Whilst Facebook is fairly saturated in the developed world and Google+ is growing ten-fold on a daily basis, Twitter continues to have steady appeal to businesses world-wide for one simple reason … it’s not complicated.

Twitter has around 200 million active members and is the medium for broadcasting latest or breaking news. Want to know what’s going on in the world? Hashtag it on Twitter and it’ll most likely be real-time information.

The main attraction is that you can write what you want on Twitter and it will be broadcast. There is no ‘culling’ as can be the case on other social media sites.

In terms of making it work for your Virtual Assistant business, it’s also about the information you broadcast. And if done right it is a powerful tool for engaging with your clients and prospective clients regularly.

I’ve recently reviewed my last marketing plan and discovered that I had let my social media activity fall by the wayside. Whilst I regularly undertake social media for my clients, my own business activity seems to have taken a backseat in the last few months.

The reason being? Well honestly it’s a simple case of not making time for it because of client workload. Which in itself is a good thing, but in actual fact, by letting things slip I’ve ended up back at square one again. The little I am doing is not getting much interaction because Twitter (and social media generally) is all about building relationships. It takes time, and when you stop engaging with others, well it’s only natural that they’ll stop engaging with you.

Starting over, I’ve been researching ways to get people to follow and engage with me. Of course there’s lots of great advice, but also a lot of noise.

Here are some expert ideas which you’re most likely doing already. But if like me your social media has fallen through the net a little, then they may act as a refresher and motivator to restore and build your Twitter following and engagement.

1. Add Twitter buttons to your blog, website, newsletter, signature and other social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ etc)

An obvious starter, but have you actually done all of them? Check over your profiles, emails and website, and if Twitter isn’t there then make sure you add it in.

2. Follow influential people within your industry and niche

Tweepi has come to my attention through doing this research. It’s a fab little tool that can help you find relevant people on Twitter that you should be following.

Basically it enables you to see the people you follow who are not following you back – aka ‘Flush’. Allows you to see the users following you who you’re not following back – aka ‘Reciprocate’. And allows you to see everyone who you’re following so you can unfollow as many users as you like – aka ‘Cleanup’. It’s also a great way to see who your friends are following and follow other people based on who they follow.

3. Broadcast informative, relevant information and news

This is the most important point. If you’ve spent the time making sure your Twitter link is visible, have shared it with everyone and spent time following people who you’d like to interact with, the last thing you want to do is broadcast irrelevant, boring information.

Tweet your own content, perhaps from your blog, as well as tweeting other people’s news and updates. This will show them that you’re interested in what they have to say, and as long as you’re interesting too, then they’ll follow you back.

Top tips when broadcasting on Twitter are:

  • Use #Hashtags to help people find your content.
  • Ask questions to encourage interaction – ‘experts’ particularly love this as it makes them seem even more authorative. And of course, you can jump in on other peoples’ questions too – as long as you feel you have the expertise!
  • Spark more interest by offering one-off tips relating to your area of expertise.
  • Think of who you want to engage with on Twitter and home in on what their needs might be.

4. Tweet content regularly 

The experts advise tweeting posts around 5-10 times a day on Twitter, since it’s a stream of information. If you only tweet once a day, that lonely tweet can easily get 20 other tweets piled up on top of it in a matter of seconds.

This is the area I’ve really fallen down in recent months, because whilst you can of course schedule tweets to go via Hootsuite or similar, you don’t always want to be broadcasting. You need to be interacting too, and that takes time. However for Twitter to really work, it’s time you will have to spend.

What does or doesn’t work for you on Twitter? How do you manage to stay on top of your social media activity whilst completing client work at the same time? Leave your comments below.