We’re all familiar with what Twitter is, and the concept is really so simple. Just post something in 140 characters or less, and you’re good to go, right? Not quite. Businesses that have enjoyed success on Twitter have worked extremely hard for it.
The percentage of marketers who rank Twitter up there as one of the most useful social networks is on the rise. The percentage of business executives who claim Facebook is their primary focus has remained unchanged for the past 24 months at 39%, while Twitter is slowly but surely catching up, with 25% rating it as the most social network, up from under 20% in 2012 (Useful Social Media, July 2014).
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that Twitter has 271 million monthly active users, who produce 500 million tweets per day. The challenge is to find your target audience amongst that massive crowd, and to engage them time and time again.
Our following Blog post will talk you through some best practices and tips for Twitter, regardless of whether you are just starting to test the Twitter waters for business, or you’ve already dived right in and just need some new inspiration.
Basics: Twitter 101
There are many companies, just like yours, that have mastered the art of Twitter and enjoy the success that brings to their business, but it didn’t happen overnight or by accident. They undoubtedly took the time to create a visually attractive brand page and make Twitter a part of their overall marketing mix.
First things first, if you want to join their ranks, you need to understand the basic Twitter vocabulary:
- Tweet: A short-form update of 140 characters or less.
- Retweet: A tweet you forward to your followers.
- @ Mention: Naming someone in a tweet by using the @handle name convention.
Hashtag: A word or phrase preceded by a ‘#’. Used to organize like tweets for search purposes.
Follow: The process of subscribing to another person’s tweets.
Follower: A person or organization (with a Twitter account) that has subscribed to your tweets.
60% of users say they’ve made a purchase based on something they saw on Twitter (research by DB5) 81% of followers are more likely to take action on information shared via Twitter. Twitter survey of 1,000 U.S. Twitter users who currently follow small and medium-sized (SMB) businesses on Twitter. 85% of Twitter users say they feel more connected to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) after following them on Twitter.
Dress up your brand page
You only have one shot at making a great first impression. It’s everything. Before you even get to the tips section of this article, let’s begin with your Twitter brand page. Follow the basic checklist here of what we believe is required to create an eye-catching and informative brand page:
Choose a great handle. Make it short and as simple as possible, while still keeping it appropriate to your brand name. Avoid using special characters that can make it harder for people to remember, search for, or type in. For example, use @DigitalFuel instead of @Digital_Fuel. Be sure to share your handle far and wide too, on things like your business cards, website, email signatures, and in other creative ways to raise awareness of your presence.
Select the most basic form of your logo as possible. Think about what it will look like when people view it on a cell phone, and it’s smaller than a postage stamp. (400 x 400 pixels)
Use a high-res header image that embodies the essence of your brand. (1500 x 500 pixels)
Your brief description should be an elevator pitch with a few high-powered keywords thrown into the mix. You can even use Emoji in your description if you want, because while Google doesn’t allow you to search on Emoji, both Bing and Twitter do.
Decide on a color scheme that reflects your company’s brand and logo.
Always test your Twitter brand page in a number of different browsers, and on various desktop and mobile devices after making changes. Make sure that the profile photo doesn’t obscure any important text or graphic elements in the header image, and check that you can actually read everything on a much smaller mobile device. Here are our top 10 tips on making the most of your Twitter activity:
Position your company as a thought leader Do you have staff members who are considered industry gurus? Show them some Twitter love when they are a guest speaker at conferences, have an article published or blog post shared, or receive an industry award. Also, get into the habit of Tweeting links to current industry news items. This illustrates you keep up to speed with what’s happening around you. Tweet content that supports your reputation and intelligence. Writing a guest post on a highly regarded and much-read blog is a great way to attract some free company PR, and position yourself as a thought leader.
Engage with your audience Twitter is supposed to be a two-way conversation, not your own personal platform. Don’t think that you can just post links to content and expect that your job is complete. If a Tweet mentions your company – positive or negative – it’s best practice to reply in real-time. See this as the perfect opportunity to show others there’s a real living and breathing person behind the tweets, and that you genuinely are invested. Receive extra gold stars for being authentic.
Give your brand some personality People get bored easily these days. Nobody wants to read a bunch of dry, lifeless tweets. Find the personality in your brand, and make sure it has a voice. Don’t shy away from using slang, emotion and sharing a point of view, which will help to distinguish you from the sea of other Twitter users and tweets. The key is to convey the personality without getting personal. Maintain a consistent voice across all your tweets, even if your Twitter feed is manned by multiple staff members. Know your tone of voice and make sure you preserve it throughout.
