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Why no one is reading your tweets

Jason Cannon May 15, 2014

I am by no means a Twitter expert, but I’ve maintained a presence on twitter for a long time. Of all the social media platforms, Twitter is my favorite by a large margin.

It’s engaging. It feels more conversational, and – when executed properly – it feels more informative.

There are more than 200 million twitter accounts, but if you could get your hands on the data I think you’d find that – when executed poorly – less than 1 percent of those are actually interesting.

I follow 800-plus people on twitter, and most have some connection to trucking. I get a lot of good leads from twitter, and each account I follow brings a little something unique to the party.

If you want a good example of how to entertain a following and still brand your business, give @PeterbiltGroup a follow. This is a good example of how you can promote your business, but still engage followers who otherwise don’t care if you have a low mileage 2011 Peterbilt on the lot today.

Allstate Peterbilt helped me kill a layover in California last week with a “selfie” contest that, if nothing else, was entertaining. Over the course of 2-3 hours, several other followers joined in and it built a small head of steam. Social media is about engagement and entertainment. The impromptu selfie contest was fun. It was a Peterbilt selfie contest, so only submissions that included a photo of something that said Peterbilt were “allowed” in a contest that lead to nowhere. It was just fun.

If all you ever tweet is, “Here’s what we have on sale today” or “Here’s the service we can offer you,” odds are a sizable portion of your followers have already checked out. People follow you because they are interested in what you do, but odds are they are interested in multiple facets of your business and the people who make them work.

For example, if you’re a Kenworth dealer in Tampa, Fla. anyone who follows you likely has some unrelated interest in that area as well. Tweet out a traffic report or major local news headline. Offer brief commentary on the Rays or Buccaneers. Retweet some industry news you found interesting. Did you try something from Taco Bell’s new breakfast menu and survive? Let us know, because that’s a fear we all live with daily.

And for goodness sakes, if you hire someone new or make a promotion, tweet out your news.

Montgomery, Ala.-based @fourstarfreight is pretty good about that.

We already know you can spec a totally awesome T680 better than anyone in south Florida. What we don’t know is anything about any of the people who make your business work.

There is certainly a place for promoting your business, but it’s all about packaging. It shouldn’t feel mechanical. It shouldn’t come off like a commercial. You can tell me you have an awesome team of technicians, but I already assume you do. Take a group shot and caption it, “here’s the tech team that keep our customers on the road.” You’re saying the same thing, but it’s more personable and I get to see people. Get a new truck on the lot? Tweet that sucker out. But don’t tweet 13 of them. If you’re going to that, start a Flickr account and tweet a link to a gallery. You still get all your pics out there, but we don’t have to slog through them all.

@_Ask_Pete is a good resource on how to tweet about parts specials, pics of cool trucks and related industry information. He was also an entrant in the Peterbilt selfie contest, so we know he’s got a sense of humor; the kind of guy you’d want to share a Reality Czeck Pilsener with (and he knows why).

@StoopsTrucks has done of good job of pumping up a local promotion, but always provides a healthy mix of industry news on their feed as well.

I have tweeted more than 3,800 times since I started my account. The vast majority of those have been links to articles I have written about the trucking industry and coverage from industry events and trade shows. I assume that’s why most of my followers follow me, and I want to provide the service they expect.

The others are tweets of articles I find interesting (on a variety of topics that I didn’t write), a mixture of beer reviews, sarcastic remarks about sports and celebrities, and pictures of random and odd things I see as a travel for work. None of that is very important, but twitter is basically the only way I will ever meet most of my followers. I want them to know I have a sense of humor, I like beer and have an opinions about things totally unrelated to work.

If you look back at your timeline and read you tweets, ask yourself “would think make an interesting conversation at a party?” If the answer is “no,” inject some personality into it.

Again, I’m not an expert. But I get a lot of feedback on the random stuff just like I do on the trucking articles and, I think, the followers I engage with regularly feel like they know me – at least to some degree. I bet we could drink a beer (Molson only applicable in Canada) and pick right up on a conversation because there’s already been a discovery of common ground.

Social media can be a lot of fun and a helpful tool for your business, but a Twitter account has to be a source for something other than self-promotion.

Jason Cannon is Online Managing Editor for Truck Parts & Service.

You can follow me on twitter at @By_Jason_Cannon

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