Best Practices in Using Twitter for Business
In an age of competitive digital marketing, having a responsive website and creating good content is only half the battle.
When people take time to read your content and like it, they could potentially propel it to viral status. However, what guarantees an article or piece of content will gain massive readership?
Remember, you need to have an engaged audience to make this happen. Even the best-written evergreen content can be dead in the water without an audience to send it to.
How, then, do you maximize your reach, so it reaches both your existing and potential customers?
Established brands and marketers do this by harnessing the full power of social media and other syndicated channels.
There are plenty of ways to go about this, but in this article we’re going to focus on Twitter.
Twitter gets a bad reputation as a business platform. Perhaps it’s because it doesn’t boast as many raw users as Facebook or because it doesn’t have a niche as specific as Pinterest; although, if properly used, Twitter can be of great value to your business.
Set Specific Twitter Goals
Focus on a single goal and break it down into specific, actionable items that can be measured. Let’s say, for example, your goal is to boost visibility, so more people can discover you. The next step should be to outline a clear goal on how to accomplish this.
The below examples illustrate specific goals to use:
- Use Twitter to reach 50 new prospective clients within 2 or 3 miles of my location by next quarter.
- Inform my customers about an upcoming community event 2-3 weeks in advance and direct attendees to an RSVP landing page.
These objectives describe what you’ll specifically do in order to bring about the accomplishment of your business goals. Keep in mind that some of your goals may need adjusting at one time or another, so try to remain flexible.
Curate Your Twitter Feed
If the overall Twitter strategy involves posting content that is used elsewhere, like your blog or website, then some of your tweets will have to be dedicated to promoting that content.
Remember, you only have 280 characters to work with, so every word has to be well thought out. Each post should include a sharp title, lead-in, and a link.
Learn to use videos to promote your posts, as these have been proven to achieve higher visibility.
Another way you can promote your Twitter posts is by including other types of social posts. For instance, brand updates, live tweeting of special events, and business accomplishments all work to increase your brand receptivity and visibility.
This won’t directly increase traffic to your content, but it will go a long way towards building the visibility of your brand in the long-term, which will ultimately draw new visitors to your account and more eyes for your promoted links.
According to a Twitter survey by Adweek, users are more active on weekdays, so prioritize posting between Monday through Friday. Commit to posting frequently; afternoons are typically better for getting people to engage with your content.
Retweeting and replying to tweets is an effective method of creating a lasting and interesting Twitter presence. Focus on providing helpful content and retweeting influencers whose messages align with your brand’s tone or change it up and retweet some of your old tweets where they provide value. Your retweeting strategy can be simple.
Find issues that audiences are tweeting about in your niche and form blog posts on those topics you can include in future tweets. Provide your blog as a solution to their problems by including it in a reply to each user experience the issue.
Don’t be afraid to retweet a large public figure, as you are trying to associate your brand more closely with theirs. In fact, strive to find and incorporate quotes from big players in your industry and retweet them often. It will provide inherent value to your audiences because your retweets are helping them to learn from thought leaders.
Organize Twitter Audiences Into Lists
Twitter allows users to create lists that make it easy to segment a customer base into several categories based on your objectives. This makes it easy to identify key influencers to engage with. You can open these lists to check content from specific groups of users; thereby, giving you deeper insights into which influencers are espousing and promoting your content. You’ll find these individuals are the key players your business needs to tap into a loyal following.
With this Twitter feature, you can narrow your key audiences into more specific segments by compiling all your audiences into lists based on their category. For instance, if you know you are accruing tweets from small business leaders, you can begin to tailor your tweets to executives and senior management.
Here’s another tip: if you want to get a more accurate depiction of your followers, sort audiences who interact with your brand on Twitter and sort them into the top 3 categories of audiences your business attracts. Next, take 10 accounts from each of those top 3 category lists and compose an outreach message to them. Try to build a deeper connection with these followers and look for opportunities to cross-promote your businesses. Initial outreach messages can include sharing content you believe they would find valuable, providing recognition of their previous tweets, or encouraging a collaboration.
Lists can dry out fast. You need to be diligent in creating them; otherwise, you’ll be out of leads. One way you can find leads is to automate Twitter to inform you if anyone mentions your brand. You can add these accounts to your lists for future outreach.
Consider making lists of a variety of groups who are important to your business like potential customers, social media influencers, bloggers, and industry professionals. Working from these lists can give you additional opportunities to promote your brand to new audiences.
How to Take Advantage of Hashtags
Taking advantage of trending hashtags is a powerful strategy to boost the number of eyes on your posts. You can find trending hashtags inside Twitter under its “Trends” section. Here, popular and trending hashtags will be listed. Find one you can form content around and create a post using the popular hashtag. If there isn’t one that seems relatable to your brand, consider using a tool like Hashtagify to search popular hashtags related to your ideal search term.
When your following picks up, think about creating your own brand specific hashtag. This can be a great way to create of community of tweeters who engage with your brand on a deeper level. These hashtags can be centered around recurring events, helping to build your brand identity. However, don’t get crazy and exclusively use your brand created hashtags for all your tweets. You need to balance using trending, industry specific, and brand created hashtags to build traction for your business. As a general rule of thumb, include around three hashtags in each post, at most. You don’t want to negatively affect the readability of your tweets.
Twitter chats are useful tools for creating more involved communication between businesses and customers. Twitter chats work when a host prepares a time for a discussion under a dedicated hashtag. The host is seeking information from engaged users. The users reply with their answers using the same hashtag. The more answers you receive, the more visible the hashtag becomes.
