starve the Doubts.)
I’ve been inspired by my Twitter-loving friends, so let me hopefully do the same for you, particularly if you’re in the “I just signed up for Twitter … Now what?” camp. Don’t worry about a strategy, but do:
- Follow a few dozen people that you admire or want to get to know – people in the health and wellness industry, peers, journalists, competitors, publications, blogs, people in your city, friends and relatives, etc.
- Get up to speed on Twitter basics. There are hundreds of blogs and articles online where you can get familiar with terminology, Twitter “best practices” and learn about free tools like HootSuite and Buffer to make tweeting easier.
- Study people in the health and wellness industry who are using Twitter successfully, like life transformation coach Melanie Cobb who was featured on Amanda’s The Art of Twitter to Grow Your Coaching Practice podcast.
- Spend 15-30 minutes on Twitter 2-3x times a day “favoriting” tweets you like, retweeting tweets from others and tweeting out things you find interesting.
- Join my Social Media for Health Coaches group, and post your Twitter questions there. It’s a fun, encouraging community for getting and giving support, and if you’re new to social media you will be in great company there.
- And, as the late, great Dale Carnegie said, show a genuine interest in people (on Twitter). Ask questions, dole out some kudos and be kind.
One of the things that surprised me when I was working on my Pinterest for wellness pros ebook was that every person featured in the book was also active on Twitter. (Not saying there’s a correlation between Pinterest and Twitter, but just found it interesting that everyone had accounts on both platforms.) I tweeted three of them to get their advice for this post, and no surprise, they were quick to respond. Marly (@NamelyMarly), who I’d follow online even if she wasn’t my cousin, said: “I don’t recommend looking at Twitter as a traffic generator. It’s more of an engagement generator. Use it to connect with others – both about your own blog and about theirs as well. I like to look at Twitter as one big party, and you’re in one corner of a big, loud room. You have to work your way into the party. That requires having engaging conversations with others.” Amanda (@VintageAmanda) responded with, “Actually interact, not just broadcast.” And Sonia Hazard (@NiaMassage), LMT, NCMT and Positive Attitude Adjuster (love her title!) said, “Follow accounts that have content pertinent to your target market. Inspire them, make ’em laugh and share other similar tweets!”
I like their advice: There’s a party you should attend. When you get there, don’t talk about yourself, inspire people and get them laughing. And I’ll add: Don’t bore people with your “my awesome strategy” blah blah blah talk, thank the host and offer to help at the end. That’s what thoughtful people do offline and online.
Are you on Twitter? Share your page in the comments section, and follow me at @meldeardorff.