I personally really like Twitter. Of the social media platforms it is my favorite and I could be biased in that regard because it has given me the most. Through my use of Twitter I met some of my best friends, started a baseball blog and podcast with those friends, covered MLB playoff games as a member of the press, covered the first professional boxing match in DC in who knows how long as a member of the press, got mailed a free book on the Washington Nationals, and played a softball game with some of my closest Twitter friends at the Nationals baseball youth academy. If my business, Stable Hands Pet Care and Services (whose site you're on right now), accomplished anything similar to what I have personally I'd be ecstatic, but that hasn't yet been the case.
The term yet is important because I have not put in the time or effort needed to grow a true Twitter following and for much of the time I thought of Twitter for business as a completely different animal (pun intended) than personal Twitter. Kind of like blogging. I figured my tweets had to always be professional and only relate to pets or the pet industry, but that misses the entire point of Twitter. Twitter is humanizing. Two of the best local Twitter follows are news anchors for channel 3 news WTKR Kristen Crowley and Blaine Stewart. Think about your news people, sitting there telling you all the bad thins happening in the world, how the road is blocked because there's a scheduled bridge opening or how it's going to snow this coming weekend and you have to cancel your travel plans. The news people don't burn the houses, schedule the bridge openings, or cause the weather. They just report on it, but the phrase, "Don't shoot the messenger," exists for a reason.
Why do I bring up these two local news personalities when talking about Twitter for business? Because they do Twitter extremely well. Their way of getting out in the community is tweeting about their personal lives. Letting us get a glimpse behind the scenes. Twitter humanizes. The brands and celebrities that utilize Twitter the best do it by showing us the people behind the curtain. The question for us isn't how to emulate this. That part is easy. We tweet out pictures of the pets we take care of, tell little stories about moments in our day, interact with our followers, answer questions about pet care, and on and on. A list of little things than humanize us and give people a glimpse behind the curtain of what it's like to walk dogs, pet sit, run a business, and live life in Virginia Beach. Not hard at all. The hard part is getting the followers.
I remember the first time my personal Twitter blew up. It was Opening Day of 2010 and Nationals Park was swarmed by Phillies fans. I let my feelings known and while going to war with the city of Philadelphia wouldn't be a good move on my business account there are other times my Twitter blew up. There was the joke I made using WebMd info on symptoms to fake diagnose baseball players as pregnant, live tweeting Arizona Fall League games, rating ballpark food from different cities, and a few other things that got quite a bit of attention. There was also the reaction to the Steve Lombardozzi trade that a number of us fun with, but that's much harder to recreate.
Twitter is at it's best when when people are collectively reacting to moments, and we can't manufacture those moments. Building a Twitter following takes patience, consistency, and timing. When the moment or event happens you have to be there with a half decent tweet (the first rule of Twitter is there are no good tweets) but you also have to be there the next day to give the people that followed you a reason to stick around. It's not just about the moment you make a joke that works or hope on the right hashtag at the right time. It's about giving people a reason to keep following you and if people are following a Virginia Beach pet sitting account they are going to want pictures of pets, tips about taking care of pets, news about deals we might have so we can take care of their pets, information an things to do with their pets in Virginia Beach, and so on. So while it might be our tweet about the Super Bowl or the Winter Olympics or the World Cup that gets people following they're going to stay if we can provide value.
So yeah I know what to do once I get the following. It's just I need to get the following and that is my current struggle. I want to build my 2018 marketing around social media and Twitter is my favorite social platform and where I have the most fun, but in some ways that is why I'm currently finding it the most challenging to us, because I've used it so much and built it up once where I've never built and Instagram or really cared about my personal Facebook. Twitter is a part of my personal life and I've gathered myself a small following using it and made a few close friends. Recreating a success is much harder than doing something for the first time. In life we learn from our failures and not our success. So in other words I don't think the solution is to attempt to recreate anything. It is to start over and carve out a new niche. If you'd like to follow along in this journey you can do so by following us @stablehandspcs on the ole Tweeter machine.