If you’re looking to drum up attention, live tweeting is another option you can employ. This works best in tandem with an event. When experiencing the event, find time to tweet out specific and exciting details that will drive your followers to interact with your brand. Live tweeting works best when businesses provide unique commentaries on events.
Using Twitter Cards for Variety
There are four primary Twitter cards you can use when creating your tweets to add more variety:
- Thumbnail summary cards
- Large image summary cards
- Player cards
- App cards
Thumbnail summary cards are your most basic form of Twitter cards. They stand out from regular tweets by incorporating an image and title into posts. They improve readability over regular tweets and catch the eye of users scrolling through their feeds.
Large image summary cards are the big brothers of thumbnail summary cards. They include a large image inside their posts and provide stark contrast to the surplus of original text and link based tweets.
For marketers who are big on using video, player cards are an effective way to drive engagement. They allow you to create posts capable of playing videos straight from your website.
Many mobile application developers like to promote app cards. If paired with a good call-to-action, app cards can effectively motivate users to install your app. They are powerful marketing tools because users can open your applications directly from their Twitter feed.
Repeat Tweets to Increase Visibility
More than half of all businesses on Twitter repeat their tweets. Repeat tweets have been proven to increase visibility of your brand and its products or services up to 86 per cent after the original tweet was launched.
Many believe repeating a tweet is bad marketing policy; however, a large percentage of your following is likely to miss your initial tweet. Over the course of multiple exposures, you are more likely to reach a greater number of your audience. Understanding this truth, repeating your tweet in its initial form won’t work. Instead, re-arrange the same content in slightly different formats. This is how you can re-target your Twitter audience with the same content without coming off the same as before.
You might be wondering, “how do you share the same content multiple times without it negatively impacting your audience?” This can be achieved by altering the images, titles and text of the ads. For example, you want to make multiple tweets using the same link. Even though each tweet has the same link, they all have different variations to their content:
The first tweet could have a thumbnail summary card with the original headline, photo, text and link; the second, a large picture summary card with a new headline, new photo, and same text and link as the first tweet; and the last tweet, a player card with a new video, original headline, and same text and link as the first tweet.
Award Winning Customer Service
Businesses receive all kinds of complaints from customers. There are some who handle them poorly and those who handle them with anonymity. Receiving a complaint is damaging to your brand’s reputation; there’s no getting around it. However, you can mitigate that damage by connecting with customers through direct message.
When communicating through direct message, customers can have their say about any negative experiences they had with your business. When it’s handled through direct message, it’s not broadcast to the rest of the world. Here, you can resolve the issue without the anxiety of onlookers judging your brand.
As of now, you can include a deep link in a tweet with a call-to-action denoting users to, “send a direct message.” This will make it easier to funnel complaints to your direct message.
Customer service isn’t just about responding to negative comments. Give shout outs and thank you comments to those who are praising your brand. They want recognition for their involvement as well, so don’t ignore them.
Twitter Conversation Strategy
The most straight-forward way to guarantee attention and engagement is to talk about topics that interest your target audience: this will give them a reason to engage with you.
Ultimately, you will introduce other elements such as your company history, goals, products, discounts, coupons, practical tips, and customer assistance, among others. The key is to balance all this information, so your followers almost always have fun when they read your posts.
Remember, when people read through your posts, they can tell how passionate you are (or aren’t) about a topic of discussion. Spend time thinking over a conversation strategy. Try incorporating a fun and vibrant speaking tone to some of your new posts. Pick a day out of the week where you can try out new types of posts to see what gains traction. At the end of the day, the more time and creativity you invest into each post, the more you improve your chances of building a loyal following.
Did you think we were going to leave you hanging? It’s time to go over the new features coming to Twitter.
New Twitter Beta Features
Twitter is beta testing new ways to sort its user interface in 2019. In its beta, there are likely to be major changes coming to the way Twitter users can engage with each other going forward.
The aim of this re-design is to make conversations, branching off from original tweets, easier to follow and engage with. Sarah Haider indicates the traditional, chronological Twitter view will not be impacted by these changes; however, there will be deeper options for users to find and follow conversations they are interested in.
Proposed changes show the platform is changing to a more conversational approach. For instance, on mobile devices, twitter conversations are now being colour-coded to identify and differentiate the source of a post from those who are responding to it. The conversations now look similar to those of instant messaging applications, with coloured speech bubbles representing different groups.
Threads are now a main theme on Twitter. Threads simplify following a conversation between users. Before threads, one would have to follow conversations through hashtags and replies from page to page. With the inclusion of threads, a particular conversation can be seen in one place. This makes catching up and contributing to a conversation all the much easier.
Twitter is experimenting with removing its engagement buttons. Conversations will be stripped of engagement button icons, on first view. Only upon tapping a tweet or a response, you activate a secondary view which allows you to engage with expanded button options.
The last major change Twitter is rolling out is a status icon in your profile image. This status icon allows others to see if you are online and active with the platform in real-time.
At the moment, new changes are being tested to increase the value of Twitter. However, if these new features move forward and change Twitter into a more real-time focused and conversational platform, there will arise new implications for businesses. Among the implications are more impactful customer service opportunities, easier tracking of engaged users over threads, and more accurate crowd-sourcing and polling opportunities for business.
Using Twitter for business can be hard for the uninitiated. If you’re going to succeed, make use of the above tips. Using lists to build potential leads, repeating tweets in varied forms, employing discrete customer service, and recognizing your community are great ways to boost your Twitter’s visibility and engagement rates.