When you know how to use Twitter for your business, it can be a powerful marketing tool.
Josh Spector helps creative entrepreneurs and has a Twitter audience of 20K. Whether you're new to Twitter or looking to step up your game, you’ll benefit from what he has to share.
James doesn’t follow just anyone. Here’s how Josh made an impression on him. [02:55]
Josh and Twitter go way back. What’s his approach and what does the platform have going for it? [05:04]
Original content is the recommendation, but there’s also an effective way of curating. [12:15]
As a business consultant, what does Josh get out of Twitter? [17:27]
This is the stuff that’s working now…. [19:03]
Material doesn’t have to be forgotten on Twitter. Here’s how you keep things evergreen. [24:54]
Twitter threads are popular – but do you have to do them? [27:12]
Your Twitter bio is not about you – Josh explains. [28:50]
Is the blue tick important? And how do you get it? [32:14]
Our guest discusses who might benefit more – and less – from posting on Twitter. [34:56]
This is where this episode’s title came from….[36:44]
When James first saw Twitter, he didn’t get it. Why tell someone what you’re doing right now? It seemed pointless. But then he became reconciled to the real-time, ephemeral nature of the medium.
Twitter seemed to appeal to certain types – politicians, people in health and ministry, police departments… Then threads came in, and people like Naval, and bloggy writer types. He doesn’t know if today’s guest would count himself in that category, but certainly Josh Spector is good at writing, creative, instantaneous and super personable.
Josh’s livelihood is also doing well off the platform, something he’s helping other people with as well.
The start of a rewarding connection
James followed Josh after reading a couple of his tweets. Then Josh tweeted, offering to rewrite people’s headlines, and James volunteered one of his podcast episode titles. Josh tweeted back with a revision, and James liked it so much he changed the title on his site.
After reading Josh’s bio and more of his material, James invited him onto the show. Hence this episode.
Twitter from Josh’s side of the story
Now, having heard James’s impressions of Twitter, what can Josh say about the largely text-based platform?
First of all, to see exactly how he uses Twitter, you might check out his account, @jspector. Josh has been on Twitter since 2008, he thinks. And it’s changed a lot, become perhaps more valuable.
Certainly, says Josh, Twitter is a great, possibly the best, real-time platform. But ironically, he says, most of what he posts is evergreen and timeless. Lots of people do real-time, but from a business perspective, real-time isn’t really important to business growth.
Threads were a massive innovation, says James.
Indeed, says Josh, they help.
Twitter is by far Josh’s favorite social platform, which he started using a few years ago almost to the exclusion of all others. And when he focused on it, it really took off for him. He’s now at roughly 20K followers. And more importantly, he says, he built real relationships that he doesn’t see happening on other social sites.
The reason, he believes, is that Twitter is an idea platform. And this makes it different, and powerful for many businesses and entrepreneurs. It attracts not just writers, but people who are smart, curious, and want to converse about business productivity. The kind of person that’s using Twitter is very different from the kind of person who’s using Instagram.
Instagram is entertainment-driven. On Twitter, people are trying to solve problems, figure things out, share or clarify ideas, and learn from other people.
“You want to provide specific value to a specific audience. – Josh Spector”
So key, says Josh, in terms of what to post on Twitter, is you want to provide specific value to a specific audience. It’s not about what you had for lunch, or you at the beach. It’s not a reality show. He would liken it more to a magazine, like Oprah’s magazine. She’s on the cover, but inside it’s about her sharing value with people who are interested in it.
So for Josh, your tweets will pull from your experience, but they’re not necessarily about you. They’re about, how can I teach? How can I provide value to the specific people I want to reach? Which, for him, is creative entrepreneurs.
Josh tweets about, how can he help creative entrepreneurs grow their audience and business? And when you focus properly, when you provide a clear value, your target audience will follow you.
Many people struggle on Twitter because they do the opposite. They think, it’s real-time. Here’s what I’m doing today. This is my take on the latest political thing. And that’s fine, but it won’t get you value or relationships.
Curation versus originality
So what Josh is talking about, says James, is having a clear intention.
He knows his own Twitter isn’t that great, and he’s wide open to improving. He tends to do something Josh cautions against somewhat – retweeting with a quote. Curating other people’s content. And he thinks Josh recommends creating mostly original tweets. Is that right?
Josh admits to being a big curator himself. He has a newsletter that shares lots of other people’s stuff. It depends, he says, on what your goals are. And if you’re sharing value, that’s fine. But there is a mistake many people make when curating on Twitter, and that is simply sharing links.
