Whether you’re new to Twitter or consider yourself an expert, you can benefit from learning tips from a Twitter pro. I had the pleasure of meeting Nicole Michalik, a social media professional, recently and she shared with me her best Twitter tips for Wonder of Tech readers so you can make the best use of Twitter.
Michalik recently spoke about Influence with Twitter at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women. She uses Twitter in her daily life as well as for her jobs as:
- Director of Social Media for iHeartMedia Philadelphia
- Host of “Nik the Web Chick” on radio station Q102
- Co-host of “Chio in the Morning” on radio station Mix 106.1
- Editor and Publisher of Philly Happening – Philadelphia’s Premiere Digital Lifestyle Magazine
You can read her full bio at the end of the article.
Michalik shares Twitter advice for everyone, from those who haven’t started using Twitter yet to those who are experts in using #hashtags and retweets to get their message out. No matter what your level of comfort with Twitter, you’ll learn something new from her advice.
Getting Started with Twitter
Even if you haven’t tried Twitter yet, Michalik has some great advice for you. “So many people are scared of Twitter because it’s the unknown, but it’s really not scary once you do it.”
She compared Twitter to Facebook. “10 years ago Facebook was just some college kids sitting around in a dorm room using it but now my 86-year-old Aunt Eleanor is on it, literally.” Once social media becomes the norm then more people want to become involved.
Michalik recommends signing up for a personal account first to try out Twitter before you use it for business. “Take your time and play around with it. Sign up and try it out for a week or two or even a month to get the hang of it. Follow people, see what ‘trending’ is all about, try it out get comfortable with it.”
You can also see what you’re competition is doing. Follow them and see what they’re tweeting. See how you can improve on what they’re doing.
If you don’t want to post your own tweets, you can just retweet stuff you find interesting. “if you don’t think you’re funny enough or clever enough, just retweet people who are funny and clever.”
You can use Twitter as a source for information and research. “If you’re using Twitter for personal use, you can just use it as a news source. People don’t realize that you never have to tweet if you don’t want to. You can just use Twitter by following a ton of people and use it for information.”
Reach out to others and connect. If someone is tweeting about topics you’re interested in, send them a personal tweet to reach out and connect with them.
— 1D (@1D_foreverrrr_) October 26, 2014
Twitter as a News Source
Even if you have no other reason to be on Twitter, use it as a news source, Michalik advises. “Twitter is such a phenomenal news source. You’ll always find breaking news on Twitter before you’ll find it anywhere else.”
Michalik cautions about news that’s first versus news that’s verified. You may see tweets of breaking news but reserve judgment until you see a tweet from a verified source with a blue checkmark by their name.
Be careful with your retweets, make sure you’re retweeting verified sources. “Sometimes you’ll see a retweet of a retweet and it’s just people playing around.” Your reputation could rest on the accuracy of people you’re retweeting so make sure you are retweeting people who have a solid reputation on Twitter.
You can use trending topics on Twitter to see what everyone is talking about. Michalik used the example of the release of the iPhone 6 where you could click on #iPhone6 as a trending topic to see what people thought of the phone.
She also advises looking at what’s trending in your area. “A lot of people don’t know that you can look at what’s trending worldwide, nationally and locally,” Michalik said.
“Using hashtags on Twitter is very important.” She advises against using hashtags to be snarky. “The whole point of a hashtag is to trend a topic and get your tweet found.” You can use trending hashtags that are in your niche to help people discover your tweets. Michalik said that by defining your niche broadly you may be able to relate a trending hashtag to your niche.
Your Twitter name can be very important and a key factor in your success on Twitter. Michalik has plenty of suggestions for choosing the best Twitter name for you.
Choosing a Twitter Name
Michalik’s recommendations for choosing a Twitter name are based on whether you’re using Twitter for personal or business reasons. Either way, she recommends that you choose a name that stands out. “If it’s personal, use your name or something that people will recognize you by.”
She cautions against using numbers or symbols that can be difficult to remember and don’t help you stand out.
“If you’re using Twitter for business, choose an ID that’s memorable,” she advises. She gave the example of a woman she met at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women who was trying to start her own health coaching business but had a basic Twitter name that didn’t stand out. Michalik advised the woman to choose a Twitter name that stands out, “even if it’s @ilovevegetables. What is it that makes you stand out for business purposes?”
Use Twitter to help spread the word about your business. “If you’re using Twitter for business, try to get the Twitter ID that is your business name. If it’s not, try to get something as close as you can.”
Change Your Twitter Name If It Doesn’t Fit You Anymore
Michalik shared her own example of choosing her Twitter ID. She joined Twitter just as she finished her appearance on the NBC reality show The Biggest Loser so she was best known for being on that show. She chose the Twitter name @nicolebl4. But as time passed and she became more well-known as an on-air personality for radio stations, her Twitter name no longer was a good fit.
Eight years after appearing on The Biggest Loser, Michalik decided to change her Twitter name. She had different names for her shows on various radio stations so choosing the new name presented a challenge. “I didn’t want to have eight different Twitter accounts.”
