Twitter stamps startups’ competitive advantage

With all the other things on entrepreneurs’ minds, social media might not be foremost. Yet, it has great potential for return on investment.

Mordecai Holtz is an expert in this arena. Co-founder and chief digital media strategist of Blue Thread Marketing, he works with a diverse range of clients — from start-ups to the City of Jerusalem — spanning across eight countries.

“I develop unique content strategies that resonate with each brand’s narratives,” he said.

Holtz talked with social media marketing entrepreneur and Twitter aficionado Madalyn Sklar about industry trends, search options, hacks and other helpful Twitter tips.

Even a great product can fail if the marketing is poor. Countering that prospect, Twitter gives startups a competitive advantage.

“Twitter allows a startup to analyze competitors’ tweets; learn, interact with and copy their audience; and understand industry trends and content,” Holtz said. “It’s free. It’s simple, searchable. It’s real time. It’s an excellent source of content. It breaks down the initial barriers of networking.

“Set up a search for your competitor’s handle,” he said. “Learn what people are saying. Access their activity on other social networks.”

Break the ice

Startups look for specific audiences, particularly if they are on Twitter.

“Social is the ultimate icebreaker,” Holtz said. “Startups want and need a consumer base, network of thought leaders and access to potential investors — all on Twitter.

“Many investors and thought leaders will check startups’ social proof before interacting,” he said. “If a competitor is getting attention based on content, start using it. If not, that’s an instant advantage.”

Twitter also can be used to monitor industry trends, which is useful for startups.

“Set up lists to monitor conversations,” Holtz said. “This way, startups can understand sentiment, target their audience and learn pressure points.

“Syncing trends with the latest buzz propels campaigns to new heights,” he said. “Curate meticulously so the startup interacts in a way that helps to learn, grow and reach goals.”

Seek and find

Startups also need to know Twitter search options.

“Startup marketing is a science,” Holtz said. “Startups can conduct competitive analysis, find topics within industry and join in real-time conversations with a global, targeted audience.”

There are hacks on Twitter for startups that want to stay up to date with the ideas and thoughts of industry leaders.

“Create lists to aggregate their content,” Holtz said. “Create a plan of action such as sales sheets. Be deliberate. Active interaction plus automation.

“Tweak and optimize content with different headlines and images,” he said. “Use weekends as optimal time for reaching and interacting with people. Feature them as thought leaders in content.”

Retweets also have a key role for startups — if done in moderation.

“Share the content from a target list of people and share it from your startup page,” Holtz said. “Don’t overdo it.”

Tough contacts

He gave examples of how Twitter can be used to connect with otherwise unreachable people:

  • Create a list of top-tier people. Curate content and interact regularly with the list and incentivize their involvement.
  • Bake a hashtag into traditional marketing efforts. Use hashtags and reverse engineer content strategy such as keywords.

“Long story short, if you say something noticeable, you can literally talk to CEOs, celebrities and the author of the last book you read,” Holtz said. “The magic is in the simplicity of interaction.”

When interacting with influencers, don’t ask them questions they have been asked a million times. Do a little research. Show some initiative.

“Just like a good old-fashioned cold call,” Holtz said. “Know the audience before you pick up the phone or tweet them.”

Sklar attested to that approach’s success.

“I do this all the time,” she said. “I’ll tweet to these big-deal people when I read their books or hear them on a podcast. I tweet a shout out. That works all the time.”

For more information, Holtz published a blog, “How to Expand Your Organic Growth on Facebook and Twitter for Free.” The article explains how to use hashtags — including Twitter chats — to anchor content pieces around relevant hashtags. Then build out content.

About The Author

Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services and worked in public affairs for the Air Force and federal government. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.