The algorithm, like that of various other platforms, doesn’t like people leaving the site. And so a shared link doesn’t reach many people.
What Josh would do if he found a great blog post, or if, say, he liked what he heard on James’s podcast, is do either a thread or an individual tweet, and say, Here’s three amazing things I learned from James’s episode. If you want to hear it, you can go there and check it out.
Then he might, as a reply or as a second tweet in the thread, provide the link.
That’s massive, says James. He typically likes to curate people like Naval, clever one-liners and the like. What he doesn’t do is promote controversy. Why polarize people when it does nothing for their business? On business matters, though, he feels it’s okay.
It’s actually helpful, says Josh, because it establishes what you do and don’t believe. And another mistake people make is posting material for the attention it gets. It might be political, or it might be cat videos – they post for the likes and shares, and not for the value it gives their audience.
So with Twitter, as with any platform, your first question is really, what is my goal? What am I trying to accomplish? Who do I need to reach to accomplish that? What do those people value? How can I provide them that value on this platform?
Doing that attracts people who will lead into your business goals and what it is you want to accomplish.
What does Josh Spector get out of Twitter?
How does Twitter work for Josh, as someone who helps creative entrepreneurs grow their audience and business?
He uses it in a few different ways, but basically to attract his target audience. It’s a showcase, he says. Number one, it helps people and provides value for free. People access it, and ultimately want more. At some point, they want to hire him as a consultant, buy his products, subscribe to his newsletter, etc.
The other piece of it, however, is relationships. People reply to him. He replies to them, and gets to know their problems and issues.
And it is, in a sense, a market research tool. He can tweet a concept, see how people respond, and if he gets enough positive feedback, he might expand it into a blog post.
Or maybe they don’t respond. Either way, it’s quick and easy to gauge interest in an idea.
The other thing is learning. Aside from Josh’s posting, his access to people and their free knowledge on Twitter is amazing. Take the founders of Morning Brew. They do tweets and threads, taking people step-by-step through how they grew their product.
The stuff that’s working on Twitter
James has seen something similar on LinkedIn.
Yeah, says Josh. It is becoming a little more Twitter-like.
James has also noticed you can put pictures and videos on Twitter. And there’s some audio capacity, maybe inspired by Clubhouse?
Twitter Spaces, says Josh. It’s been very interesting.
There are platforms like Facebook excited over Instagram-style stories, and Snapchatty features. It’s becoming homogenized, James says. But does Josh think text is still the main game at Twitter?
It definitely is, Josh says.
The other thing he’s been doing on Twitter in the past year or so is something he calls micro-coaching. An example of this would be the headline he rewrote for James. He might also give a suggestion for a newsletter signup page, or a headline suggestion. And people respond, because who wouldn’t?
That micro-coaching led James to reply to Josh, who gave back a rewritten headline, which James liked, which led to further communication and Josh’s appearance on this show.
Josh’s activity on Twitter establishes relationships, introduces new people to him, and showcases his abilities, leading people to want more of him.
An extension of that, James supposes, would be where he does a case study podcast with a client who’s had a transformation, and extracts bite-sized pieces of it as tweets. He’s never done a Twitter thread, though.
Josh currently schedules three tweets a day, all coming from repurposed stuff that he knows works. It might be a line from a blog post, or a previous tweet he’s used. And what’s fascinating on Twitter, he says, is that something that worked now will work again three months from now.
You could easily pull stuff you know is good and turn it into a thread, he says. Just repurpose stuff from existing material, say a podcast, and turn it into tweets.
How to refresh existing content
One more thing in terms of easy formats people can use: Josh’s pin tweet says, There are certain core concepts I find myself telling creators all the time to help them grow their audience or business, here they are. And it’s a Twitter thread, containing about 30 concepts. But when it started, it was 15. And every once in a while when Josh finds a new things he keeps telling people, he adds to the thread, which then resurfaces in its entirety.
So another smart thing you can do is pick a general concept. Josh has one: opinions I have that not everyone loves, about how I think you should grow your audience and business. Whenever he thinks of one, he adds to his thread, and this again resurfaces the whole thing.
You could have a thread for the single best takeaway from every one of your podcast episodes. And every time you have a new episode, add the takeaway to that thread.
Answering others’ tweets
What about answering other people’s tweets? That’s probably the way James uses Twitter more than anything.
