Seven years. That’s how long I’ve had a Twitter account. Admittedly, when I first signed up I had no idea what I’d use this micro-blogging site for besides aimless musings about ideas I thought were funny. A few years later I found it a useful way to make bus rides seem shorter by reading jokes from aspiring comedy writers and international news from journalists on the ground. Today, Twitter has more than 288 million active users completing 1.6 billion search queries a day, making it a marketing goldmine for businesses.
If you’re even a half savvy marketer, you’ll have already set up your business with a Facebook page and maybe even an Instagram account. If you really want to extend your reach and get your brand in front of more eyes, open a new tab and go secure your Twitter handle right now.
Set Up Your Profile
You want your Twitter page and feed to accurately reflect your business so make sure your bio is filled out with pertinent links and information. Summarise what you do and why you matter into a few words and follow that up with your website URL. Then kit your profile out with a branded image banner and profile picture – a free website like Canva.com will help you make it look like it was done by a pro.
Build an audience
Now you have a profile, your audience can be split into two categories: who you’re following and who’s following you. To begin with, draw up a list of 100 of the most influential people in your space, including journalists, potential clients, successful bloggers, taste makers, professional partners – find their accounts and follow them. Know your demographics and be selective.
A tool like WeFollow will help you cultivate your list, as it allows you to search for people and companies through a number of different parameters including influence, trust and popularity. It’s important you engage with them daily and use their status and reach to your advantage.
You’ll also want to generate as many followers as you can – the more followers the more potential impact Twitter can have on your business.
Start from within, get colleagues and employees to follow you and tweet, retweet, and engage with the content. Once you develop a following, track brand mentions and keywords using the search function so you can see what is being said about you online. Complaints and upset clients can be turned into devotees with excellent customer service.
Create meaningful content
You have a profile, it looks great and you’ve started to build your list of followers. Now it’s time to make some broad marketing strokes. According to Daniel Newman from Forbes, the key word here is value.
“If your content fails to create value, it actually fails to do anything for your brand.”
You can create valuable content for your audience by serving up a mix of ‘How to’ articles, relevant news, running contests, and feel good material. Don’t just use your account to shill your products and services.
Mandy McEwen has built an entire company centred on helping people with online marketing, and explains that people share content that projects how they want others to view them.
“It sounds complicated, but it’s an undeniable fact that people post on social media as an extension of their personalities. Some of the best social posts are ones that ask fans to share photos or stories about how they use the product.”
Focus on images. People are twice as likely to engage with them compared to text. Also tweets under 100 characters have a 21% interaction increase, and short tweets are especially important considering 80% of Twitter users access the site via smart phones.
Make people feel something – anything! Researchers have noted the most contagious, or sticky, content elicits an emotional response. Humour and ‘news hijacking’ are proven methods, however you need to be careful as they can sometimes miss the mark.
Make it exclusive. People like feeling special and having access to things not everyone knows about. Behind the scenes videos are perfect for this type of content. Hype it up with something like “What have we been doing the last few weeks? Find out next Friday!” and then drop the bomb on them with some kind of clickable message like “Want to know what happens behind closed doors? Click the video and see for yourself.”
Work smarter, not harder
There are a myriad of free Twitter tools out there that will help you compose and schedule your tweets. One such app is HootSuite. Not just for Twitter, Hootsuite will help you manage your social networks, schedule messages, engage your audiences, and measure ROI from one easy to use dashboard. A good rule of thumb for when considering your frequency of posts is no more than two a day – but as always, consider – calibrate – repeat to avoid annoying your audience.
Just like other forms of marketing, Twitter requires attention – so set aside an hour a day to interact and manage your social accounts. It will take time and energy before you start seeing results, but if you’re dedicated to expanding the reach of your business it is an indispensable weapon in your marketing arsenal.