Can you tell people the story of your life in just 280 characters? Can you even tell them the story of your day in that many words? How about telling them about one thing that just happened to you in such a short space?
That’s the challenge of Twitter, where you’re given a limit on how many characters you’re allowed to use. It’s no wonder, then, why businesses tend to be intimidated or perplexed by Twitter: they’re uncertain how to convey their brand’s story in such an abbreviated manner. If you have much to say about your own story and so little space to say it, we’re here to hold your hand and show you the Twitter way by the light of your computer or smartphone screen.
Twitter is an often misunderstood, frequently feared, yet frequently quoted platform of abbreviated thoughts and opinions. Some people have full command over Twitter and shout their allotted 280-words with a fiery passion, garnering thousands or millions of followers and endless strings of commentary, while other accounts are like mere droplets in the gigantic bucket that is the internet, whispering their witty, sincere, or opinionated tweets into a vast and empty cyberspace.
A genius somewhere once figured out how to beat the system by posting screenshots of text that is longer than 280 word as a photo, which is now a common strategy. Others will start a thread using the option built into Twitter, in which case they appear to be talking to themselves on their own posts.
That content limitation is part of why many brands appear to be intimidated, along with the sinking feeling that you’re shouting into a void, but never fear. We’re out to change that and show you Twitter’s potential because it’s not as confusing or futile as it seems once you plan out your strategy and get into a rhythm. Twitter is, in fact, an incredibly powerful and sophisticated marketing tool, so if you’re not incorporating an active Twitter presence into your business’s social media marketing strategy, you’re not doing it right.
The following is an annotated marketing guide we put together. It’s full of tips for approaching, lassoing and growing your brand’s Twitter following using a few basic essential strategies.
Let’s start by highlighting the various uses of Twitter among brands and understand how each strategy plays into them. Business Twitter is typically composed of the following elements:
-Driving home a distinctive brand
-Networking with other industry pros
-Establishing relationships with your customer base
Much like we mentioned in a previous post about marketing with Facebook, Twitter social media marketing focuses on the interactive side of things. Twitter may even hold a higher level of consumer expectations for engaging with brands they like or use.
Here are some best practices to pack a big punch with your Twitter presence and pick up your strategy where it might be slacking:
- The power of a profile
Fill out your profile completely. For your user photo, use a logo, icon, or professional photo that’s relevant to your specific company. Twitter users are less likely to engage with, and are more suspicious of, Twitter accounts that have no picture or seem robotic, or don’t have accurate profile information. Fill out all of your details, including location, a brief description of your services, and a link to your website, blog, or products. It’s good to consider some keywords to mention in your description that makes your profile searchable by people in your industry or consumers seeking the services you offer.
- You retweet mine, I’ll retweet yours
Retweet other users within your industry, or talking about your industry, often. Retweets not only keep the Twitter world spinning by giving users a broader audience reach but also help generate followers. Everyone wins, and it’s a great way to build relationships and network with others in your industry, who usually appreciate the retweet. Plus, down the road, the people whose back you scratched will likely scratch yours.
- #Hashtag or die
Use hashtags advantageously. They’re a great way to aggregate information within the site, and they make it easier for people to search for topics related to you. If you frequently use the same ones, you’ll come up in the same search pool, so keep a consistent hashtag that you go to regularly, which helps you stand out as an expert and help people correlate your brand with your industry. Nonetheless, it’s not a bad idea to have a few variable hashtags on hand to jump into new search pools or to correlate with holidays or events. Do your research about what’s trending, what hashtags are popular in your industry or among consumers you’re targeting, and don’t go overboard with them. They should be concise and used minimally for the most significant impact.
- Let your scheduling software take the reigns
Schedule content in advance. As with Facebook, you should regularly monitor and study your Twitter analytics. What time of day is your content getting the best responses? How do your analytics shift when you increase the number of posts you’re writing each week, and what types of content typically get the best results? Once you determine a pattern, establish a schedule for your posts. Pick a good range of material that will keep it interesting. Scatter the posts throughout the day, and post something every day of the week. Some brands like to establish engagements that recur on a specific day of the week. You should be extra prepared for national holidays and other significant days, and check in live as well.
- Do your homework
Research and know your Twitter audience demographics, which could potentially be different from the ones on other social media platforms. Cater your content to appeal to those specific people and know how to catch their eye. That said, don’t make baseless assumptions about different generations, and learn statistics about how both older and younger generations are interacting with content and using social media platforms. It can be surprisingly similar.
- It takes two
Share unique content and engage with your audience. Photos are one of the biggest generators of engagements, so create plenty to have on hand and use them regularly. Other popular content that will help you stand out includes sharing interesting links, videos, advice, or ideas. Make sure that you’re replying to tweets, taking time to engage with other users, and creating an invitation for interactions. Ask questions and invite comments and opinions. Twitter is a two-way street, and people will tune out if you appear only to want to broadcast your voice.
- Go live!
Do live video streaming. Show people your work process, give a little behind-the-scenes tour, or show off a convention, speaker, or other events that your audience would be interested in. Live video is one of the most popular and engaging social media features now, and there are great apps to make it easy, like Twitter’s Periscope app. Or, you can post straight from Twitter’s native video recording feature, although there are limitations on length.
So go ahead, don’t be shy. Tweet your heart out. Let us know what works for you in the comments!