Drive traffic to your content When tweeting about your own content, inserting links is always best practice. Don’t just provide an opinion, provide a doorway to further detail and other helpful resources, and drive traffic to your content. You can also promote the same piece of content multiple times by altering the introductory text in the tweet and scheduling posts in different time zones. Use the #ICYMI (In Case You Missed it) hashtag on recycled posts, so that people understand they’re not new.
Check out your competition Familiarize yourself with your competitors’ Twitter stream to gain valuable insight to their marketing plans via the content they share here, i.e. Press releases, eBooks, blog posts, acquisitions, and product/new feature announcements. You can also discover more about what other people are saying about your competition by searching their brand name and any hashtags they use frequently.
Leave room for the Retweet Keeping your tweets at 120 characters or less maximises your chance of a retweet. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to retweet a tweet that uses the full 140 characters permitted by Twitter. What you need to remember is that Twitter automatically adds your Twitter handle, an “RT”, a space, and a colon to the tweet when someone retweets. You’ll fine that you get more retweets if you follow this rule of thumb.
Don’t make it all about you Don’t drone on and on only about YOU. Your company and products might be the best thing since sliced bread, but your Twitter feed needs to provide your narrative when someone reads 24-hours’ worth of your tweets. Please, whatever you do, make sure that it isn’t just ALL about YOU. Pepper it with tweets about things other than yourself that are still relevant and will engage your audience. Mention your customers If you hear about a customer or partner that deserves some public recognition, then don’t be shy to give it. Give them a shout out if they do something cool that warrants acknowledging and that relates to your business.
Schedule for all time zones There’s no point in tweeting at 6am on a Sunday morning if your followers are safely tucked up in bed at that time. Be smart and be savvy. Consider the times you choose to tweet, and make sure that this aligns with the relevant time zones for the online activity of your followers.
Pin a tweet If you notice a particular tweet that is attracting a lot of engagement, and you want to make sure that visitors to your twitter page see it, you can pin it to the top of your feed. Find the tweet you’d like to be featured, click on the three dots in the bottom right hand corner of the tweet, and select “Pin to your profile page” from the dropdown menu. Refresh your page and you’ll see that tweet is now pinned to the top of your feed.
Bonus Tips & Tricks to try:
Follow brand advocates Really, the only way to get followers is to start following people yourself, but be discriminating about it. Seek out your brand advocates and industry influencers, and make a point of following them. Just keep in mind that Twitter has a follow limit.
Create a list Twitter lists are one of the most helpful and least used features. You can create lists (public or private) to help you organize accounts you follow into targeted groups. Creating public lists of influencers and industry accounts is also a big help for your customers and prospects, because they can follow these lists too.
Embrace the hashtag Getting found can be a challenge, particularly when starting out. Create a list of well-researched popular hashtags relating to your content, integrate them in your tweets, and ensure they are circulated company-wide. Hashtags will help your content get curated into searchable topic areas, while establishing your brand as part of a mini Twitter community. This will also avoid the trap of using a hashtag in a tweet that is already associated with something completely unrelated to other Twitter users.
Change your header image to promote events If you have special events happening, use your header space to promote them. Create a custom header image to increase awareness of things like conference dates, but never use this space to try to blatantly sell something. It’s considered poor etiquette. Changing out this graphic every so often will also keep your page from getting stale.
Shorten your links 140 characters is small real estate for big ideas. Use a link-shortening service such as Bit.ly, which will leave more room for your thoughtful commentary. As an added bonus, it will also heklp you track how many clicks each link receives, supporting the effectiveness of your content. Start a meme Once you’ve built a community of Twitter followers, consider starting your own meme or hashtag to empower people to become active in your conversations. Your meme could be helpful, serious or maybe even funny. The whole point is to make a memorable, engaging topic spread even faster.
Send a thank you for mentions If someone takes the time to talk about your brand or share content on your behalf, don’t forget to acknowledge their effort and show your appreciation. You can do this by returning the favor, by favoriting one of their tweets, or by providing a personalized reply. Ready to get started?
You should be armed and ready to hit the Twittersphere with confidence now, but if all of these rules and tips seem overwhelming, look for help to get the job done.
Digital Fuel Marketing can make social media work for your business. Our social management platform not only schedules posts for you, it also provides the content you need to drive your social efforts to the next level.
We will work with you to create a profile of your company to ensure we understand who you want to be amongst your social media audience, and to determine the right messaging and tone of voice to achieve your social media marketing goals. Armed with this insight, we will compose keyword rich daily tweets and posts that your customers will love.
In a nutshell, at Digital Fuel, we can help you:
- Differentiate yourself from competitors
- Increase your conversion rates
- Dramatically improve your retention
- Track your success
Let’s get you ready to engage your customer and keep the conversation going!