A guest blog from ICE member, Finola Wilson, Director of Impact School Improvement. Finola tells us how she grew Impact’s twitter followers from 0 to 10k in 2 years!

If you’re going to sell your services and make a profit, reaching your target market is crucial and one way of doing that is to use social media. Not only is it free but it is available 24/7 and if you get it right it can be an incredibly powerful tool. This blog will show you 7 key steps for making your Twitter feed a successful marketing tool for your business.

First things first though, we need to tell you a little about who we are and what we do.

We are Impact School Improvement Ltd and we provide support for schools that has a real impact on standards. We support senior, middle leaders and teachers in schools both primary and secondary across Wales to raise standards in Literacy and Numeracy and prepare for the new curriculum for Wales due to be published in full in September 2021. You can follow us on Twitter @ImpactWales.

So, what are the steps to Twitter success?

1. Know your target audience.

Our audience are people who work in schools at all levels. So, we knew they wouldn’t be looking at their Twitter feed between 8.30am and 3.30pm. We worked out from looking at the times that teachers were interacting on Twitter we identified key times in the day and week when EduTwitter as it is known, was at its busiest. These were 6.30-7.30am weekdays, mid-morning at the weekend, and late Friday and Saturday nights. These then became the times when we did all of our tweeting. We also knew that teachers are constantly on the hunt for practical strategies and resources that really work in the classroom, so this was the focus of our tweets.

2. Create tweets that are attractive, interesting, useful, entertaining and informative

Through trial and error and some research into the most popular EduTweeters who had 50K followers or more we worked out what kind of tweet our target audience interacted with the most. The most retweeted tweets included:

  •  Tweets with photos
  • Tweets of around 100 characters
  •  Tweets with links to further information/blogs
  •  Tweets containing information that could be understood quickly and had a practical use in the classroom
  •  Tweets that were unique and hadn’t already appeared on another social media platform

3. Be consistent

People like routine. People trust consistency. Tweeting at the same time of day every day, will mean people always know when to find you. In the early days we tweeted every day of the year between 6.30-6.45 am and between 9-11am on a Saturday and Sunday. Even Christmas and New Year’s Day! Now we have a consistent following, we can take an occasional break, but we make sure our Twitter followers know that we’re away and when we will be back, by tweeting and pinning it to our profile page.

4. Create your own voice

People follow a leader not because they have to but because they want to. It’s exactly the same with Twitter. People will follow you if they know who you are, what you stand for and how you feel about things. You have to create your own voice. The way to do this on Twitter is to always say why you are sharing something. Don’t just retweet, always quote the tweet you’re sharing and tell your followers why and what they should do with it. Creating a worthwhile Twitter feed is about curation. We want our followers to see us as the first place they go for any news, information or advice they need for education in Wales. Right from the start we told people why each piece of education news or information was important for them and what they should do with it.

5. Use your following to grow your audience

People like to be helpful. If you ask them to do something, at least some of them will do it. If you want something retweeted, ask them to “Plz RT”. If you need an introduction to another Twitter member, send them a direct message and ask them. Interact directly with your audience by asking them questions, commenting on what they share or including them in tweets they may find useful. Your focus is on building a community who connect with and help each other out. Get your followers to use a unique hashtag that you populate with their resources. We use #drawforimpact where we share our own sketchnote resources and ones created by schools or in our training events.

6. Connect with the influencers in your field

Twitter is the only social media platform we are aware of where you can connect directly with anyone in your field in a public forum. We regularly tweet directly to Kirsty Williams AM Cabinet Secretary for Education, and she has even been known to retweet us to her 18k followers from time to time! We also tag EduTwitter influencers (not always those with the most followers, but those with the most powerful followers) and most of the time they will retweet or at least like our tweets.

7. Innovate to stand out

The most effective action we have taken on Twitter by far has been to create our own sketchnotes and use them to publicise our business. Sketchnotes are one-page documents using words and pictures to explain an idea or concept or summarise a longer piece of research or news. They are perfect for social media. They fulfil all 5 of the attributes of the most popular tweets being attractive, interesting, useful, entertaining and informative. Most importantly though, they are unique to us. In a crowded marketplace being unique is the best selling point that you can ever have, if you can find something that is both unique and effective you’re on to a sure fire winner!