It’s great, says Josh, especially for people who don’t have a lot of followers at first. You’ll get way more people to see what you say, as a reply to someone with a big following. The key is replying with something valuable or interesting, something that makes people wonder, Who’s this guy? and check you out.
What to put in your Twitter bio
Now Josh wants to talk about bios. And the key with a good bio is to set expectations, give people a clear value prop of why they should follow you, what they’re going to get.
“When someone’s looking at your bio, they are specifically trying to decide whether or not to follow you. – Josh Spector”
It sounds counterintuitive, but your bio is not about you. When someone’s looking at your bio, they are specifically trying to decide whether or not to follow you. It’s actually a sales pitch. And like any sales pitch, it’s about what’s in it for them. It’s not about who you are, although that can help, depending who you are and what you do.
“Your Twitter bio is not about you. – Josh Spector”
Josh’s bio runs, I help creative entrepreneurs grow their audience and business. Hit the link below to join 18,000 creators who get proven strategies in my newsletter. He doesn’t say he’s a consultant living in Los Angeles, because, so what? He’s trying to give people a reason to follow him.
Josh’s newsletter is at fortheinterested.com/subscribe. That’s the other advice he’d give: whatever you have, be it a newsletter or a podcast, whatever you really want to drive people to, put that direct link as your bio link.
A lot of times, people in their bio link just send visitors to their homepage. Josh instead treats the second part of his bio as a call to action, and sends people right to the subscribe page.
What’s the blue tick and how do you get it?
James wants to know about the blue tick attached to Josh’s account. How did he get it, and is it important?
Everybody wants to get it, says Josh. But he doesn’t think it’s important.
How did he get it? Prior to his consultation business, he ran digital media and marketing for the Academy of Motion Pictures and the Oscars. He knew some people at Twitter. And there was a time when Twitter opened verification, inviting people to just apply. Josh filled out a form, and perhaps because of his job, got approved, with lots of other people.
Josh feels he got lucky. If he were to apply today, he doesn’t think he’d get verified.
The one way in which he thinks it’s an advantage is, if you reply to big accounts, some people have their settings to only show replies from people who are verified. So it may help him get seen by more people.
And it gives him maybe more credibility, he says, makes him seem legit.
Who is Twitter NOT for?
Is there any business that shouldn’t bother with Twitter, asks James?
Josh thinks most audiences, in some ways, are on Twitter. But if you’re doing something where your target audience really isn’t there, it doesn’t make sense to be on the platform.
If you’re much more visual, say a photographer, and you’re only going to do one platform, it certainly makes more sense to be on Instagram than Twitter.
What about an ecommerce store selling sneakers?
If it was him and he wanted to use Twitter, says Josh, he wouldn’t post a bunch of photos about the sneakers he was selling. He’d be tweeting about the sneaker industry and about sneaker trends. He’d be probably active in, quote unquote, NBA Twitter.
How to name a podcast episode
James has one more question before he lets Josh go. What would he name this episode, 907?
If he was headline writing, says Josh, it would be something, How to get what you want out of Twitter, How to use Twitter to get what you want, How to use Twitter to grow your audience and business.
What would James name it? For his most successful episodes, is there anything the headlines or names have in common?
James looks at last year’s top ten episodes: Turning Your Hobby into a Business, Why You Resist Risk and More, A Mindset Discussion with John Assaraf. Obviously, if someone’s famous, they put their name in the title.
Predictions and Marketing Trends for 2021 – The Get Clients Series, Exploring Membership Back Office Roles, Essential Move Less, Live Better Exercises for Busy Entrepreneurs, Outrageous Offers, Perceived Value and Positioning with Trevor Toecracker Crook.
Josh loves that one. One of his favorites.
Trevor is ridiculously good, says James.
And number one was Turning Your Skill into a Membership.
Josh offers three pitches, and James can tell him if he likes any.
The first is, Simple Strategies to Conquer Twitter.
James likes that.
Second is the same thing, but Proven Strategies to Conquer Twitter.
James likes that too.
The third is, How Business Owners can Conquer Twitter.
Very specific, says James. He like simple over proven, just because he thinks it’s the highlight for him. Of all the things Josh has said, there’s nothing difficult. None of it requires outsourcing or a great deal of thought. Literally, you could log in after this episode and make changes in five minutes.
Simple Strategies to Conquer Twitter. That’s it.
If you’ve got questions on this episode, Josh welcomes a tweet at @jspector, or an email to [email protected]. He’s happy to help if you want thoughts or feedback on your Twitter account. And if there’s enough demand, he might make it back on the show.
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