⇒ Don’t miss, How To Change Your Twitter Name Successfully
Michalik chose @NicoleisNik and got that name for Instagram as well. She points out that she still has the same followers with her new Twitter name.
Remind People that You’ve Changed Your Twitter Name
She advises tweeting from your old Twitter ID to remind people about your new Twitter name. Every so often someone might use your old Twitter name but you can then send out another tweet guiding people to your new name. “You just let people know, tweet them, ‘it’s still me!'”
Connect Your Social Media Networks
Make the most of your Twitter name by using it on other social media accounts. “All your social media accounts should connect,” advises Michalik. When you choose a Twitter name, use the same name on Instagram, YouTube and Twitter so people can find you. “If people find you on one account then they can easily find your other accounts and they know it’s you.”
Michalik followed her own advice and now is NicoleisNik on all of her accounts, other than Facebook where she uses her full name.
What You Tweet
Michalik advises figuring out what you want from Twitter before you decide what you want to tweet. “What’s your goal? A lot of people don’t think of that before they tweet.”
If your business has a niche then you should target that niche with your tweets. “Build your tweets around your brand,” she recommends. “Most businesses have a niche so why not tweet about what people in your niche are interested in seeing? Give them a reason to follow you.” She pointed out that if your tweets are on broad topics, such as natural foods one day and then how to change a tire the next, your followers won’t know what to expect.
Michalik gave the example of her radio station Q102 having a target demographic of females 18-24 so the station wouldn’t tweet about news, unless the news relates to music their fans are interested in. “We’re not CNN, we’re not going to get that broad audience.”
With a personal account, tweet whatever you want, she advises. “Go hog-wild, have fun with it.” Don’t embarrass yourself, but tweet about whatever interests you. “Yesterday I tweeted about everything from a shirt that I saw at Old Navy to a tweet about how I love Justin Timberlake.”
— Nicole Michalik (@NicoleisNik) October 20, 2014
“Pictures are huge on Twitter. Tweets with pictures have a 75% higher retweet rate than tweets without pictures.” Just attach a photo so try to use as many photos as you can.
You can take pictures at your events and attach pictures of your products to get the attention of your followers. Try to embed the photos in your tweets to make the most of your images instead of just including a link to the photo.
Define Your Niche Broadly
Just because you’re tweeting topics within your niche doesn’t mean your tweets have to be boring. Michalik advises people to think broadly within their niches. “Your niche is what is going to make your followers interested in you.”
She gave the example of a real estate agent who wanted to tweet for business. Instead of merely tweeting about new listings or mortgage rates, she could tweet news about the local school district or plans for a new shopping center in the area. “Tweet about anything that would make people want to buy homes in that area.”
Another example was a woman Michalik met at the Conference who developed a disaster survival kit after Hurricane Sandy with supplies to help you exist for 10 days. She is trying to get the word out about her business and Michalik advised her to tweet about situations where people may need her product.
Getting Followers on Twitter
Michalik highly recommends businesses use giveaways on Twitter to help gain followers. “If you’re a yoga instructor, offer two free classes. If you’re a health coach, offer a free session.” She advised the woman who had the disaster relief kit to offer a free kit. “People love free stuff.” Even better, use photos of your prizes in your tweets.
You can set up the giveaway that once you get 500 new followers you’ll choose one lucky follower to win the prize. That way, Michalik explained, you can get people to follow you and encourage other people to follow you.
Know the Difference between Twitter and Facebook
Although some services let you post simultaneously on Twitter and Facebook, Michalik advises not to use them to post in both places at once. “I’m really against that. You should separate them.”
She pointed out that Twitter is more public while Facebook can be more personal. There’s also a different type of language people use on Twitter so your tweets probably won’t fit well on Facebook, especially if you’re using hashtags.
Pay Attention to Your Profile
“Put a header photo on, choose a background.” Michalik pointed out that people who are looking to follow you will visit your profile page so you want to make the most of it and use that opportunity to stand out and to tell your story.
⇒ Be sure to check out, How to Make Your Twitter Profile More Appealing in 1 Simple Step
Which of Michalik’s tips did you find most helpful? What tips would you give to Wonder of Tech readers for using Twitter? Do you consider yourself a Twitter newbie, expert or somewhere in between? Let us know in the Comments section below!
Nicole Michalik’s Full Bio:
Nicole Michalik is a woman who defines the term “social”! You can catch her hourly reports daily on air as Q102’s “Nik the Web Chick,” as well as the co-host for “Chio in the Morning” weekdays 6am-10am on Mix 106.1. When she’s not talking on the radio, you can find her updating Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as she’s also the Director of Social Media for iHeartMedia Philadelphia. In her time away from radio (and the gym), she is the editor and publisher of Philly Happening – Philadelphia’s Premiere Digital Lifestyle Magazine. You may have caught Michalik on Season 4 of NBC’s hit show, “The Biggest Loser” where she lost 105 lbs! Since Biggest Loser, she starred in the off-Broadway show: Gilbert Gottfried Presents: “The Diet Show.” Raised in the Poconos, she now calls Philly her home since graduating from Drexel University, where in 2013, was named one of Drexel’s “40 Under 40!”