Are you looking to engage with your clients and develop your marketing strategy for your business or practice, but are not quite sure how to go about it? If you are looking to move beyond Facebook and embrace social media more fully then it's worth considering Twitter. Twitter can be a very useful tool to spread bite-size snippets of information to a wider audience about your product, service or event.
Rather than being intimidated by Twitter - think of it as texting to a wider audience - why not learn more about it and explore its potential for your business with this handy guide.
How to Use Twitter for Your Natural Health Business
Just like other social media platforms, Twitter allows people and organisations to connect, engage and fulfil products and services. Anyone with a desktop, laptop or mobile, can easily get started on Twitter. However, no two individuals, or entities, share the same level of Twitter success, so it's extremely important to set a goal and work towards it by crafting meaningful tweets.
For some people, Twitter isn't much of a help; the more astute users say it's the perfect platform for getting their message across loud and clear. Being a health practitioner who tweets will give you an edge on the competition as you'll be able to expand your reach. What's more, Twitter allows you to introduce your natural health business without boring people with kilometric sentences.
Learning the art of Tweeting by heart will enable you to take advantage of the global health and wellness market, which is valued at $4.5 trillion, according to the Global Wellness Institute. Whether you're a herbalist, naturopath, nutritionist, health coach, yoga instructor or Ayurveda practitioner, you can secure your share of the pie by turning Twitter into an effective marketing tool.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a dynamic forum where you can share your thoughts or give very short updates to your followers in the form of tweets. To participate, you need to register a username which enables you to interact and tweet (post messages).
What Can I Achieve With Twitter?
Twitter is more than just letting everyone know that you had a great night out! It has much more potential and can help you to:
- Promote a service, product or event
- Share content from your website
- Drive traffic to your website and Natural Therapy Pages profile
- Engage with like-minded users
- Promote other people's content
- Keep up to date with news about the healthcare industry
- Find out what potential clients are looking for
- Respond to customer queries in a timely manner
Top Twitter Tips for Natural Health Practitioners
To have any hope of succeeding in the Twittersphere you need to be fairly dedicated, especially when you start out. Here are some top tips:
- Consistency is the key to developing a following on Twitter, so make it a habit to post relevant content regularly.
- Target market matters. Make sure you know who you are speaking to, what they want to hear and what they are saying. The real challenge is getting the right audience to see your tweets.
- Strategy refers to how you structure your tweets, as well as sending them in a timely manner. Develop a Twitter strategy that provides value to your target audience.
- Manage your content strategy, with regular monitoring that ensures you stay on message.
Signing Up To Twitter
Before you can begin using Twitter you need to register yourself, or your business, with a username and password. Besides detailing your full name, which appears on your profile, you need to select a username which is prefixed by @. If you are setting up a business or company account, then you need to try to choose a username which reflects this.
Include a short bio about your company, plus a link to its website, and coordinate the branding of your page to match. When you first create your account, your username (e.g. @nt_pages) becomes part of your Twitter URL (http://twitter.com/nt_pages) and is the easiest way of being found on Twitter.
How Do I Access Twitter?
After you have signed up and created a username, you can access Twitter from your computer or mobile phone. All smart phones, including the iPhone, Android-based devices, Windows phones and BlackBerry, will have this capability, typically via a web app which you can download to your phone or via the web browser. If you don't have a smartphone, you can also use SMS to tweet, which is handy when you are not in range of a Wi-Fi or an internet connection.
Getting To Grips With Twitter Culture
Before you become overwhelmed by all the @, # hashtags and talk of tweets, it makes sense to dissect Twitter. It is all very simple once you get the hang of it. Here are some essential aspects of the tool which you need to master before you start tweeting:
- Tweets are messages posted on the Twitter platform. Think of tweeting as sharing your thoughts in a brief, casual manner. Tweets are designed to be brief and were inspired by text messaging on mobile phones, which emphasise concise communication. Each tweet has a character limit of 280. Apart from pure text, tweets may also come in the form of photos, videos or GIFs.
- Following is a term used when you choose to follow someone on Twitter (a bit similar to adding them to your friend list on Facebook) to see updates from them every time they post a tweet. For a company, these may be tweets to announce new products, special deals, company news or a special event. You choose who you follow, so you can match this with your specific interests. If you don't enjoy someone's tweets, you can just as easily unfollow them.
As a new Twitter user, you can start by following people you know (e.g. colleagues, friends) and then follow people that they interact with regularly. A great place to gain followers is from your Natural Therapy Pages profile or your website, which enables you to maintain an ongoing relationship with your clients. You could embed a Twitter icon or link asking people to follow you to get the latest updates. Twitter also has a "Who to follow" tab on the homepage that suggests people with similar interests, and there are also Twitter list directories of like-minded people online.
- # Hashtags connect tweets that bear related content. You are going to come across the "#" hashtag symbol a lot on Twitter. It is a way of marking keywords or topics in a tweet, and is used before the relevant keyword; take #massage as an example. If you click on any hashtagged word, it will bring up any tweet in that category or topic. So if you click on #massage, you will find tweets from other people in the Twittersphere also discussing massage.
And while hashtags make it easy to follow subjects that interest you or topics that are trending on Twitter, they also enable people to find your business, service or practice. Here are some of the top hashtags to help increase your Twitter engagement:
- Links are like roads that take users to their destination. If you want to add a link to your tweet, say, to your profile page on the Natural Therapy Pages, Twitterquette dictates that you shorten it to fit your 280-character limit. Twitter's t.co service automatically shortens links for you. Prior to its inception, Twitter users have tried an array of URL shorteners, including Bitly, to create a shortened version of their links.
- Retweeting is the act of reposting a message from another person on Twitter. It's basically "forwarding" relevant information to your followers. To do this, copy and paste the original tweet and send it out, usually with "RT" – for retweet – and the original tweeter's username at the beginning of the tweet (RT @nt_pages). This is good Twitterquette and will help you develop relationships with others, as well as create dynamic discussions with your followers.
- Serial Tweeting refers to posting tweets consistently, which you want to practise if you're serious about using Twitter for your natural health business. It makes sense to use a management program, such as TweetDeck or Hootsuite, to draft, schedule and track your tweets more effectively. Besides tracking conversations more efficiently in separate streams, a management tool allows you to see your replies and direct mentions, as well as follow topics (#hashtags) that interest you.
Why not visit the Twitter page of the Natural Therapy Pages for an idea? Good luck and happy tweeting!