This article is a guest post by Melanie Deardorff
As a health and wellness pro, I bet you educate clients on the benefits of taking a holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle. (Integrated, multi-faceted and well-rounded, but never striving for well-balanced perfection since we know that proves to be futile.) Did you know a holistic approach on Twitter works well, too?
Earlier this year, I decided to get serious about Twitter. I’d had an account since 2009 and used it regularly for a couple years, but then virtually abandoned it — just tweeting every once in a blue moon and feeling guilty I didn’t like it more. (My day job is a digital marketer, and to say I didn’t like Twitter much almost amounted to heresy! Guilty feeling #1.)
While attending IIN’s health coach training program in 2013, my interest in Twitter began picking up because I was answering questions about it, helping other students through Facebook groups. Though I was coming from a good point of understanding Twitter, I felt a little hypocritical not using it much. (Guilty feeling #2.) So I got more active. But it wasn’t until February 2014 that my rekindled love of Twitter really took off. I began spending time on it each day, finding and following other health and wellness pros. I came to see just how many people in the industry were using Twitter – and using it well – and I vowed to do the same.
Six months later, my followers have doubled and my blog’s benefiting from the exposure of my ramped-up and more strategic tweeting … but more important than these things is that I’m having more fun on Twitter than ever before and am meeting and interacting with some amazing people!
12-point holistic Twitter plan for a wellness business
As I look back on what I’ve done in six months period of time, I found a dozen things that are working for me and for many of the people I’m following on Twitter. Here’s my well-rounded, holistic Twitter plan for a wellness business:
- Put effort and creativity into setting up your Twitter page. After reviewing hundreds of health coaches’ Twitter pages, I found most-common profile styles people are using and some amazing examples of creativity.
- Follow people you know and want to get to know. Every week, I start following a few more health coaches and wellness pros on Twitter that I know from the Health and Wellness Bloggers Facebook group. And because I listen to several health-and-wellness-themed podcasts each week, I always discover new people there to follow on Twitter.
- Share content along with your personality. I’m a voracious blog reader — hitting nearly three dozen each week — and I love sharing my favorite posts on Twitter and also linking to my favorite podcast episodes.
- Keep your tweets short enough for retweeting. You want the majority of tweets you share to be retweetable, which means you have to edit yourself. The ideal length, according to many experts, is around 120 characters. Maybe it’s because I’m a long-time marketing/communicator who loves to write and edit, but I kinda geek out on doing this and enjoy reworking nearly every tweet to make sure it’s short enough for an RT.
- Be generous by retweeting, @mentioning and favoriting. I only spend between 15 and 30 minutes on Twitter each day, but I make sure to “show a genuine interest in people.” (Yes, I’m a true-blue Dale Carnegie fan). Since my Twitter stream is filled with the tweets and retweets of the 700+ people I follow, when it comes to retweeting I pretty much stick to what catches my attention and is more front-and-center (meaning, I don’t often scrooooooollllll way down the page). I favorite others’ tweets, including those of mine that get RT’d. And 99% of the time when I’m tweeting someone else’s content, I see if they’re on Twitter (99% of the time they are), so I give them an “at-mention” and include their @twittername in my tweet. (This brings out the crazed editor in me, because I want my tweets to not go beyond 120 characters — which is darn hard with the at-mentions. But I want people to see when I’m talking about them.)
- Use tools to make tweeting easier. My favorite Twitter tool is Buffer, and I’d be lost and cranky without it.
- Educate yourself on “best practices.” Pardon the business jargon, but saying “best practices” is the briefest and best way I know how to say – read up on what’s working with Twitter and pick up tips from people you know and trust. Even if you only spend a few minutes each week doing this (e.g., just reading one educational blog post) you can grow your knowledge. Of course, I’d love it if you stay connected to my blog, because I talk about Twitter fairly often.
- Use hashtags to attract followers and hijack trends. I started using hashtags more regularly this year, having not spent much time with them before. My favorites include: #healthcoach, #blogger, #vegan (I’m not a vegan, but I follow a lot of vegans on Twitter … and I guess that makes me a vegan-wanna-be). Using hashtags helps organize your tweets and makes what you’re sharing more findable. To check the activity of hashtags, go to search.twitter.com or get great tips from this SmartInsights post, How to find the best Hashtags to use in Twitter.
- Use images to make your tweets stand out. This isn’t something you should do with every tweet, but it’s worth doing regularly. Some of the stats I’ve seen say a tweet with an image gets more than twice the attention of a regular tweet … and you’ve gotta love that.
- Repeating yourself on Twitter is a good thing! Back in the day when I was a Twitter newbie (circa 2009 and 2010), I thought it was bad to repeat myself on Twitter. I thought my followers would notice my duplicate tweets, and I wanted them to think I had new things to say. But now that I’m back in the game again and am spending time researching those lovely best practices, I’ve learned the lifespan of a tweet is super-short … and if you tweet the exact same thing later in the day and again tomorrow, it’s not likely anyone will see the repeat(s). If saying the same thing more than once bugs you (and it still does me a little), then just change the wording the second and third times.
- Dedicate at least 15 minutes a day to it. As I mentioned, I spent up to 30 minutes a day on Twitter. But there are some days where I just hop on and off within a few minutes. Spend at least 15 minutes each day, especially if you’re new to Twitter, and see how that works for you over a few weeks.
- Keep at it and keep having fun. A while ago I interviewed two health coaches and we talked about how they keep a consistent focus on Twitter and the other social sites they use. I can’t think of better advice, other than to top it off by saying: Have some fun with Twitter! And if/when it ceases to be fun, don’t keep at it just because you think you have to. You can shift your energies to another social network or just wait until the mood strikes again like it did for me.
So there you have it: the 12-point holistic plan I’m following to get the most out of Twitter. If you’re already on Twitter and are feeling out of balance with it, perhaps my advice is the cure for what ails you. And if you’re not using it today, maybe now you’ll give it a try. Hope to see you on Twitter … I’m@meldeardorff, if you want to follow me. And then I’ll follow you back.
Melanie Deardorff is a veteran marketer whose focus has been digital and social media marketing since 2009. Based in the U.S. Midwest but transitioning to more of a digital nomad (work from wherever) lifestyle, Melanie partners with companies of all sizes and industries, including nonprofits. A special passion of hers is helping small companies, including health and wellness-focused businesses, stand out and be authentic online.